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Drowning a bass??

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This came up in a discussion I was having last evening -- somewhere in the deep dark recesses of my memory, I recall being told that a bass (maybe other fish as well) have to close their mouth in order to flare their gills and get oxygen. So if a bass gets pinned up on a crank bait or tries to eat a bait fish or crawdad that is too big, it can cause them to "drown". Was this just something my Granpa told me to pull my leg or is this for real? Not really important, but was just wondering.

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Could be, some years ago I found a big bass ( the eyeball meter calculated around 6 pounds ) floating near the shore with a huge tilapia stuck in it 's wide open mouth, the bass was almost dead, I removed the tilapia and returned the fish to the water just to find it an hour later floating again dead and I have found dead fish in other ocassions with tilapias and bluegills stuck in their mouths.

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