Underwater Photos: How Bass Eat

It’s impossible to know exactly why a bass decides to eat something. But, through years of research and countless hours spent on the water, bass expert and Mississippi State University professor Hal Schramm has a pretty good idea of how bass eat. By picking Schramm’s brain and taking a look at these underwater photos, we can get a better understanding of how bass turn their prey into calories. The more savvy anglers among us should be able to convert this knowledge into a few more hook ups.

All photos by Eric Engbretson1 of 17

Fast Food
Bass are built for flashes of speed. Just how fast do these fish actually move? Schramm says that in bursts, they can exceed 3 body lengths per second. This means that in 1 second a 20 inch bass could travel 60 inches or about 5 feet.

What does this mean for the angler? If a bass really wants to hit that crankbait you’re ripping over a weedbed, he’ll be able to catch up to it no matter how fast you reel.2 of 17

2 Ways to Eat
Both largemouth and smallmouth bass feed in two ways: ambushing and chasing. Ambushing consists of a bass concealing himself in cover and then waiting for prey to swim by. Chasing bass cruise open water and run down their prey.3 of 17

Trapping Prey
When bass aren’t able to conceal themselves to ambush their prey, the next best option is to try to trap them. This is exactly what surface feeding is about. Bass try to trap their prey at the top of the water column, cutting the three dimensional world to two, and only offering a horizontal escape.4 of 17

Mouth Like a Vacuum
Bass create suction with their mouths when they open up to devour prey. By dropping their lower jaw and flaring their gills, bass are able to create a vacuum that draws in prey.

“It’s like sucking something up in a shop vac,” Schramm says. This suction mechanism gives bass a little bit of leeway in their strikes. If they slightly miss their prey on the strike, there’s still a good chance they’ll be able to suck in that unlucky shad or bluegill.5 of 17

According to Schramm, research has proven that bass eat prey fish headfirst. If they’re not able to eat their prey headfirst, they might grab their quarry, smash it, spit it out and then ingest it headfirst.

This means that you shouldn’t be afraid to fish that 10-inch worm with a single hook. When a bass hits it, he’s going to start with the head.

Source : .outdoorlife

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