what do bass eat

What Do Bass Eat? | Fishing & Bait Tips

Have you ever prepared for a bass fishing adventure, then realize you have no idea what bait to use? This mainly comes as a result of not knowing what bass fish feed on. When you know what they eat, it becomes easier to match the hatch.

The major species of bass have different feeding patterns. Knowing what they each eat is vital for an angler.

The feeding choice of the Bass is also greatly affected by the seasons. Considering all this will answer what do bass eat?

What Do Largemouth Bass Eat?

It is interesting to watch this bass species eating. Due to their mouth size, the largemouth bass generally feeds on anything. Provided it’s edible. This makes them great consumers in the aquatic food chain.

Even though their eating habit changes with the season. They mostly feed on insects, aquatic birds, larva, trout, and baby ducks. In some scenarios, you will even find the largemouth bass feeding on the smaller bass.

They have a strong sense of smell that makes them smart hunters. Their strike speed is equivalently superb. This gives them 80% chances of a catch. Their common ways of hunting are either chasing or ambush. 

When they are not in groups they implement chasing, but when in groups ambushing works best.

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They also eat sea turtles. They mostly trap them to get hold of them. When food is scarce in the deep sea they turn to the shoes they feed on.

What Do Smallmouth Bass Eat?

Unlike the larger bass, the baby bass is mainly found in the clear lakes. This greatly affects their feeding habit, compared to that of an adult largemouth bass such as striped bass. They feed on crayfish, crawfish, and insect nymphs.

Smallmouth striped Bass will generally feed on small animals found behind obstacles and rocks. Similar to largemouth bass, the different seasons affect what they eat. On rivers, they eat frogs, worms, minnows and salamanders.

In the winter they mainly feed on crayfish, found in cool water. During the summer they turn to sculpins and darters found on rocks.

You should not underestimate the size of what they eat, because of their smallmouth. They can also eat anything that Largemouth bass eat. This provided it can fit in their mouth. 

For large food, they tend to break it down to fit their mouths.

How a Bass Diet Changes Over the Season

The feeding habits of Bass fish are greatly affected by changes in seasons. This affects all the bass species. During the summer there is plenty of food to eat unlike the winter when most prey are inactive.

Here is a snapshot of how these fish feed in different seasons.

What Do Bass Eat in Spring & Summer?

The aquatic animals are most active during the summer season. This factor greatly favors the bass fish, with a variety of prey for a catch. This offers plenty of food without much struggle.

During the summer season, water temperatures are usually warmer. The bass fish, therefore, tends to seek cool temperatures in the deep sea. Therefore, they will periodically emerge to hunt before going back to the bottom. They also hide beneath natural vegetation to avoid direct sunlight.

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This behavior tends to make them eat insects, lavas, and nymphs found on rocks during this season. But when the waters become cool, they emerge again for hunting missions.

What Do Bass Eat in Fall & Winter?

When we talk of people going indoors during winter, the bass fish is somehow different from that. This is the time they are busy looking for food, which is usually scarce. This is because most prey are inactive during this period.

During this time Bass fish will feed on anything that comes their way. Thus, they mostly implement the chasing technique. Ambushing becomes seldom, in this season.

Because of the scarcity of food, the rule of ‘Survival for the fittest’ applies here. This is the time you will find the Largemouth bass feeding on another bass.

What are the Best Bass Baits?

Choosing a bait generally depends on what the bass eat. These are the best ones in the market.  You can get away with plastic worms, but live food sources always are best.


The crankbait is the most commonly used as bait. This is because of its ability to imitate a variety of prey.  It offers a great imitation of crawfish, bluegill, and baby turtle, and even shad. It can be a great boost to your angling.

It is convenient for luring common types of bass like the largemouth and smallmouth bass. You will therefore not be hindered on the type of bass you want to get.  They come in various sizes and colors for a wider range of choices.


In waters that bass fish feeds on shiny fish like trout, the Spinnerbait is commonly used. If you are an angler in such environments this is the lure to use, to increase accuracy.

Spinnerbait comes in different options to choose from. This varies in weight, color, size, and skirt color. Thus, you can easily match the hatch with it, and lure more fish. 

Moreover, this wide range of selection is good for catching all bass fish species.

