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FatBoy

are bass cannibals?

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So do bass tend to eat baby bass?  I know shad are the most common forage and crawdads and frogs are preferred when available.  But do they eat their own young?  The abundance of baby bass colored baits/lures would seem to indicate they do.  But what about a baby bass patterned rapala?  Is that meant for bass or other species?

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YES!

my most succesful swimbaits are baby bass imitators.

I was reeling in a small bass a couple years ago....and a potential state record (11 pounds) came up and ate my 15 inch bass......it was a sight..........

thats why i started throwing swimbaits :D

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Fat Boy-

That baby Bass patterned Rapala should serve you well for bass fishing.

The baby bass colored bandits have been my most successful crankbaits this year.

Good luck!!

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Well, the answer is yes. The highest mortality is after the male bass has spent several weeks protecting his babies, then decides to eat them!  Another "high mortality" event is when a year class experiences a high success rate (living for longer than a year). In their second year, new born are one of the two year olds easiest prey. As an example, due to record high lake levels, the 2002 smallmouth bass spawn at Bull Shoals Lake was estimated to have a 95% survival rate. The same conditions reoccured in 2004, but the '02 class ate all the newborn. Survival rates were nominal.

As far as the "baby bass" color combination goes, this lure pattern is basically green and white with a little black accent. I find green to be my best overall color, regardless of what it is called. I'm not convinced big bass think they are eating a little bass, maybe just another green fish.

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just the other week i watched 2 bass eat a group of "younglings". I got out my bass colored popper and caught them both.

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Baby bass are snacks for big momma bass.

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Yep, bass are oppertunistic hunters.  If it fits in their mouth they will eat it.

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Yep, bass are oppertunistic hunters.  If it fits in their mouth they will eat it.

and somtimes they will try to eat somthing bigger than their moulth.

my friend cought a 6" bass on a 3/8oz buzzbait

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They have no morals.  ;D

Bass eat other bass and any other tasty fish they can swallow.

Trouble is, they just have a problem eating my lures lately :o :-[

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Guest avid

I'm shocked that BR.comers would call bass "cannibals"

That is a value laden comment, and is completley politically incorrect.

We should refer to them in more descreet terms.  Something more genteel like, "ravenous predators who eat their young"

Has a nice ring to it  

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LMAO, Avid.

You're right that we shouldn't judge another species culture just because they are different from us.  It's not the bass's fault they eat each other.  Most of them were raised in dysfunctional families.  Heck, many of them never even know their father, and you know what the lack of a positive male role model will do to a fish.  Putting labels like 'cannibal' on another being leads to stereotypes and hatred.  Rather than judge them, we should all accept them and love them just as they are.  

Now I think I'll go take off my birkenstocks and fix myself a big bowl of muesli with farm-fresh hormone-free milk.  Then I'm going down to my vegetable co-op and pick up some nice, organic leafy green vegetables to go with the homemade tofu I made last night...

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I'm not going against this group! LOL! Yep, they sure are!

One of my go-to baits during the post spawn is a baby bass colored spinnerbait!   ;)

Great examples LR and Captain!   8-)

Avid, ROFLMAO!  ;D

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This is an interesting question in that the answer isn't black/white simple. Bass will eat bass fry, but it pretty much ends there with an exception.

Bass belong to a family of fish that are for all intents and purposes are schoolers. If blatant cannibalism was allowed in this society you would have only a few large bass living in any body of water. In this respect, they are not cannibals.

So:

Fry eaters: yes

Bigger than fry eaters: no

Oops: bass don't live by rules! There is that guy/gal out there that is a full time cannibal given the opportunity. The illustrious loner, or rougue-bass. That's the fish that you note running about the lake in pursuit of its food. (see you ask a simple question and then it gets complicated)

I must regress: Bass live in schools, but not for protection as is the case for most fish that we call schoolers, but rather for cooperative hunting. This is not the hunting school akin to the roving blue fish however. This is a school that lies in wait for opportunity using each other's eyes and senses. Some of the school will be looking up for the inevitable school of bait to come by and all the rest of the school will be looking at those that are watching. When one of those that is looking up spots opportunity, those that are watching will follow suit. If the activity and opportunity are large enough the whole school may join in: this being that shad bust that is so often mis-called schooling activity. I say mis-called, because the bass were already schooled. Once the shad pass through the area the bass regroup into their previous positions waiting for the next chance to come their way.

