Species Spotlight: Largemouth Bass


Scientific Name: Micropterus salmoides

Nicknames: bucket mouth, melon head, hawg

State Record: 11 lbs. 4 oz., Buckhorn Lake (Otsego County), Sept. 11, 1987

Identification: Dark band extending the length of the body, greenish coloration in many waters, jaw extends past the eye (jaw doesn’t extend past eye in smallmouth bass)

Where to Fish: Often found in shallow, weedy areas of lakes, ponds and rivers, as well as submerged cover (logs, docks and stumps).

How to Fish: Chances are there’s at least one lure in your tackle box that will work for bass. Spinnerbaits, crank baits, and soft stick baits are all usually effective. Perhaps the most popular is the wacky rig, which is essentially a plastic worm with a hook inserted through the middle (or use an o-ring), casted out and twitched/bounced on the bottom. Bass cannot resist it - trust us on this one.

Safe Handling: Bass can easily be handled by gripping their lower jaw between your thumb and forefinger. If holding horizontally, be sure to support the back of their body with your other hand. Otherwise, you can hold them vertically. The rough texture you feel in their mouth are their very tiny teeth.   

Fish Fact: During spawning season, male bass guard the nest until fry are fully free swimming, which takes 1-2 weeks after hatching. Not all fish species demonstrate this level of parental care.