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   I had a pet largemouth in my back yard "goldfish pond" this summer. Released her today in my neighbor's pond so that if we were to have any issues with the pump in our pond freezing this winter I won't have to worry about the big bass. I fed it all kinds of baitfish, like bluegill, creek chubs, golden shiners, and suckers. The pond is only 3 or 4 feet deep and 11'widex16'long, it's located in my back yard so I could observe the fish through the window from my couch, I spent quite a bit of time studying the bass's habits...

    Watching this bass taught me a lot, I kept the pond chocked full of food so she could eat whenever she wanted to, and it was interesting to see how when she wasn't feeding, she would just hang out in the shade, and even when 20 little suckers swam by, she would just sit there. But when she did decide it was time to eat, it was an all out blitz, no ambushing, just chase them down, sometimes in full speed pursuit for 10-15 seconds at a time, and CHOMP! I also had a smaller bass in there, one particular time the smaller one managed to grab a bluegill so big that it took him 5 or more minutes to swallow, I was worried I would have to catch him and take it out so he wouldn't die, but somehow he swallowed it. The bigger bass was right beside him the whole time just waiting in case he spit it out, they are pretty bright creatures.

   It really was an eye opener for me, I was surprised to see how small of a time frame one can have to catch a big bass, a spot that may seem to be vacant could be on fire 10 minutes later. It also showed me that bass will use a significant amount of energy to capture food when they are in a feeding mode. I'm eager to get another one next year to study, may even try to get a couple pre-spawn and see what they do when the water warms!

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Measured 20"x14" today, fish calculator says 5.5lbs (I need to get new batteries for my scale)

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How big was it when u got it?

Put her in August 1st and she was 3.5lbs on a scale...so she packed on some serious weight haha

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Neat observations. I love watching fish too. Can be very informative as well as entertaining.

 

The bass that swallowed the big 'gill... How big were each of them?

 

Any clue as to whether there was any rhyme or reason to when the big one decided to feed? Just hungry? Related to any conditions, time of day, ...?

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Neat observations. I love watching fish too. Can be very informative as well as entertaining.

 

The bass that swallowed the big 'gill... How big were each of them?

 

Any clue as to whether there was any rhyme or reason to when the big one decided to feed? Just hungry? Related to any conditions, time of day, ...?

I will probably pay more attention to it next year...Mostly morning and afternoon but it wasn't necessarily low light times. Sometimes they would feed in the middle of the day for no apparent reason. 

One bass was 2.5lbs ish and the other was the 5.5 in the photo. 

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I used to study the fish in the aquarium often when I worked at Cabela's. I learned a lot about how bass feed and react to different stimuli from doing that. 

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I used to have a very small one in an aquarium and noted the same things. When they weren't hungry it didn't matter how close the baitfish got to them, they just didn't eat. 

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Neat post, thanks for sharing. I'm guessing these are northern strain right? If so that 5.5 pounder put on the pounds pretty good, wonder how old she is? Maybe 4-5 years?

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Interesting. Do you think a reaction bait like a crankbait would change that pattern or perhaps trigger the vicious feeding tear?

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Interesting. Do you think a reaction bait like a crankbait would change that pattern or perhaps trigger the vicious feeding tear?

I doubt it, I tested different baits on them and after catching them 2 or 3 times they got really cautious and wouldn't eat any baits, even weeks after seeing any baits

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I doubt it, I tested different baits on them and after catching them 2 or 3 times they got really cautious and wouldn't eat any baits, even weeks after seeing any baits

Well, they are pet bass. I was talking about bass outside of aquariums.

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Not feeding is a tactic.  If the baitfish get used to its presence, they are less likely to run, which means the bass can use less energy to chase them around.  Groupers do this on reefs as well as scorpionfish.  As dumb as we want them to be, fish are smart.  As smart as they seem, they are still dumb as rocks.

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It is curious the difference when baitfish are living in the pond or aquarium with a pet bass & when they are introduced.

 

On a previous thread, I talked about the pet bass I have in my koi pond.  The only fish in there are the bass (now about 15" long), six koi (most larger than the bass) and a hefty bluegill that is too large to fit inside the bass's mouth (for now at least).  The mainstay of the bass's diet is nightcrawlers, but about every other week, he gets 10 large feeder goldfish.  I add them to the pond at the waterfall and it is game on.  The bass is a blur of motion, picking off each goldfish as quickly as he can, even coming out of the water when he is pinning them against a shallow rock.  He typically eats all 10 in less than a minute.  Rare is the goldfish that finds a safe haven, the longest I have seen one play hide-&-seek is about 5 minutes.  Eventually, the goldfish wanders out from his hiding spot & wham, the bass comes flying in to hammer him.  I can't keep any baitfish living in the pond because the bass eats them right away :)

 

Unlike other peoples experience, my bass has never turned down food.  Even with a belly full of goldfish, he will nudge the koi out of the way to slurp down some of their pellets.  No matter the time of day, weather conditions, or solunar predictions, this bass will eat if there is food present.  I thought I may be underfeeding him, but he has quite the beer belly going on.  He continues to eat even with goldfish or nightcrawlers hanging out of his mouth & gills.  I really should get his gene pool back into my home lake.

 

One other note about the bluegill's behavior around the bass.  Although the bluegill is too big for the bass to eat (he is about 9" long), he is wary of the bass.  He usually positions himself on whatever is the opposite end of where the bass sets up.  If the bass is cruising around, the bluegill will back up into the rocks as he nears.  Maybe the sight of the bass taking out the goldfish has given the bluegill PTSD, but he is one cautious dude, not the happy go lucky bream that we usually see out sunning themselves all the time.  If the bass continues to grow & gets into the 5lb class, I do expect to see the bluegill or smaller koi's tail sticking out of his mouth one day.

