“The Gape Width Factor”-Secret to catching HUGE bass

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In this first installment of Texas Fish & Game’s new “Department of Wild” video series, Editor-In-Chief Chester Moore demonstrates a unique perspective on selecting lures for catching the very largest bass.

Big bass will at times literally attack and kill anything that can fit in their mouths. Biologists say it all hinges on the “gape width” factor.
That according to Texas Parks & Wildlife Department (TPWD) Inland Fisheries Chief 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.”
Although big bass will sometimes hit small lures, using large ones eliminates smaller fish and allows anglers a better chance and focusing on the true monsters. Bass are predators supreme and although they are the most popular game fish in North America, they are as vicious as any man-eating shark.
In fact they only reason they are not eating men is because they don’t get big enough to fit them in their mouth.
(“Department of Wild” takes a deep look at how wildlife and fish behavior and how it translates to the gear we use, the times we hunt an fish, shatters myths and misconceptions and promotes a strong appreciation of all of our natural resources. Chester Moore is Editor-In-Chief of Texas Fish and Game and has  won more than 100 awards from writing, photography, radio and conservation. He was named a “Hero of Conservation” from Field & Stream for the work he has done with southern flounder.)

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