Imagine the following scenario: You just spent all day slaying some largemouths out on the lake. Along the way, you took some pictures, you enjoy time with your friends, and best of all you created some good memories
But at the end of the day, when you get home you look down at your thumb and it looks like it was put through a cheese grater. So, what happened? Do bass have teeth?
Well, in this post, we are going to answer that question and give you a few tips to keep in mind when handling these gentle giants.
Do Bass Have Teeth?
The answer: Yes they do! Located on their (both smallmouth and largemouth) lip are small needle-like teeth that face inward. These teeth help the bass to grasp and crush their prey. Even though small in size, largemouth have bigger teeth than smallmouth bass.
However, even though they are tiny and harmless, after a long day of fishing you will definitely notice the damage they can do on your thumbs.
This is especially noticeable when holding bass by the lip.
It feels like someone took sandpaper and ran it across your thumbs.
You will also notice that they have teeth when you go to release them and they start thrashing back and forth. Just be careful when releasing them so that you release them properly and don’t remove that very important slime.
If you have ever experienced this before, you are a victim of what many anglers call Bass Thumb, which leads up to our next question…
Additional Reading: 25 Interesting Facts About Largemouth Bass
What Is Bass Thumb?
Bass thumb is a term used to describe what happens to your thumb because of handling many bass throughout the day. For many, if someone says you have bass thumb, it is a compliment. It means you have caught a lot of fish and you should be proud of it.
I like what a fisherman told me, he said: “Bass Thumb is a badge of honor, wear it proudly”.
No, there isn’t anything to fear about bass thumb.
It isn’t like holding a fish with a lot of teeth such as a wolffish, which probably would result in serious injury or even stitches on your finger.
It is just a mild discomfort that will heal after a few days.
Can Bass Cut You?
Yes, if not handled properly a bass can cut you. Besides the teeth, bass have a very sharp gill plate and a very sharp dorsal fin that they raise when they feel threatened. Much care is needed so as to avoid getting cutting when handling a bass.
How To Hold A Bass
Improperly handling a bass while out of the water can seriously hurt the fish. You may not notice any damage initially, but you certainly do risk the life of the fish after its release.
Two things to avoid when holding a bass
Removing the fish’s slime coat: The first reason to handle fish properly is to protect its slime coat. No doubt you have touched a fish and noticed how slimy they can be. This slime is the fish’s slime coat.
A fish’s slime coat acts much like our skin. Imagine losing a large portion of our skin. If this were to happen, we would be more susceptible to infection and diseases.
For a fish, the slime coat acts like a barrier against infection and disease. It also helps to prevent the loss of essential bodily fluids. That being said it is important to handle a fish in a way that we don’t risk removing its slime coat.
Protect the jaw: Another reason why it is important to hold a bass properly is because if we hold them incorrectly we can seriously hurt their jaw. You may have seen pictures on Instagram or Facebook of people holding a fish at a weird angle.
Yes, it does make the fish look bigger, or perhaps doing so makes for a cool picture, but it can hurt the fish.
In the following video, we will see a demonstration of how to hold a bass properly.
As we can see in this video, there are three ways to hold a fish.
If the fish is smaller we can hold them at an angle. Once they are bigger, it is important to either hold them by the jaw with their body hanging straight down or we can put one hand on the jaw and one on the stomach for support.
Always remember to hold them in a way to avoid rubbing off any of their slime coat.
So the next time you catch a monster bass and you want to take a picture, please keep these pointers in mind.
So what did we learn? Do bass have teeth? Yes, they do, but there is no reason to fear them. Largemouth and smallmouth bass are really gentle giants in the water. However, we also learned that when we catch them, they need to be handled with care.
Hopefully, by applying the above tips and always handling them with care, we can do our part to protect these harmless yet beautiful fish.
You may also enjoy reading: Analyzing 21 Lures In Search For The Best Bass Fishing Lures
Other Related Questions:
Do Bass Bite Humans?
No, bass don’t bite humans. While they are top predators in the bodies of water that they inhabit you have no reason to fear them.
Do Bass Have Scales?
Yes, both largemouth and smallmouth bass have scales. These scales help to protect them against, predators and parasites. They also are water-resistant helping them to move quickly in the water.