Outside of these schools of bass lives that rogue or cannibal bass. Because of his unorthodox behavior of ingesting his own kind he isn't able to join in and use this societal activity for his hunting. You will see him out and about the lake as he smashes and chases food. If you are lucky enough to be near him/her on one those smashes you just might latch on, and the ensuing fight is going to be most interesting. You are going to think that this bass is on steroids. This bass, rather being the fatty occupant of the school that spends their time waiting for opportunity, must chase its food, and in the process becomes much more muscled than the rest.

What happens when one of these eaters of their own, heads into the school looking for an easy meal from the masses? I have seen this happen over and over again where and when it was clear enough to observe. The entire school, or those that sense its presence will turn and attack the intruder. How this bass is marked to be different from the rest I don't know, but marked he/she is. Sometimes they are lucky and carry off a hapless unattentive bass, but most often they are chased off before they can accomplish their intentions.

How much of it's life does the normal bass spend in a school? Basically most of it: the school may be loose, or it may be more compact when feeding, but this critter is a schooler. They are even in the school during the spawning activity. If they were all cannibals there would be but a few survivors with those being rather huge.

Next time you are out there and you see that big splash, and by the time you get to the area of the splash it occurs just out of your reach in another spot, with this repeating itself again and again, you are probably looking at that cannibal. Concentrate on locating the school and tend to business, for that guy/gal will more than likely come to you as he makes his daring run, blasting through the ranks in search of an easy meal.

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LMAO, Avid.

You're right that we shouldn't judge another species culture just because they are different from us. It's not the bass's fault they eat each other. Most of them were raised in dysfunctional families. Heck, many of them never even know their father, and you know what the lack of a positive male role model will do to a fish. Putting labels like 'cannibal' on another being leads to stereotypes and hatred. Rather than judge them, we should all accept them and love them just as they are.

Now I think I'll go take off my birkenstocks and fix myself a big bowl of muesli with farm-fresh hormone-free milk. Then I'm going down to my vegetable co-op and pick up some nice, organic leafy green vegetables to go with the homemade tofu I made last night...

ROFLMAO!!! ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D ;D

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I'm shocked that BR.comers would call bass "cannibals"

That is a value laden comment, and is completley politically incorrect.

We should refer to them in more descreet terms.  Something more genteel like, "ravenous predators who eat their young"

Has a nice ring to it  

That's still a little harsh, don't you think? To be really politically correct, how about "relative consumers" that doesn't sound so much like THEY EAT THEIR BABIES!!

JMHO

Ronnie

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.  Most of them were raised in dysfunctional families.  Heck, many of them never even know their father, and you know what the lack of a positive male role model will do to a fish.

MESSAGE! ;)

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I saw a picture once of a bass (around 1 pound ? ) that had tried to swallow another bass of identical size.  He had it swallowed about a third of the way.  I doubt this worked out for either bass.

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Thanks, George.  That's good stuff.

I wonder if one fish is always a cannibal (I mean is a "relative consumer") or if it depends on their "mood."  In other words, maybe a particular bass will get along well with the school on one day.  Then the next day he's really hungry and gets aggressive.  So the other bass chase him off.  Once he's behaving himself again he's welcomed back into the school.  Then it's time for another fish to turn aggressive.  

Or is it once a cannibal always a cannibal?  Once he gets a taste of bass he just can't go back (unless his pond has a 12 step program for recovering cannibals).  

Just curious...

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George,

That is the most interesting post I have ever read. I had no idea that loners were the true "cannibal". I can't say, even in retrospect, that I have ever observed such behavior. I have caught bass after hooking up with another species (bluegill, skipjack, crappie,etc.), but never bass on bass. I thought big bass were loners because they just became grumpy, like a bull elephant or because their size simply intimidated smaller fish. I did not connect intimidation with an aggressive predisposition to eat their own kind.

Very interesting.

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Once a cannibal, it seems always a cannibal. We stalk these fish when we can. I had one that was  always  just outside of casting distance and after dropping off the customers I would head back out to try and catch her. It took three weeks to be in the right position, but at 15+ pounds it was well worth the effort. That one sticks in my mind because she would charge through the school we were working every time they would come up on shad.

Another, this one not caught, ripped a 2-pound bass off a customers hook. I think if she, (the customer), had not reared back on the hook she might have got this monster. My guess, (it's only a guess), is that fish was in that 14-15 pound range also.

What is most interesting is how the other fish know. I have watched a school turn and attack when one of these rogues get anywhere near them. Somehow they know.

I don't think all loners are cannibals, but I do know that all cannibals are loners.

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