What does Largemouth Bass Eat? 10 Surprising Baits That Work Every Time

So, what’s for supper? If you are largemouth bass, the answer is probably obvious: anything that does not want to eat you first. However, suppose you prefer to capture largemouth bass. In that case, this is valuable information because. With so many food options, finding a lure that works can be as simple as picking one that looks appealing.

The largemouth bass is the most popular game fish in the USA and one of the most fished species worldwide. However, most bass anglers are unaware of what the largemouth consume as part of their standard diet. Notably, it is more comprehensive than most fishers assume.

The largemouth bass is an opportunistic feeder, which means that it will consume anything whenever it has a chance. If it fits in its mouth, it will attempt to eat it, including smaller bass. They also ambush predators and usually lie beside or within a cover, such as weeds or rocks waiting for prey to swim within strike range. Being incredibly strong for their size, they effortlessly overpower almost everything they get their jaws around, although they do not have sharp teeth.

In this article, we will find out what a largemouth bass eats.

The predatory habit of largemouth bass

They are most successful when they lie waiting in locations where bait congregates because they can hide, waiting for prey to get close enough. Largemouth bass relies majorly on their vision to detect prey in the water. Their vision is superior to most preys’, allowing them enhanced color and depth perception coupled with better reduced-light vision abilities.

Consequently, dawn and dusk when water light is low are the best times for largemouth because their eyes provide a tactical advantage over prey that cannot see in the reduced light hours.

However, the advantage is reduced during full sunlight because the baitfish can see, and largemouth‘s vision is usually interrupted by bright sunlight.

Young largemouth bass diet

The juvenile largemouths have a less varied diet because they are highly likely to be fed by bigger fish. Therefore, they take fewer risks.

Their diet usually comprises worms, insects, scuds and small shrimp.

Adult largemouth bass diet

These consume more giant foods because their massive jaws can grasp food almost as wide as them.

  • Frogs

As the largemouth bass are ferocious predators, they enjoy hunting down active creatures that move around a lot, such as frogs. Therefore, frogs are a perfect fit for use as bait since the largemouth cannot bring themselves to ignore their movement.

Visit a sporting store, and you will find some imitation frog fishing lures. These fish love frogs so much that many seasoned anglers use frog lures when fishing in bass tournaments.

If you decide to use a live frog, hook it through the skin of one of its limbs with a hook. Attach a couple of split shot sinkers and drop them to the bottom. As the frog tries to swim to the surface, the sinker pushes it down to the bottom. All these movements will be too enticing for a hungry largemouth bass to ignore.

  • Shrimp

Shrimp is a favorite food of largemouth bass. Shrimp as bait may not be the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about bass fishing, but they may be incredibly efficient at capturing a bass.

Put a substantial freshwater prawn on the end of the hook and see what happens if you want a big bass to strike! Maintain the life of your shrimp by keeping them alive or on the ice at all times. If you do not catch anything worth keeping, you can always make some shrimp later.

  • Bluegill

When stocking a pond, fish biologists select bream as the principal food source for bass for a reason. It is because bass adores them! Bluegill and other forms of sunfish are essential parts of most bass’ diets across the United States.

  • Alligators

We all know that once an alligator reaches a particular size, it is at the very top of the food chain. However, there comes a time in their lives when they are on the lower end of the spectrum! Like most other tiny reptiles, they must be cautious at this time. There have been numerous reports of largemouth bass gulping down a juvenile alligator as if it were nothing.

There is no such thing as an alligator fishing lure on the market, and catching one for bait is not suggested!

  • Crawfish

Crawfish, also known as crayfish or crawdads, are found worldwide, with several crawfish species found in the United States.

They can be found in almost any type of water, from lakes and ponds to rivers, streams, and swamps, making them a good source of food for bass in various habitats and geographic locations.

Crawfish are typically found on the bottom of the water, usually near rocks or logs, so this is an excellent target to use if you are fishing along the bottom, both in deep and shallow water. They are also a good choice for pre-spawn fishing, as crawfish are what bass are looking for at this time of year.

  • Insects

Insects are a standard supply of nutrition for largemouth bass, with more enormous insects being preferred by more prominent bass. Bugs and aquatic insects such as large mayflies, crickets, and grasshoppers are examples of these.

The time of year may influence how effective insect lures are, as it may be a wise option to time your insect lure methodologies to correlate with when many insects are flying around near the water. This can happen in several locations, mostly during spring and summer.

  • Mice

It’s not surprising that bass would try to eat a mouse, but it is astounding that they like them enough for big brands to create a mouse fishing lure.

  • Lizards

Lizards are a favorite food of largemouth bass. Given that the significant lure companies sell plastic lizards, this should be self-evident. It also appears that bass has no preference as to what type of lizard it is. The bass does not mind if you are a gecko, a salamander, or a common yard lizard.

  • Turtles

A largemouth bass, of course, cannot and will not eat a giant turtle. Baby turtles, on the other hand, should be cautious! As previously stated, if a bass can fit it inside its mouth, it will eat it, and tiny turtles are no exception.

You might be wondering how a fish can digest something as challenging as a turtle shell. To begin with, a baby turtle’s shell is not as hard as that of an older turtle; in fact, it is pretty soft! 

  • Snakes

Just like a lizard, a big largemouth bass, cannot resist the sight of a bite-size snake swimming on the water’s surface! Also, similar to lizards, many artificial lures resemble snakes on the market, which is always a good indicator that bass like them.

Baits to use to catch largemouth bass

Because they will eat almost anything, your bait may not always need to resemble their natural prey. Some lures that resemble prey or mimic the behaviors of natural prey, on the other hand, can be helpful.

  • Crawfish

Crawfish lures are an excellent bait for bass fishing because they can be used all year, even in the winter. They can be used as jig trailers or by themselves when fishing along the underside or near rocky cover or layout.

  • Crankbaits

Crankbaits can be a good choice for catching bass all year because they can be fished at different depths and speeds depending on the conditions and seasons.

These types of baits can often imitate baitfish, wobbling, and flashing to attract attention.

  • Finesse worms

Whereas bass may not encounter numerous worms in their natural environment, worm lures can be an excellent choice for catching bass. They can be rigged in various ways to change up the presentation and are helpful for finesse techniques.

  • Jigs

Jig lures, due to their versatility, can also be an excellent all-year option for bass fishing. They can be caught in a variety of environments, from open water to shallow cover. In addition, skirted jigs can attract bass by creating movement, and you can add trailers to them to make them even more appealing.

When does largemouth bass eat?

Throughout the year, bass feed. Seasons and weather, on the other hand, can influence how frequently and actively they feed. For example, during the spawn, they may not feed at all, but they may attack prey to defend their nests.

Similarly, in the winter, they do not need to feed as frequently. But, again, this is since their metabolism reduces down for them to conserve energy when there is less food available.

During the warmer months, when the shallows may be too warm for bass in the middle of the day, you may notice bass feeding more frequently at sunrise and sunset.


Knowing what largemouth bass can eat will help you choose your bait. However, just because bass will eat one thing does not mean they will not try something new, as they will often take whatever food they can get.

Although they will eat just about everything that fits into their “bucket mouths,” such as small reptiles, birds, mammals, and rodents, small baitfish are the most fantastic live bait for catching bass. Shiners, shad, and bream are among the species.

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