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This is a very interesting thread. I would love to have a pond where I could observe game fish.

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It is curious the difference when baitfish are living in the pond or aquarium with a pet bass & when they are introduced.

 

On a previous thread, I talked about the pet bass I have in my koi pond.  The only fish in there are the bass (now about 15" long), six koi (most larger than the bass) and a hefty bluegill that is too large to fit inside the bass's mouth (for now at least).  The mainstay of the bass's diet is nightcrawlers, but about every other week, he gets 10 large feeder goldfish.  I add them to the pond at the waterfall and it is game on.  The bass is a blur of motion, picking off each goldfish as quickly as he can, even coming out of the water when he is pinning them against a shallow rock.  He typically eats all 10 in less than a minute.  Rare is the goldfish that finds a safe haven, the longest I have seen one play hide-&-seek is about 5 minutes.  Eventually, the goldfish wanders out from his hiding spot & wham, the bass comes flying in to hammer him.  I can't keep any baitfish living in the pond because the bass eats them right away :)

 

Unlike other peoples experience, my bass has never turned down food.  Even with a belly full of goldfish, he will nudge the koi out of the way to slurp down some of their pellets.  No matter the time of day, weather conditions, or solunar predictions, this bass will eat if there is food present.  I thought I may be underfeeding him, but he has quite the beer belly going on.  He continues to eat even with goldfish or nightcrawlers hanging out of his mouth & gills.  I really should get his gene pool back into my home lake.

 

One other note about the bluegill's behavior around the bass.  Although the bluegill is too big for the bass to eat (he is about 9" long), he is wary of the bass.  He usually positions himself on whatever is the opposite end of where the bass sets up.  If the bass is cruising around, the bluegill will back up into the rocks as he nears.  Maybe the sight of the bass taking out the goldfish has given the bluegill PTSD, but he is one cautious dude, not the happy go lucky bream that we usually see out sunning themselves all the time.  If the bass continues to grow & gets into the 5lb class, I do expect to see the bluegill or smaller koi's tail sticking out of his mouth one day.

I kept enough food in the pond that the bass couldn't eat it all at once and would feed as they got hungry. I have kept multiple bass and fed them worms/goldfish etc by hand, they would eat whatever hit the water! 

Here are a couple videos from 2010 when we had about half a dozen small bass in our pond.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vo2-aoKwXLY&index=45&list=UU4y9k2v94ICgi80AsOvyZzQ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8NYjGUH9N2c&index=44&list=UU4y9k2v94ICgi80AsOvyZzQ

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So last night, my (adult) children have an ugly sweater Christmas party at our house and they end up playing beer pong outside.  Within minutes, one of the ping pong balls bounces sideways off the table right into the koi pond.  Instantly Mr. Bass grabs it and settles back down to the bottom.  After about a 3 count, he opens his mouth, spits it out and the ball floats to the surface.  Now that in & of itself isn't a huge deal, unless someone is thinking of attaching treble hooks to a ping pong ball.  What was amazing about that is just 2 hours earlier, I had fed Mr. Bass ten (10) goldfish.  Here he is, in 50 odd degree water, a full stomach of goldfish and he instantly smashes a ping pong ball like he is Forrest Gump.

 

With that, I have decided to finally name him Blutarsky, because to paraphrase the blond coed from Animal House "That bass is a P-I-G, pig!!"

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That story's a trip.  When my brother and I were kids we had a 55 gallon tank with Ciclids & African Snake Heads (about 30 years ago, they were still legal) as pets.  One afternoon I caught a couple of 12" LMBs and decided they'd make good additions to the tank.  We put them in everyone scattered to different corners of the tank.  The next morning the only two left in the tank were the LMBs.  There were bits and chunks of the Snake Heads and no signs of the Ciclids.  Shortly thereafter the LMBs were back home....

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Wow I can't believe how fast it grew... Great story!

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I was the one who started the previous thread.  Update on my fish.  I recently moved them from a their 55 gallon tank to a nice 125 gallon tank (with stand i got for $100 on craigslist, nice) .  I added a heater , bigger air pump as well. My crawfish didn't survive, so i got me a cool new blue one.  I caught them when they were 4 inches long in april by using a bare weightless tiny gold snell hook (without anything on it*IMPORTANT) and i would dance it on the surface until a baby would bite. put them in my livewell and drove them home.  If you decide to do this know that if you bring home 5 baby bass, 2 will survive the first month. if you bring home 15 , then maybe 3 or 4 will.  

here was them in their old tank 

here is them feeding about 2 weeks ago.  

 

ALSO YOU CAN ORDER LIVE BABY BASS from carolina biological supply on their website. they also sell blue catfish and bluegill i think.  http://www.carolina.com/game-fish/largemouth-bass-living-pack-of-3/145400.pr?catId=10507&mCat=10476&sCat=10477&ssCat=10504&question=

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Why would the bass have died if he swallowed the bluegill?

If the bluegill was so big that the bass couldn't get it down and it got stuck, then it would kill the bass because he would starve to death because he couldn't eat. Like in this video http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=tm7dHAkdB9c.

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I would chunk a dropshot out there and work it. Try all kinds of crazy colors, if you can get your pet bass to bite, then wild bass might bite even more if the conditions are right.

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I like this video thew best!! Reminds me of stuff my brother and i did as kids!!! Cool thread and good job on moving the big girl to a new location!!

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