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Largemouth Bass

largemouth bass, florida bass, largemouth bass facts, information

SCIENTIFIC NAME : Micropterus salmoides floridanus

OTHER NAMES: black bass, Florida bass, Florida (or southern) largemouth, green bass, bigmouth, bucket mouth, line sides, Oswego bass and green trout.

RANGE: All Florida freshwater lakes and rivers.

HABITAT: Prefers clear, non-flowing waters with aquatic vegetation where food and cover are available. They occupy brackish to freshwater habitats, including upper estuaries, rivers, lakes, reservoirs and ponds. Also, they can tolerate a wide range of water clarities and bottom types, prefer water temperatures from 65 to 85 degrees, and are usually found at depths less than 20 feet.

DESCRIPTION: The largemouth is the largest member of the sunfish family. It generally has light greenish to brownish sides with a dark lateral line which tends to break into blotches towards the tail. Often confused with small mouth and spotted bass, it is easily distinguishable because the upper jaw extends beyond the rear edge of the eye. Also, its first and second dorsal fins are almost separated by an obvious deep dip, and there are no scales on the soft-rayed second dorsal fin or on the anal fin.

SIZE: Growth rates are highly variable with differences attributed mainly to their food supply and length of growing season. Female bass live longer than males and are much more likely to reach trophy size. By age two or three, females grow much faster than male bass. Males seldom exceed 16 inches, while females frequently surpass 22 inches. At five years of age females may be twice the weight of males. One-year old bass average about seven inches in length and grow to an adult size of 10 inches in about 1-1/2 to 2-1/2 years. The oldest bass from Florida whose age has been determined by fisheries biologists was 16 year of age. Generally, trophy bass (10 pounds and larger) are about 10 years old. World Record bass was 22 pounds, 4 ounces, caught in Montgomery Lake, Georgia in 1932.

FLORIDA RECORD : 17 pounds, 4 and 1/4 ounces, caught in an unnamed lake in Polk County in 1986

FOOD VALUE: The meat is white, flaky and low in oil content. The flavor depends upon the way the fish are cleaned and prepared. The strong weedy taste of bass caught in some waters may be eliminated by skinning the fish and salting and peppering the fillets before battering. Fillets usually are fried, while larger ones may be baked.

GAME QUALITIES: The largemouth bass is Florida's most popular freshwater game fish. Much of its popularity is due to its aggressive attitude and willingness to strike a lure or bait with explosive force.  The value of the largemouth as a sport fish has prompted a movement toward catch-and-release fishing.

TACKLE AND BAITS: Light casting and spinning tackle is adequate in most instances. When fishing heavy cover you may want to use line from 12 to 25 pounds depending on the structure. They will strike almost any kind of artificial lure or live bait, but most are taken on plastic worms, surface plugs, spinnerbaits, crank baits. For Trophy size Largemouth, most are caught using Large Wild Shiners.

FISHING TECHNIQUES: Casting; Still Fishing; Live Bait and Trolling.


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