What Do Largemouth Bass Eat?

Largemouth bass are typically the apex predator and at the top of the food chain in their environment.

When artificial baits are not working or when anglers are targeting trophy size fish, often live bait is needed to be successful. 

Here is a list of prey largemouth bass are known to eat with video proof to back it up.

1. Shad

Shad Bait Fish

Gizzard and thread-fin shad are found in large schools and are a favorite food for bass during the hot summer months. 

In the video below you can see largemouth bass looking like freshwater sharks as they slowly follow large bait balls looking for the right opportunity to strike.

 

2. Bream (Sunfish)

Bluegill

No matter your preferred nomenclature, which could be anything ranging from – bluegill, bream, brim, perch, sunfish, redbreast, and more, these fish are the number 1 prey that largemouth typically feed on. 

In the video below – once the bass locks on, it is all over for the bluegill.

 

3. Perch

Yellow Perch

The yellow perch is a game fish similar to bream and are heavily fed upon by bass.

Watch closely in the video below as bass cruises in, the perch gets just a little too close, and disappears in the blink of an eye. 

4. Minnows

Minnow

Minnows, shiners, and in some places gobies – are often times used as live bait because largemouth have a tough time passing up such an easy meal. 

As you can see in the video below, even a juvenile bass will quickly go after the defenseless smaller minnow.

 

5. Amphibians (Frogs and Salamanders)

Frog

Bass love to snack on frogs and salamanders. They are relatively soft and fleshy compared to the spiny fins that bluegill and perch have. Top water frog baits are know to have some of the most amazing blow up action in fishing. The salamander is heavily used to mimic a largemouth nest raider during the spawning season.

 

 6. Small Mammals

Mouse

This includes mice, rats, squirrels, chipmunks, etc. Ever heard of the mouse topwater bait? There is a reason why it was made. 

Small adolescent mammals are especially vulnerable if they get to close when drinking or slip and fall in while playing.

 

 7. Birds (and Bats)

Duckling

When thinking of birds getting eaten by fish most think of baby ducklings. In Austin, Texas – home to the worlds largest urban bat colony – many anglers of have switched to baits that mimic one of the 1.5 million bats that emerge from under a downtown bridge (that is over water) – for example; painting their Whopper Plopper black.

 8. Worms

Worm

Earthworms may be on of the oldest and most well know baits used for bass fishing. Worms are just as effective today as they have been all those decades ago. It’s easy to dig up your own earthworms or find them widely available at bait shops and outdoor stores.

Heck – bass will eat everything from real earthworms, to plastic artificial worms, to even GUMMY worms! See for yourself below.

9. Other Bass

Bass of two sizes

That’s right – bass will cannibalize on smaller members of their same species if the situation presents itself. 

Like the saying goes; they’ll eat anything that will fit in their large mouths. 

The bass in the video thought he was a little bigger than he actually was and got another bass stuck in his mouth!

 10. Crayfish (also known as Crawdad or Crawfish)

Crayfish

Bass absolutely love crayfish. Studies have shown that bass are healthier when crayfish are present in the ecosystem. Crayfish are one of the most mimicked types of bait that bass anglers use when fishing. 

In the video below the bass quickly learn that the human is helping them hunt and gladly accept his assistance. 

 11. Trout

Rainbow Trout

Bass in the southwestern United States – especially in the Southern California region are treated to an all you can eat buffet of beautiful and calorie rich rainbow trout. Trout are often stocked by the governing wildlife department within the state and have allowed largemouth and spotted bass to grow to epic, world record proportions. 

 12. Insects

Dragonfly

Although bass prefer to feed on many of the meatier creatures on list, they are not above going after dragonflies, spiders, or other aquatic bugs. 

In the video below the bass jumps clear out of the water and almost nabs a dragonfly.

 13. Reptiles

Snake

Snakes, turtles and even baby alligators are some of the reptile selections on the menu for hungry largemouth bass.

A largemouth will eat pretty much anything that can fit into its mouth and the powerful digestive juices in its stomach can break down almost anything thrown its way.

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