Answers to Myths about Bass (from the May newsletter)
By Ralph Manns

The 22 statements involve myths about bass, which, in the author's opinion, make them all false. Each statement is either totally wrong or misleading
enough to conceal the real truth.  In many cases, anglers could reject these myths simply by referring to their own fishing experiences. I have covered
many of these questions in various IN-Fisherman articles and on the BFHPs web site, so in effect test is "teaching" to the choir.

Now let's look at each statement in detail to see what is, in my opinion,

1. Do Bass Prefer 72o F water? This is the most persistent, most repeated, most misleading myth in bass literature. Numerous scientific tests show that bass, given a choice of temperature with no other conflicting options,
choose to live in water between about 76o F and 86o F, and tolerate temperatures up to 95o F.
    Black bass require about 15 days to fully digest a small fish in 45 degree water, but can digest the same food in a day at 76-86 degrees F. They also
swim faster, grow faster, and catch more prey in water in this temperature range. That's why they select (prefer) it if given a clear choice.

Smallmouth, largemouth, spotted, Guadalupe and the other minor black bass species all apparently have similar metabolisms and temperature preferences. When any of these are found deeper or cooler it is because smaller mouths, different feeding abilities, clearer water, competition with largemouths,
pike, stripers, etc., the absence of adequate prey supplies, or poor water quality force them away from optimum temperatures. Bass in typical waters
easily modify temperature needs as necessary to find food within a range of about 60-95 degrees F.
2. Are bass most active in 72o F water? Spring and Fall traditionally provide the easiest (best?) bassing. Then, bass seem most active. Most bassing lakes routinely pass through 72o F in each season, so many anglers
have given temperature the credit. But the season and condition then, not the specific temperature, create the activity.

SPRING -- Bass have used up their reserves of fat over the winter. They are hungry and need maximum food before, during, and immediately following the spawn. But few small prey are readily available. Preyfish have yet to spawn and most of the easy-to-catch ones have already been eaten. The result is that feeding bass must remain active for longer periods to

get enough food. Only 20-40% usually have food in their stomachs. Longer active periods  mean they are more likely to encounter an angler and be hooked by they are NOT feeding with more energy or at peak efficiency.

SUMMER -- Now prey are abundant and of catchable and edible sizes. Feeding is easier and faster. 50-70% contain food even though digestion takes less
than a day. Bass are very active/aggressive when feeding, but harder to catch throughout a day because they are inactive more of the time. In addition, light and water clarity tend to limit shallow-water feeding to dawn, dusk, and nighttime making it harder for some bass anglers to locate fish.

FALL -  Increased rain, inflows, nutrients, and murkier water combine with a reduced prey supply to change the bass environment. The small, easy-to-catch preyfish are mostly eaten or have grown to faster, more-elusive sizes. Once again, only 20-40% of the bass have food in their stomachs and bass try to
feed  for longer periods and more likely to feed in shallow water where angler locate them most easily.

These apparent shifts in "activity," a better word is catchability, make it seem bass

(Continued on page 2)

  • Sherry & Jim Shaffer, WBC Editors:
12520 SE 273rd PL Kent WA 98030
  • Views Expressed in this newsletter do not necessarily reflect those of the entire membership
  • Western Bass Club News is published monthly for the membership  of western bass club. If you have any ideas for articles or are interested in advertising here, please contact the editors

One Two Three Four Five Six Seven Eight Nine Ten Eleven Twelve Home