What Do Largemouth Bass Eat?

Adult largemouth bass is eating its prey.

The largemouth bass is a fish native to northern Mexico, southeastern Canada, and the central United States. This freshwater game fish is a favorite fish to catch because of its wide distribution worldwide. 

This fish goes with various local names depending on where it thrives. Some people call it Potter’s Fish, largies, Florida largemouth, bucket mouth bass, Oswego bass, southern largemouth, black bass, etc. 

Mississippi and Georgia regard the largemouth bass as their state fish. Florida and Alabama name it as their state freshwater fish. 

Characteristics of Largemouth Bass 

The largemouth bass is a carnivorous fish that can live for an average of ten to sixteen years. Young largemouth lives in schools while adults stay away from the crowd. Some bass congregates in small groups without interaction. 

These fish lurk in weeds or roots of plants to hit their prey. The male largemouth bass is smaller in size than the female. 

Anglers look for this species because of their large sizes compared to other bass species. This fish is the largest among the black basses family. The giant bass can reach up to 11.4 kilograms, while their length can reach 29.5 inches. 

Largemouth bass can be greenish grey or olive green, with dark or black blotches forming serrated horizontal stripes along the flanks. 

Largemouth Bass Appetite

Studies show that largemouth bass has a large appetite. They can eat almost all kinds of marine creatures except plants because they are predatory fish species. 

The prey utilization studies show that their growth is slow if they live in weedy waters. It is hard for them to attack their prey if many plants grow in the area. 

The juvenile largemouth bass eats small bait fish, water fleas, copepods, insects, small shrimp, and scuds. Adults eat smaller fish like minnows, banded killifish, and bluegill. 

They also consume worms, shads, ciscoes, suckers, sunfish, yellow perch freshwater silverside, and smaller water birds and mammals. They also eat hatchlings of alligators and turtles. 

Adults in larger lakes stay in the deeper water while the younger fish in shallow water. Both young and adult largemouth bass have a big appetite. They eat almost all kinds of fish, seabirds, reptiles, frogs, bats, and larger fish species.  

Their prey can be as large as fifty percent of their weight or body length. If allowed to stay in waters without cover, they can populate the area as they have many prey choices.

What Does Adult Largemouth Bass Eat?

Adult and juvenile largemouth bass have a big appetite for fish, mosquitoes, insects, worms, tadpoles, frogs, small fish, mussels, snails, and mice. They eat at all times, but usually in the early morning or late afternoon. They do not swallow their prey at once. 

They hold their prey in the jaw before sucking in. These game fish species use their senses and insights to attack their target from their hiding place. 

Here is a list of food that adult largemouth bass eat:


Aquatic salamanders are easy prey for the largemouth bass because of their bright colors and movements. The bass attacks the salamander when they are busy eating slow-moving animals like shrimps, worms, and snails or when they feed on plants and algae. 

Using salamanders as live bait is optional if you catch a line for largemouth bass. You can use artificial bait to preserve salamanders in their natural habitat.  


Crawfish or crayfish are a favorite target of largemouth bass because they are everywhere. These freshwater crustaceans look similar to small lobsters. These crustaceans go with different regional names. 

They are known as crawdads, craydids, crawdaddies, mountain lobsters, freshwater lobsters, baybugs, rock lobsters, mudbugs, and yabbies. Crawfish use their feather-like gills for breathing. 

They thrive in streams, brooks, lakes, paddy fields, ditches, and swamps. They feed on decomposing or living plants and animals. Anglers use crayfish as bait for catching bass, perch, muskie, pike, and catfish.


Adult largemouth bass eats insects that hover around their location. They eat insects that fall at the bottom of the lake or stream, such as grasshoppers, caterpillars, dragonflies, crickets, mayflies, and Japanese beetles. They hunt for more giant insects as their size begins to grow. 

Summer and spring are the best time to hunt for largemouth bass because many insects fly around the area. It would be easy to catch the bass as they emerge from their hiding place to catch their prey.


Snakes provide snacks for largemouth bass. Snakes can live on the land, in or near the sea, or in freshwater. Largemouth bass eats smaller snakes as they are easy to attack. 

Using the snakes as baits to lure largemouth is discouraged because it is unsafe and can also harm their population. Instead, use an artificial lure when you go hunt for bass. Snakes will bite you if they feel threatened, so avoid using them as bait.


Frogs are a favorite dinner for largemouth bass because of their delicious taste. They swim in freshwater using their hind limbs. The best time for frog lures is during summer when the largemouth bass attack them in the water. 

Some species of frogs populate the lakes, streams, and ponds during the rainy season. 

They usually hide in thick vegetation and aquatic plants like lily pads and water spinach. Catch a line in freshwater where you hear the sounds of frogs after a downpour.


Invertebrates are a favorite meal for largemouth bass. When using the snail as bait, you have to take the meat out of the shell. Attach the flesh to the hook and then catch a line. Freshwater snails stay in freshwater habitats like rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds. 

