Largemouth Bass

Micropterus salmoides floridanus

Other Names
black bass, Florida bass, Florida (or southern) largemouth, green bass, bigmouth, bucketmouth, linesides, Oswego bass and green trout

The largemouth is the largest member of the sunfish family. It generally has light greenish to brownish sides with a dark lateral line which tends to break into blotches towards the tail. Often confused with smallmouth and spotted bass, it is easily distinguishable because the upper jaw extends beyond the rear edge of the eye. Also, its first and second dorsal fins are almost separated by an obvious deep dip, and there are no scales on the soft-rayed second dorsal fin or on the anal fin.

Typical Habitat
The largemouth prefers clear, nonflowing waters with aquatic vegetation where food and cover are available. Largemouth bass occupy brackish to freshwater habitats, including upper estuaries, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ponds. Also, they can tolerate a wide range of water clarities and bottom types. Largemouths will prefer water temperatures from 65 to 85 degrees and are usually found at depths less than 20 feet.

Feeding Habits
The largemouth bass' diet changes with size. Young fish feed on microscopic animals (zooplankton) and small crustaceans such as grass shrimp and crayfish. Fingerling bass feed on insects, crayfish, and small fishes. Adult bass will eat whatever is available including fish, crayfish, crabs, frogs, salamanders, snakes, mice, turtles and even birds.

Age and Growth
Growth rates are highly variable with differences attributed mainly to their food supply and length of growing season. Female bass live longer than males and are much more likely to reach trophy size. By age 2 or 3, females grow much faster than male bass. Males seldom exceed 16 inches, while females frequently surpass 22 inches. At 5 years, females may be twice the weight of males. One-year old bass average about 7 inches in length and grow to an adult size of 10 inches in about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years. The oldest bass from Florida whose age has been determined by fisheries biologists was 16 year of age. Generally, trophy bass (10 pounds and larger) are about 10 years old. The formula used by Florida scientists to estimate weight based on length and girth is: log(weight, in grams) = -4.83 + 1.923 x log(total length, in mm) + 1.157 x log(girth, in mm)

Sporting Qualities
The largemouth bass is one of North America's most popular freshwater game fish. Much of its popularity is due to its aggressive attitude and willingness to strike a lure or bait with explosive force. They will strike almost any kind of artificial lure or live bait, but most are taken on plastic worms, surface plugs, spinnerbaits, crankbaits, bass bugs and shiner minnows.

Food Quality
The meat is white, flaky and low in oil content. The flavor depends upon the way the fish are cleaned and prepared. The strong weedy taste of bass caught in some waters may be eliminated by skinning the fish and salting and peppering the fillets before battering. Fillets usually are fried, while larger ones may be baked.

World Record
22 lbs. 4 ounces Lake Montgomery, Georgia

Preferred Temps
68 to 78

Preferred Temps
70 to 89

Material from eAngler.com.

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