Sunday, February 27, 2011

Bass (A shoal)

Fact: A freshwater black bass can sense 1-200th of a drop of a substance in about 100 gallons of water.

Here are some more interesting facts about the largemouth bass:

They were originally found only East of the Mississippi River and South of the Great Lakes in the continental United States. But as their popularity grew, so did stocking programs in many states. Largemouth bass are now caught in waters throughout the continental United States and Hawaii, in addition to southern Canada and most of Mexico. The Largemouth has also been introduced in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America.

It is the largest member of a group of closely-related fishes called black bass. Others include the smallmouth, spotted, redeye, Suwannee and Guadalupe. It is distinguished from all the others by a jaw that extends beyond the eye. All black bass, belong to the sunfish family, but differ from sunfish because of their longer bodies.

Biologists have identified two subspecies of largemouth bass: the Florida largemouth and the Northern largemouth. Originally, Florida bass lived only in the waters of Florida, but through excessive stocking efforts, they have expanded their range to include most of the Southern United States, particularly Texas and California. The two species look alike, but the Florida largemouth grows alot larger than the northern subspecies. A trophy Florida bass can weigh from 10 to 12 pounds, and its Northern counterpart will usually range between 6 to 8 pounds.

The world record Largemouth is believed to be a cross between the two subspecies. It weighed in at a monsterous 22 pounds, 4 ounces!! It was caught in June, 1932 at Montgomery Lake in Georgia.

They vary in color, depending upon the type of water they are in. Bass from murky waters are pale, while those from clear waters are darker. They range from a deep green to pale olive across the back, with bellies that are a shade of white or yellow. All bass have a black lateral band that runs from the head to tail. The band becomes more distinct when a fish is exposed to sunlight, but may disappear when a largemouth is in deep or murky water.

They actually have 6 senses: Along with the normal, hearing, sight, smell, taste, and touch they also have the lateral line, which is a series of sensitive nerve endings that extends from just behind the gill to the tail on each side of the fish. The lateral line picks up underwater vibrations as subtle as a swimming baitfish. Experiments have proven that by the use of these lateral lines that the bass can still find food and survive even in the murkiest of waters and also if they are blinded by an eye injury. They hear with internal ears located within the skull. They can see in all directions except directly below or directly behind them. In clear water they can see 30 feet or more, but in most bass waters the visibility is usually between 5 and 10 feet. They can also see objects that are above the water, including you standing in your boat with that brightly colored shirt on!! So remember that in clear water you should always try to wear clothing that will match your background.

In shallow water they can detect color, especially RED. In one study red and white lures caught 3 times as many largemouths as any other color. But in deeper water most colors appear as shades of gray so color selection is of less importance. Their eyes absorb more light than the human eye, enabling the fish to see its food in dim light or total darkness. They will feed at any time of the day or night, but are less inclined to leave cover and search for food under bright conditions. So like most fish they prefer to hang out in the shade. They find better ambush camouflage in shady areas or under low light conditions.

They smell through nostrils, or nares, on their snout. The nares are short passageways through which water is drawn and expelled without entering the throat. They can detect minute amounts of scent in the water, but rely on scent less than catfish, salmon or trout.

They use their sense of touch to determine whether to reject or swallow an object. They will usually hold on to a soft-bodied, artificial worm longer than a metal lure.

Their sense of taste is not as important to the bass as it is to other species, because the bass has very few taste cells in their mouths.

Understanding the largemouth bass feeding and spawning habits will increase your chances of catching them considerably...

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