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What all do bass feed on throughout the year , Starting with Spring , Summer , Fall & Winter ? Thanks for your help i retired last March & i was planning on learning more about fishing & I've missed the last to Spawns & I've not caught a fish this year so far & my health has took a bad turn , it's hard for me to get on the water. GodBless & Thank You One & All

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I think bass feed on anything they can physically eat given the forage in the body of water.  In the spring there tends to be more forage/baitfish...but they are opportunistic and take what meals they can get.  If i have the wrong understanding folks, please correct.

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You are in Tennessee so bass have wide variety of prey sources and they are never far from  the most abundant food. 

Winter is the cold water period and also the season with fewest prey types available. During the winter most of the terrestrial prey like flying insects, frogs, salamanders, small birds are either dormate or migrated to warmer climates. Young of the year fish are bigger during the winter and become a good prey source for adult bass. Shad species go deeper to seek warmer water as the bass do, so most of the available prey is in deeper water.

Bass being cold blooded animals need less food in cold water.

Winter to spring transition is called pre spawn and the water is warming the bass are feeding on crawdads, baitfish mostly preparing for the spawn.

Summer is the warm water period when everything is available including the terrestrial critters like baby birds, mice, rats, insects, frogs, salamanders, wide variety of grubs and worms plus bait fish and baby fish like bass, bluegill, crappie, catfish, carp, suckers etc.

Fall is the transition from warm water to cold water and the prey sources are either migrating, leaving green aquatic vegetation as it dies off or going into a dormate state.

The prey and bass are moving towards deeper and warmer water, bass are feeding heavily in preparation for winter.

Tom

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7 hours ago, visagelaid said:

I think bass feed on anything they can physically eat given the forage in the body of water.  In the spring there tends to be more forage/baitfish...but they are opportunistic and take what meals they can get.  If i have the wrong understanding folks, please correct.

I totally agree.  Bass are definitely opportunistic feeders.  Anything that floats by that looks like food, they are apt to take a swipe at it.  I live in northern Wisconsin and bass don't really school here, for the most part, on a lot of our smaller lakes, like they do on some of the bigger impoundments when they are chasing bait fish.  Here their main forage is crayfish.  That is not to say they won't chomp down a yellow perch or whatever swims by, but crayfish here are the main food for many of the bass, which can be evidenced by the red mouths they have from cracking those little snacks open and munching them down.  

Also, as WRB said, during summer they will eat anything they can get down.  Here that is usually baby ducks, frogs, and red-winged black birds.  But they will also eat clumsy mice who find their way off of a dock and into the water.  Anything that is struggling or looking afraid is fair game, and the easier target the better, for the most part.

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Id agree with everything already stated... minus the frog thing. Ive caught fish on a hollow body frog, but I don't think it's because the bass thought it was a frog, I believe they think it's a small blackbird, other Bird, or a smaller fish struggling along the surface. I've seen everything regurgitated into a live well from baby ducks, mice, rats, fish, random small birds... I've never seen a frog. This was all my own observations then read somewhere bass hate the bitter taste of a frog. I'm certainly not saying they DON'T eat frogs and I'm sure someone has seen proof that they do. But just not my experience or that I've even heard of in my area

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39 minutes ago, NorthwestBasser said:

Id agree with everything already stated... minus the frog thing. Ive caught fish on a hollow body frog, but I don't think it's because the bass thought it was a frog, I believe they think it's a small blackbird, other Bird, or a smaller fish struggling along the surface. I've seen everything regurgitated into a live well from baby ducks, mice, rats, fish, random small birds... I've never seen a frog. This was all my own observations then read somewhere bass hate the bitter taste of a frog. I'm certainly not saying they DON'T eat frogs and I'm sure someone has seen proof that they do. But just not my experience or that I've even heard of in my area

And not to make this more confusing and controversial than it already is, but I don't think they really know or care what your lure is!  They just see something that kinda looks like something good to eat and if it is in the right place going the right speed at the right time, its going to get eaten.  

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8 hours ago, IndianaFinesse said:

And not to make this more confusing and controversial than it already is, but I don't think they really know or care what your lure is!  They just see something that kinda looks like something good to eat and if it is in the right place going the right speed at the right time, its going to get eaten.  

And that's called a "reaction bite" where you are appealing to the instinctive part of the bass' brain and they strike out of instinct.;)  

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Personally I think the frog bite is maybe a mouse thing as there are tons of them around and everything eats em.

P.S. Hope your feeling better soon....will lift you up

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As someone mentioned above, in a typical (is there such a thing) TN reservoir, shad is going to be the primary forage. This is not to say that at times bass wont key on other things. Every body of water is going to be different, but any fish that fits in a bass' mouth is fair game, as are crayfish, and any other like sized aquatic creatures. And while bass will eat mice, snakes, small birds and other such things, there just aren't enough of them routinely around to be anything other that an opportunistic snack. In tidal waters, you have to add juvenille salt water fish to the equation. I do very well with killifish colored baits in the Potomac for both bass and snakeheads.

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Don't forget turtles.  Baby turtles.  

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Every time I ever cleaned a bass and decided to cut the gut open, it was full of shad, minnows or shiners. The minnows could have been any species of fish. I have caught a fish with a crawfish claw hanging out his backside. I hope you feel better soon.

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They eat crayfish, small pan fish, almost anything swimming on the surface that's small enough to look like food.  But the first thing I ever caught a bass on was just a plain old earthworm, using a cane pole with hook, sinker and bobber.  I've recently come around to the soft plastic side of bass fishing.  

