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Bass are best for a reason

Published 12:01am Sunday, December 16, 2012

It is certainly not among the best looking fish that swims.

The huge bulging eyes with a big mouth that is out of proportion with its body and a broad wide tail makes this fish more ugly than pretty.

I write of the largemouth bass. The most sought after freshwater game fish in the world. Why? Other fish species like stripers and catfish pull harder giving the angler more of a challenge yet the largemouth bass remains in a class by itself.

Still other species make for a much better fish fry. Yet there are more than 20,000,000 anglers in the U.S. alone that pursue the largemouth bass. The bass is a thinking angler’s fish.

You have to constantly think, whether you are catching fish or not. You have to think to establish a pattern for that particular day and the very next day that pattern can go down the tubes.

You can bet as soon as you think you have the bass figured out, they will send you home with an empty livewell.

They will eat anything and everything that gets in their way when they are hungry or spawning. I have seen several bass bursting the surface with huge bream stuck in their mouth, a bream too big to swallow. But, on some days they will not eat anything, especially your lures.

Anglers spend millions if not billions on boats, motors, fuel, oil, lures, sonar/GPS units and a vast array of equipment to hopefully increase their chances of catching more bass.

What the bass lacks in the fighting department versus the catfish, striper and other freshwater game fish it makes up for with an unbelievably fast hole shot.

I don’t know the true facts, but I do believe the bass has the fastest speed as far as from sitting dead still to wide open throttle in a short distance. Research shows a largemouth can reach up to 18 mph in less than 10 feet. Now that is what I call a hole shot.

The bass have a broad tail and huge mouth for a reason. They are ambush feeders for the most part meaning they will lie up in a submerged brush pile, under a pier or near a cypress tree and wait until something swims by to feed.

That is one reason anglers seek the bass. The cover may be exposed thus giving us a target. If the cover is submerged, sonar can help you find cover that is not visible from the surface. To truly understand the popularity of this fish, all you have to do is hook up with one and the passion will begin.

The bass can consume your money and time like no other fish. Check out the shelves of any sporting goods store that sells fishing equipment and look on the Internet. The mind will become boggled at the lure types, lure colors, types of line, reels and rods.

Even when not on the water, this fish will still be in your head once you are hooked.

There are thousands of articles written monthly about the largemouth bass. When you think you have tried it all and read it all, along comes a new lure or a new technique to catch this fish.

I was hooked on bass at a very young age. Many decades have passed, and I am still hooked. There’s something about that light thump you feel when pitching a jig to a cypress tree.

You set the hook and your line goes from zero to 18 mph in a flash. Then that big old, ugly head comes to the surface slinging back and forth desperately trying to dislodge this fake bait. I have no other hobby other than bass fishing. It is a great sport. Try introducing someone to bass fishing. They may hate you for it.


Eddie Roberts writes a weekly fishing column for The Democrat. He can be reached at