You don’t need much effort when looking for snails as bait for largemouth bass. Some snails are amphibians, and they hide in moist soil and near the freshwater. They move slowly, making it easy to catch them as a lure.

Small Fish

Largemouth bass has a robust appetite and eats what is available in their hiding place. They eat all types of small fish that move on the surface and bottom of the water. 

The small fish lure is plenty, so waste no time hunting largemouth bass. These fish include minnows, banded killifish, and bluegill. Adult bass in larger reservoirs and lakes can find other small fish species, such as yellow perch, shad, ciscoes, cyprinids, shiners, freshwater silversides, sunfish, and suckers. 

What Does Juvenile Largemouth Bass Eat?

Immature largemouth bass has limited food choices. They have small mouths to feed on the food that their adult counterparts eat. As soon as they get older, they can eat as many food types as possible. 

An inch-long fry eats the zooplankton or tiny critters. They also feed on diving beetles, dragonfly nymphs, and small insects that dive into the water. Let’s look at the list of what juvenile largemouth bass eat.


Worms provide an excellent protein source for juvenile largemouth bass and fish species. Anglers find worms as the cheapest bait to lure fish. Buy them at pet shops or aquarium shops. 

Small Bait Fish

Largemouth bass fry eats small fish, making it easier for anglers to catch them. They congregate in a group to hunt small fish. Anglers use small fish as bait while they are busy looking for food. There are many small fishes in the water that you can use as bait. It includes scads, minnows, ballyhoo, anchovies, and gudgeon.


Young largemouth bass has a fascination for insects. They eat insects that fit into their mouths, such as zooplankton, diving beetles, dragonfly nymphs, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, caterpillars, and Japanese beetles. You can use any of these insects as baits or use artificial lures if you can’t find one.  


Amphipods or scuds look like shrimp. There are more than 9,900 species of amphipods that are primarily aquatic animals. The body has thirteen segments covering the head, abdomen, and thorax. 

They are detritivores or animals that feed on dead living things or organic material. Scuds attract largemouth bass, making it a perfect bait to catch the fish.  

Small Shrimp

Freshwater shrimp are great baits for largemouth bass, whether fresh, frozen, dead, or alive. It is not only the bass who have a fondness for small shrimp but other fish varieties. Using small shrimp as fish bait is easy to handle and catch fish. 

How Does Largemouth Bass Eat?

The largemouth bass feeding habits are interesting to know. These marine creatures feed on zooplankton and crustaceans when they are newly hatched. Their diet increases as their size grow. The bass fry is about 1 inch in length. 

They devour smaller fish and insects when their length reaches two inches. Since their mouths are too small to take giant marine creatures, their diet is limited. 

However, as they become adults, their mouths can swallow large prey. Their flexible stomach can take in as much food as possible and about 50 percent of their size. 

The largemouth bass is the apex predator in the food chain. They deserve the name largemouth because they take in foods that can fit in their big mouths. 

The largemouth bass metabolism increases when the water temperature becomes warm. Anglers find it easy to catch a line when the weather is hot, as the bass has an unstoppable appetite.

What is the Daily Food Intake of Largemouth Bass? 

Largemouth bass has an insatiable appetite, and they can devour almost all kinds of marine organisms and sea creatures. Their stomach can hold food of around one-third of their body weight per day. 

According to research, largemouth bass can eat as much as five percent of their body weight. A ten-pound bass can consume 1/3 per day or nearly four pounds per week or more than 100 pounds for its typical growing season from March to October. 

Inside the stomach of an adult are myriads of creatures that live in its habitat. You will see an assortment of marine organisms, such as crawfish, frogs, small snakes, insects, mice, baby ducks, baby alligators, mollusks, and crustaceans inside the bass’s stomach. 

Can Largemouth Bass Survive without Eating?

Yes, largemouth bass can survive in the waters with an empty stomach for several weeks. Most males skip their meals when they guard the eggs and fingerlings after spawning. Those male basses may die without food after using their energies to run after predators near the nest. 

Does Adult Largemouth Bass Devour Their Babies?

Male largemouth cannot control their hunger pangs after guarding their eggs and baby fry for a longer time. The female bass swims away from the nest after the spawning season. 

The male largemouth bass has no choice but to eat the baby bass. There are times that the female bass also eats the baby bass when the need arises.  

It is a familiar scene in the marine ecology that both adult fish like the largemouth bass eat the fingerlings, whether it is their babies or not. 

Who are the Predators of Largemouth Bass?

Although they are top predators in their habitat, largemouth bass is also eaten by many animals in the water when they are juvenile. 

Some of its predators are American eels, common carp, northern water snakes, channel catfish, crappie, yellow perch, walleye, big bass, great blue herons, northern pike, and muskellunge. 

Adult and young largemouth bass are common targets of the bald eagle. Species of bitterns and kingfishers feast on the young largemouth bass. 

Leave a Comment