We all know that largemouth bass love shiners, minnows, shad, and will often strike at a well placed artificial lure. However, have you ever wondered what else a largemouth bass will eat? If so, then you are not alone! I’ve often thought of this very question, so I decided to do a little snooping around and here’s what I found out.
Bass are opportunistic eaters, meaning that they will eat whatever and whenever they have a chance. If it can fit in their mouths, they will try and eat it. This includes smaller bass!
While I wouldn’t necessarily suggest trying to use all of these for bait, there are a couple that could be just what you need to get the big boys to bite.
Let’s find out what they are…
What Do Bass Eat?
Bass, both smallmouth and largemouth love to eat lizards. This should be pretty evident considering that the big lure brands sell plastic lizards. You know that they had to do a little bit of research as to whether or not bass like them before they decided to mass produce them.
It also seems as though bass don’t have a preference as to what type of lizard it is either. Gecko, salamander, or your common yard lizard, the bass really don’t care.
Lizards are one of the baits from this list that I would recommend that you try sometime.
In fact, I found a comment on one of the fishing forums that I follow said that lizards are especially good bait to use when bass are spawning. Apparently, lizards will often raid the nests and eat the bass’s eggs.
They claim that if you pitch alive or even an artificial lizard near a bedding bass, the bass will strike it. Since bass do not eat while they’re spawning, the strike will be out of aggression and not because of hunger.
Just like with a lizard, a big largemouth bass can’t resist the sight of a bite-size snake swimming on the water’s surface!
Also, like with a lizard, there are plenty of artificial lures that resemble a snake being sold on the market, which is always a good indication that bass like them.
How big of snake really depends on how big the bass is. There’s a video on YouTube of a man who caught a 9” bass and when he was removing his lure, pulled out a 3-foot long snake. Granted, it was a skinny one, but still.
There’s also another video of a man fishing from a kayak who knocked over a rattlesnake with his paddle and used it to catch a 10lb bass.
I don’t recommend trying to catch a live snake to use for bait (especially a poisonous one), however, you may want to add an artificial version to your tackle box.
A lot of people are recommending the Mann’s Bait Company Hardnose Floating Snake. I haven’t tried these out, so I can’t vouch for how effective they are, but I will be ordering some soon to try out.
If you’re interested in getting some for yourself, you can check them out here on Amazon.
Of course, a bass cannot and will not eat a large turtle! I don’t care how big the bass is.
However, baby turtles had better watch out!
Like I stated previously… if a bass can fit it inside its mouth, chances are it’s going to eat it and small turtles are no exception.
You might be asking yourself, how can a fish digest something as hard as a turtle shell?
First, a baby turtle’s shell is nowhere near as hard as an older turtle, In fact, it’s pretty soft!
Also, what many people don’t know is that a bass’s teeth aren’t the pointy things dotting their lips that commonly give us bass fishermen “bass thumb.”
Their teeth are actually located in the back of their throat and are made for crushing the exoskeletons of their prey, including baby turtles. These teeth are often referred to as the bass’s “crushers.”
Are goldfish a good live bait for bass fishing? No, I’m not talking about a shiner! I’m talking about the kind that you put in your fish tank at home!
As a matter of fact, they are! However, in some states, it is illegal to fish with goldfish as bait.
Some people might think, this has something to do with the “cruelty” aspect of hooking a live goldfish with a hook and feeding it to bass, however, this has nothing to do with it.
The real reason is due to the fact that goldfish are an invasive species! They are known as the “little piggies” of fish tanks because they will not stop eating on their own accord.
Goldfish will eat everything in sight, including crustaceans, insects, and various plant matter; when this food is scarce they will eat their eggs and even the eggs from other native species nests.
Studies have shown that this can have a negative impact on the reproductive rate of native fish that are important to the ecosystems of our lakes, rivers, and streams.
While goldfish might be a good bait for catching a nice bass, you had better make sure that they are legal to use within your state.
Louisiana fishermen have known for years that crawfish is a good live bait, especially when fishing for bass.
Also known as crawfish, crawdads, grass crabs, and a half-dozen other names, the crawfish is a great bait that is plentiful everywhere bass are.
Crawfish, for the most part, are pretty easy to catch for bait. They can also be found at most bait shops in the southern part of the US.
Crawfish are particularly good at catching pre-spawning bass that ventures close to the shore looking for an easy meal.
If cathing live crawfish for bait isn’t your thing, there are plenty of artificial crawfish lures available.
One of which is the
One of the cool things about using crawfish for bait is that if you don’t catch any bass, you can still have the crawfish for dinner!
Take a walk down the aisles of your favorite sporting goods store and you’re bound to find a few imitation frog fishing lures.