Baitfish as Bass Bait

As the name suggests, this bait features a baitfish being used as the lure. This is used especially in places where the bass fish feeds on baitfish. The bait can either be used when it’s alive or when dead. 

The disadvantage of a dead baitfish it yields poorly on largemouth bass.

For better results, it is expedient to use it when it’s alive. A special liquid is poured into water to keep the baitfish alive. Then using the rod to cast the fish on the water surface.

 Its movement attracts the bass’s attention.

Crawfish as Bass Bait

One similarity with largemouth and smallmouth bass is that they all like feeding on crawfish. This makes it one of the best baits you can use. That is why many anglers like using it.

They are easy to get hold of. Moreover, they don’t die after being hooked. This will give you a chance to prepare the rod to make a cast. To set the rod hook through the tail and place it on water. 

It will try swimming for safety, which causes disturbance to the bass. This drives the bass crazy.

Buzz Baits

The way these baits work is a great innovation that has helped many anglers. It is placed on water and causes a lot of commotion. This makes the bass attack out of anger. In the process, the angler can get a perfect catch.

The bait is convenient for mutable luring so that when the bass makes ambush on the bait, multiple of them will be caught.  They are majorly convenient for the summer and spring seasons. 

When it comes to the environment, it yields better on covered water.

Bluegills as Bass Bait

Bluegills are alluring to hungry bass. This makes them be good baits. You can use a casting net to collect them.  Then from your catch, try to cherry-pick only the medium-sized ones. The advantage is that they will stay alive for some time.

To use them hook and cast them in water. These bluegills can yield a perfect catch of 70% of all the cast. This makes them one of the best bass baits to use.

Largemouth Bass Fishing Tips

Using recommended tips to fish for largemouth bass will save you immensely. It will eliminate the try and error option. Here are tips that are good to try out.

Use Ragged Worms

Bass fish are opportunists on injured worms. This is because of the concept that they are weaker. Therefore, a ragged worm is a perfect option to use. Especially in shallow waters.

Sharpen Your Hooks

They are characterized by a sharp bony jaw. This requires a sharp hook to penetrate through. For this, I advise you to sharpen your hook after every catch, or when it gets blunt. In your tools kit ensure you carry a file to facilitate that.

Fishing Towards the Wind is Good

Bass like swimming to the flow of water current. That is why fishing towards the wind is an awesome idea. This is because the bass will find the bait first before seeing the boat. Seeing the boat before can be a bothering obstacle. You will harvest more bass fish this way..

The noise caused by water slapping your rod attracts the bass to the point.

Observe The Fish Mouth After a Catch

Observing what the fish comes out of the fish. They tend to spit their last meal after being hooked. Doing this will give you an idea of what other fish are feeding on. 

Observe the color and use a similar bait. If possible use the exact bait to lure the fish more.

Upsetting The Bass In Its Habitat Yields More

Bass is an irritable fish. You, therefore, have to annoy it more to prompt it to bite the bait. Toss as many times in different angles with great pressure. Out of annoyance, the bass will jump onto the bait. This technique has been proven to be more effective during the winter.

Consider the Seasonal Baits

Different seasons call for different baits. This is because bass eats different food in every season. That is why as we earlier said it is very good to not eat what they eat. 

You should choose what the bass are feeding on in that season.

Final Thoughts

It is evident that some animals in the waters exist to be eaten by the bass. The bass fish is a tactical one that requires bass anglers to be intelligent and tactical. 

The better you know what the bass eat the better the results.

Related Questions

When Smallmouth Bass Fishing Is Peaking

The peak of smallmouth fishing in most lakes is during the winter when they are seen to feed on crawfish. This is why using this as the bait will yield more.

What Do Largemouth Bass Eat?

The largemouth striped bass eats insects, minnow, aquatic birds, larva, trout, frogs and baby ducks. At times they will be seen eating smaller bass.

Do Smallmouth Bass Only Eat Small Baits?

No, the smallmouth bass is not only a predator to small baits, they also jump to larger baits. Yes, larger bass eat bass that are smaller. They rule simply to make anything fit their smallmouth.

Where to Find Smallmouth Bass

The smallmouth bass is found in shallow, fast-moving waters. You will see them in the clear waters, where they hunt best.

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