Fly Fishing ... Largemouth Bass Tidbits PDF Print E-mail
  Micropterus salmoides  a.k.a.  Largemouth Bass

Currently, there is a tie for IGFA (International Game Fish Association) recognized weight record for the largemouth bass.

June 2, 1932 / Angler - George W. Perry
Montgomery Lake – Georgia, USA

July 10, 2009 / Angler - Manabu Kurita
Lake Biwa – Japan.

Biologists have identified two strains – Florida and Northern largemouth bass.  The Florida strain tends to grow quicker and larger, less aggressive and a shorter average life span than the Northern strain.  They are a member of the sunfish family.  It differs from other sunfish because of their longer bodies and a jaw that extends beyond the eye.

The largemouth bass has six senses – hearing, sight, smell, taste, touch and lateral line on both sides that runs from the gill to the tail.  These lateral lines comprise of sensitive nerve endings under the skin that detect underwater vibrations of prey (i.e. insects, baitfish, salamanders, and crayfish).

The largemouth bass has internal ears which are located within their skull and sensitive to sound.  Sound travels further in water than through the air.  Therefore, it would be wise to keep noise to a minimum to avoid spooking fish.

The largemouth bass can see in all directions except directly below or directly behind them.  They can see objects that are above the water.  It would benefit an angler to wear clothing that blends into the background.  Their eyes absorb more light than the human eye, allowing the fish to see and feed in low light conditions and at night.  In clear water, their visibility can be 35 feet or more. 

The largemouth bass has a keen sense of smell that identified both prey and predators.  Their nostrils are short passage ways called nares which are located in their skull.

Their sense of taste is not as develop as other species (i.e. trout or catfiish).

The largemouth bass will take-in food by opening its mouth quickly, sucking water (along with the food) into its mouth and then expelling the water through the gills – the sense of touch comes into play to either reject or swallow it.

When water temperature reaches 65- to 70-degrees the female will start depositing her eggs (2,000 to 12,000 per nest) and then heads for deeper water to re-cooperated.  The eggs will hatch within 6 days (depending on the water temperature).  The male will build the nest by fanning his fin on hard substrate (i.e. sand or gravel) in water from one to four feet deep, guards the eggs and protect the fry until they are ready to leave the nest.

As the water temperature continues to rise, their metabolism will increase and they will feed more often.  When the water temperature reaches 80-degrees, their activity and feeding will begin to decline.

Being a predator, the largemouth bass will locate in areas that offer a food source and relate to structure that provides an ambush point and to avoid direct sunlight (i.e. creek channels, vegetation, sunken logs, and boat docks).  Identify and focus your efforts on fishing the structure – your success rate will definitely increase.

Shown below are a few effective fly patterns that I tied and fish for Northwest Indiana largemouth bass.  Additional patterns and the recipes are posted in the Fly Pattern Section.

Flat-Face Deer
Hair Popper

Flat-Face Deer
Hair Popper

Flat-Face Deer
Hair Popper

Cork Popper,

Mouse, Brown

Mouse, White

Messinger Frog

Swimming Frog

Beadhead Woolly Bugger,

Beadhead Woolly Bugger,
Black over Orange

Woolly Bugger,

Soft Hackle
Crayfish Bugger

Becca's Swimming
Nymph, Hare's Ear

Swimming Nymph,
Dark Hare's Ear

Beadhead Pine Squirrel
Leech, Rust

Beadhead Mohair
Leech, Brown

Mis's Lead-Eyes
Rabbit Leech

Chartreuse & White

Clouser's Minnow,
 Chartreuse & White

Olive Grizzly
  Tip.  Scum lines are
 over-looked by a lot
 of anglers fishing for
 largemouth bass.
  Bass utilizing this cover are usually in a positive feeding mood, this provides them with an ambush point to attack prey.  Scum lines can extend out frrom the shoreline a couple of feet to several yards.  The prime holding locations within the scum line will offer bass direct access to deeper water.  When fishing scum lines, you must always be prepare to set the hook ... strike are quick and aggressive.  I like using bright color surface flies that creates commotion (popping sound or wake) ... using a slow steady stripping retrieve, moving the fly only 4 to 6 inches on each strip.