That’s because largemouth bass love frogs!
In fact, they love them so much that a lot of top pros routinely use some type of frog lure when fishing in bass tournaments.
As far as fishing with live frogs, I’ll leave that one up to you.
If you do decide to use a live frog, try hooking it through the skin of one of its legs with a circle hook. Attach a couple of split shot sinkers about one foot from the hook and drop it to the bottom.
As the frog tries to swim to the surface, the sinker will bring it back down to the bottom. All of this commotion will be too much for a hungry largemouth bass to pass up!
I wouldn’t say that birds are high on a largemouth bass’s diet, but they have been known to eat small birds, including baby ducks.
I’ve read numerous accounts of fishermen seeing a bass snatch an unsuspecting bird from a low-hanging branch, or even a baby duck while it’s swimming.
Believe it or not, there have even been fishermen who swear to have seen a big largemouth bass literally fly out of the water and snatch a hovering bat.
Ok, so I was a little surprised by this one! I wasn’t shocked that bass would try and eat a mouse, however, I was surprised that they like them enough to warrant big brands to make a mouse fishing lure.
While I haven’t actually used a mouse fishing lure, after watching some YouTube videos and reading a few bass fishing forums, it does appear that they can be extremely effective.
If you are interested in trying a mouse bait out but prefer not to use a live mouse, you might want to give LIVETARGET’s Hollow Body Mouse in the 3 1/2″ size a try.
Again, I haven’t tried using one of these, but this particular lure has a high review on Amazon.
Largemouth bass love them some shrimp! When you think of fishing for bass, using a shrimp as bait might not be the first thing that comes to mind, however, they can be extremely effective at catching bass.
If you really want to get a big bass to strike, try putting a big freshwater prawn on the end of the hook and see what happens!
A bit of advice though…just like with the crawfish, keep your shrimp alive or cold on ice at all times. This way if you don’t catch anything worth keeping, you can always boil you up some shrimp.
We all know that an alligator is at the very top of the food chain once it gets to a certain size. However, there is a point in their life that they are on the lower end! This is a time when like most other small reptiles (lizards and frogs), they have to be careful.
There have been plenty of reported incidents of largemouth bass swallowing up a baby alligator like it was nothing.
I haven’t seen any alligator fishing lures for sale and I definitely wouldn’t recommend that you try and to catch any for bait either!
11. Live Worms
One of the most productive baits for catching bass of all shapes and sizes are plastic worms. My favorite to use is a 9” purple colored Zoom Magnum II. I’ve caught tons of bass on these suckers!
With that being said, do live worms work just as good?
I personally don’t use live worms whenever I go bass fishing, but when I was a kid I did. I wasn’t necessarily fishing for bass, but I sure caught my fair share using worms that I dug up in my backyard.
In fact, my very first bass was caught on a live worm.
There is a reason that fish biologists use bream as the primary food source for bass when stocking a pond. It’s because bass love them!
Bluegill and other types of sunfish play a critical role in the diet of most bass throughout the United States.
Have you ever taken a kid fishing for bream, only to come home with a bass that just destroyed the 3-inch bream that your kid just caught?
Again, bass love bream!
If you can catch a few for bait, I would highly recommend that you give them a shot.
Largemouth bass are an apex predator in our freshwater lakes, ponds, rivers, and streams. When it comes to fish, they are at the top of the food chain!
Although they will eat just about anything that they can fit inside their “bucket mouths”, including small reptiles, birds, mammals and rodents, the best live baits for catching bass (in my opinion) are small baitfish. This includes shiners, shad and yes…bream.
After all, baitfish make up roughly 95 percent of a bass’s diet! Naturally, it would make sense to use them.
On the flip side, well fished artificial lures can and are just as effective for catching bass.
Have you ever witnessed a bass gobbling up something unusual? If so I would love for you to leave a comment below.
1. What do smallmouth bass eat? Smallmouth bass will eat a lot of the same foods as their cousin the largemouth bass, however, due to their smaller mouths, they will have a hard time eating some of the larger prey that a largemouth bass will.
2. Do bass eat nightcrawlers? Yes, bass love nightcrawlers! However, they are one of the most overlooked live baits when it comes to catching bass. It’s a shame too because bass love them! Think about it…one of the best artificial lures for bass fishing is a good ole plastic worm, so why wouldn’t a bass go after a live version.
3. Do bass eat insects? Have you ever thought about fly fishing for bass but weren’t sure if they would go for a fly? To answer your question… yes, bass love insects! In fact, a couple of their favorites include dragonflys and water beetles.
4. How often do largemouth bass eat? Bass are an opportunistic feeder, meaning that they will grab a bite any chance they get, with the exception of when they are spawning.