MONSTER bass: Gape width factor

Largemouth bass are voracious.

They will literally attack and kill anything that can fit in their mouths. It doesn’t mean they will always do so because any savvy angler knows big bass can be skittish.

Biologists however say the size prey bass attack say hinges on the “gape width” factor.

That according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries Biologist Craig Bonds is how far bass can open their mouths.

“If they can fit it in their mouths, they will attack it and over the years I have seen impressive evidence of this,” Bonds said.

As a graduate student, he conducted a study examining bass dietary habits using clear plastic tubes that could be inserted through the mouth, worked into the stomach and used to extract the contents without hurting the fish.

“I found everything from snakes to small turtles, a baby duck and all kinds of fish from sunfish to other bass.”

Plastic fishing lures were a fairly common item and once he found a bunch of worms of the exact same color and length in one bass.

“I don’t know if someone dropped over a whole bag of worms but this bass had a bunch of them in its stomach all the same color and size. They are opportunistic predators and that shows they will eat pretty much anything.”

Bonds said he once observed a bass leaping from the water in at attempt to catch a dragonfly hovering over the surface.

“They are pretty vicious and very determined,” he said.

The next time you’re wanting to fish for a super-sized bass consider this factor. In other words do not be afraid to tie on a magnum worm or swimbait. It doesn’t mean you will catch your dream fish but then again that could very well happen.

Chester Moore

2 comments

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  1. Thad

    Floating in a slough off the Sabine River was a 6-7 lbs bass with a big blue gill jammed in it’s mouth. Too big to swallow. The perches back spines and pectoral fin had punctured the top and sides of the bass’mouth and it could not throw it out.
    The old “bite off more than he could chew” in this case “swallow”. Upsetting, bad enough the loss of a good size fish– but never caught one that big in the Sabine.

  2. Charles In TX

    If you want to see bass leaping out of the water after a dragonfly, come watch them leap 2+ feet out of the water on my lake. Some of their leaps are incredible.

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