What do bass eat? Why is that question so important?
Well in order to catch bass, we need to know what they are feeding on.
So the first thing I like to do when fishing a new lake is to ask myself: What are the bass feeding on? What baitfish do I see in the water? What activity do I see on the surface of the water?
Once, I understand what they are feeding on, I reach for the lure that best imitates that bait and start dialing in on what the bass want.
In this post, we are going to talk about some of the most popular meals for bass.
What Do (Largemouth/Smallmouth) Bass Eat?
Without a doubt one of the most popular meals for bass are shad.
This is mainly because shad are so abundant in most lakes across America. In fact, taking a quick stroll down the fishing lure aisle in any bait shop and we could confidently say, that there is no other baitfish that is better represented in the fishing lure market than shad.
So the next time you go fishing and you are not sure what lure you should be throwing, your best bet might be throwing something that resembles a shad.
One of my favorite lures to throw when I know bass are actively feeding on shad is the Strike King Red Eye Shad.
Not only does it perfectly resemble a shad, but it has that nice tight wobble that will without a doubt generate a reaction strike from nearby bass.
Do bass eat bluegill?
Yes, they do and let me tell you, they love them.
However, when it comes to panfish bass are not picky eaters. Bluegill, pumpkinseed, green sunfish, crappie, perch it doesn’t matter the flavor, bass will eat them all.
In fact, according to one study, bass eat up to 40 percent of their annual diet in sunfish.
Think about that! 40 percent! That number is huge.
So ask yourself, how often am I throwing a lure that imitates a panfish?
That number explains why swimbaits that imitate a bluegill have become so popular.
If the bass are on a bluegill bite, you could have a lot of success by throwing something like a Booyah Boo Jig.
In my opinion, a green pumpkin jig is one of the best bluegill imitation baits to throw when bass are targeting bluegills
Fish it down deep or in the grass and you could catch yourself a ton of fish.
You May Also Enjoy Reading: 25 Interesting Facts About Largemouth Bass
Now, this next one may come as a surprise for many, but yes, bass will feed on trout.
Aren’t trout too big for most bass? The simple answer, no.
Recent studies have shown that bass occasionally eat prey that is 60 percent of their size, however, the average is anywhere between 10 and 45 percent.
When you stop and think about it, what are the most popular swimbaits? Aren’t they swimbaits that resemble trout? What is the average size?
Some of the most popular ones range between 7 and 8 inches. This shows us that bass are not afraid to take on a larger meal.
Many times offering them a larger presentation will result in a larger catch.
If you know that there are a lot of trout in the waters you will be fishing try tying something like the Savage Gear 3D Swimbait.
This bait looks just like a trout! Couple that with its subtle but deadly action and you could possibly bring in a lot of fish.
Keep in mind though that when fishing with larger baits, such as this one, you will probably catch fewer fish. However, that being said, the fish you catch will definitely be quality bites (giants!).
Bass love crawfish, this is especially true in the springtime.
Now while many bass fishermen will limit their crawfish baits to just the early spring and post-spawn season, they can also be just as effective fishing them all year-long.
In fact, the mating season for most crawdads is during the fall.
So, if you are having a hard time trying to figure out what lure to throw in the fall, try fishing the same shallow waters you would in the springtime and throw a craw imitation bait.
One of my favorite crawfish imitation lures is a red or craw pattern squarebill crankbait.
Like the Strike King Magnum Squarebill.
This is a squarebill crankbait meaning that it works great in shallow waters
Because of the bill design, when in the water, it moves around erratically bumping into everything in its path. Perfectly imitating a startled crawdad.
If the bass are on the crawfish bite and they see this Strike King Squarebill go by, you can be sure they will take a swipe at it.
If there is a bass in the area, a great way to entice a bite is with a topwater frog.
Bass love feeding on frogs mainly because it is such an easy target. That is what makes frog lures so effective.
One of my favorite ways to fish a frog lure is to throw it up on the bank and slowly bring it into the water. Another great way is to fish it, is throwing it into heavy vegetation.
Many times bass won’t even know it is a frog, they will just strike at whatever is coming across the top of the lily pads.
There are so many frog imitation lures that we could talk about in this post, but if I had to choose just one, I would choose the Lunkerhunt Frog Series.