 

I went out a couple of evenings ago to a tiny pond (about 3/4 acre) a half mile from my house, fishing weightless with some Berkley Powerbaits (in pumpkinseed, the modern "earthworm") and in an hour I had released 4 and missed strikes on a half dozen more.  It was a blast!  And this from someone who, until this year, hadn't fished for bass since my family moved away from the Minnesota-Wisconsin area in 1963.  

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Live frogs were a common bait to use when I was kid back in the dark ages. Where do you think Uncle Josh pork frogs came from? Oh, you all don't know about pork frogs, they became plastic chunks!

Bass or any other predator can be very selective feeders or indiscriminate opportunist depending on how abundant a preferred prey source is. We tend to think bass are special and eat prey other big predator fish don't. Big brown trout, pike, musky etc., eat everything bass will including each other. 

Tom

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A lure doesn't have to simulate any living creature, and in my opinion most of them don't.

A lure has only to look like something to eat. There are 'thousands' of aquatic animals,

and no opportunistic predator has ever seen half of them. A far bigger concern to the angler

is whether a bass is feeding or not, unfortunately bass spend most of their time 'off' the feed.

 

Roger

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I assume the original question was specifically talking about largemouth in a southerly climate.  What has been posted is correct in relation to those fish.  In the north, there are different prey items than in year round warmer southern waters since our lakes and rivers are often locked up in ice for months.  Also, studies have shown that up to 90% of a smallmouth's diet consists of crayfish.  A largemouth's diet tends to me a more diverse than a smallmouth.

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31 minutes ago, gimruis said:

Also, studies have shown that up to 90% of a smallmouth's diet consists of crayfish.  

 

That is definitely NOT the case on the Tennessee River. The primary forage is threadfin shad.

For the Great Lakes I would think the base is gobies.

 

:fishing-026:

 

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Bass are bass, however there are several species widely distributed each having it's own niche in a wild environment. Bass are very adaptable fish and the reason they are so widely  spread across north Amercia and several other places around the world.

The thought bass are individual hunters isn't true, they can be however they also can and do hunt in groups depending on the prey source being targeted.

Most anglers make the mistake thinking they cast to a target and catch a bass and that was the only bass within a few yards, there could a dozen or more within close proximity.

Tom

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27 minutes ago, roadwarrior said:

For the Great Lakes I would think the base is gobies.

 

I forgot about the gobies!

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6 hours ago, WRB said:

Bass are bass, however there are several species widely distributed each having it's own niche in a wild environment. Bass are very adaptable fish and the reason they are so widely  spread across north Amercia and several other places around the world.

The thought bass are individual hunters isn't true, they can be however they also can and do hunt in groups depending on the prey source being targeted.

Most anglers make the mistake thinking they cast to a target and catch a bass and that was the only bass within a few yards, there could a dozen or more within close proximity.

Tom

I've definitely found this to be true with the smallmouth, find one there is usually 4 to 6 more with it, all of about the same size. They seem to run in age/size similar packs...

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Every bass angler should watch Big Mouth Forever vedio by Glenn Lua.

Tom

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Here is a great article of interest:

 

edit .. ok link didn't work, here is the cut/paste.   Ralph Mann's wrote this.

 

What Bass Eat Black bass, particularly Largemouth bass, will eat practically anything that moves and they can get into their mouths that doesn't fight back so hard they get hurt.

But, this doesn't mean they routinely eat odd items like snakes, birds, turtles, ducklings, or bread crumbs. There have been more food habit studies made on bass that any other type of scientific study. They all found the same basic facts. Adult bass diets consist mainly of smaller fish and small crustaceans (shrimp, crawfish, and small crabs in brackish water), and some frogs. All the other things they eat like snakes, ducklings, salamanders, field mice, whatever ___ are incidental and usually less than 2 percent of the total bass diet.

The dominant bass food is almost always the most readily available prey of suitable size. With second place going to the next most readily catchable prey type. Tadpoles are easy prey if they blunder into deep water. That likely is the reason frogs tend to lay eggs only in very shallow shoreline edges where bass can not range easily. It is also why we see almost no tadpoles or larval salamanders sharing deeper water with abundant bass.

Bass that try to eat a toad, which has toxic/poisonous/foul-tasting skin, learn never to eat another. They also avoid frogs thereafter, apparently unable to see the differences. Bass that try to eat baby turtles quickly learn turtles have claws and are hard to crush, kill, and swallow. Tiny turtles claw and tear up the gills and throats of bass. Usually a bass only tries a turtle once. Small baby snakes may be easy prey, but things that fight back and might even win are usually avoided. Most big bass don't try to eat big snakes and cottonmouth snakes are to be avoided. Even lunker bass are more likely to eat a 2- to 3-inch crawfish than to take on a full grown 7-inch super-clawed, hard-shelled monster. That claws up, face the bass, and snap and pinch tactic of crawfish exists because it WORKS and keeps them alive in hostile waters.

I surmise that big worms don't really imitate big snakes, because bass eat them so readily. Small worms are likely taken because they imitate small fish. Besides shad and minnows, there are many small catfish, and darters on the bottom of most waters, and these fish are preferred and easy to catch bass foods. A worm, fry, or grub worked slowly along the bottom is a good imitator. Keep in mind that bas really don’t see details very well. That’s why the hit lures that a 4-year old human knows aren’t real minnows.

I suggest anglers usually stick to fish and crawfish imitations for maximum success at bassing. But, there are times when the rare and unusual is needed to interest an inactive fish or two. I love to experiment with odd baits, but most "helicopter lures" and duckling imitations really don't work very well. The Hannon snake head worked, as it helped float the typical sinking plastic worms of the 80s and allowed a floating-worm presentation. But, I suspect the look of a snake wasn’t very important and that any floating worm of equal size would work about as well.

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