If you are going to fish a frog lure, you need to fish it in the heavy cover. After all, this is where many of them live and this is where you are going to get more bites.
That is what I like about this lure is that it a hollowbody frog meaning that is floats and the hooks are on the backside of the frog.
This makes it 100% weedless and you can fish it in the heaviest of cover.
6. Small Birds
Without a doubt, you have gone into your favorite tackle store and seen a baby duck lure.
Your immediate reaction might be a laugh or to think that lure was some kind of joke. However, as crazy as it sounds, bass have been known to feed on baby birds.
Is that the reason that one of the most popular colors for the whopper plopper is the loon color?
We can not say for sure, but the next time you want to try something interesting, put on a baby duck lure and see if you can catch that trophy fish.
A great lure to start with might be the Savage Gear 3D Duck.
Not only does it have the lifelike appearance of a duck, but the feet sping making all kinds of commotion on the surface of the water just inviting a big bass to come up and get it.
7. Mice & Rats
Another crazy lure that will no doubt catch your eye in the store are the mice imitation lures.
You may have also seen a topwater lure that imitates a rat swimming across the water.
That leads us to a very popular question: Do bass eat mice? Yes, they do. In fact, there is very little that bass won’t eat.
Basically, if it moves, they will eat it, or at least they will try.
Are you looking for a presentation that bass haven’t seen before? If so, throwing a mouse or rat imitation lure might be your best bet.
In my opinion, you can’t get more lifelike that the Spro BBZ.
The large bill located in front helps to give off a large wake as it is bring brought through the water. Couple that will the lifelike tail and bass won’t think twice about hitting this lure!
You may also enjoy reading: Do Bass Eat Rats? – The Best Rat Lures
Most of us probably can remember our first days fishing with a bobber and a nightcrawler on the other end, but why are worms so effective when worms don’t live in the water?
Bass simply can’t resist the action and the scent that live bait gives off.
So the next time you are going on a fishing trip, make sure you bring along a good supply of worms.
If you don’t have access to live bait, try the next best thing Big Bite’s Squirrel Tail.
This lure is meant to be fished on the bottom. As it is being fished along the bottom the tail sticks straight up giving off a ton of action and bringing in bass for the bite.
It is a fish eat fish world out there. In a fish’s mind, you either eat to survive or be eaten. There is no time to stop and determine the species.
Bass won’t hesitate on striking a bass imitation lure, so neither should we hesitate to put one on.
Nowadays almost all the popular lures have a baby bass color. However, one bait that I like to fish is a bass colored fluke.
I like to fish flukes because there are so many different ways to fish them and they give off a ton of action
Another great snack for bass are insects.
A smaller bass that is under two inches is called a fry.
Fry will mainly feed on insects and they will continue to do so until they are about 8 inches long. After they have reached that size, they will begin to feed on smaller fish.
However, this doesn’t mean that bigger fish won’t feed on insects. Many larger bass have also been known to feed on insects as well.
With that being said, the next time you see bass feeding on the surface you got to tie on something like the Rebel Crick Hopper.
Not only does it have the appearance of a grasshopper, but this lure is also a popper.
That means that as it is being brought through the water it gives off a popping noise drawing in bass from a distance.
11. Alligators – Small reptiles
Yes, it may come as a surprise, but bass have been seen feeding on smaller reptiles such as salamanders, and lizards.
They will even take on an alligator if the opportunity presents itself.
Don’t believe me?
Check out the following video and watch a bass take on an alligator.
Pretty crazy right? So I am trying to encourage you to throw an alligator imitation lure?
You’d probably have very little success.
However, in warm climates where lizards or other small reptiles end up in the water, you can have success by throwing something similar to the Zoom’s Magnum Lizard.
With 4 appendages and a long tail this lures gives off a lot of action and a great way to entice a bite.
So, what do bass eat?
As we can see from this post they will feed on shad, bluegill, trout, crawfish, frogs, birds, mice, worms, insects and yes other bass, but that is not all.
They will even eat small reptiles such as salamanders, lizards, and yes, even alligators if given the opportunity.
This just goes to show that bass are not picky eaters, they will eat just about anything that moves in the water.
The important thing to do when fishing for bass is to find out what they are feeding on and throw a lure that imitates that bait.
Have you seen bass feeding on something strange? Please share with us your thoughts on what do bass eat in the comment section below.