Thursday, December 12, 2013

Bass Fishing in Alabama

Alabama’s official state fish, the largemouth bass is certainly native to the Alabama Gulf Coast. Alabama bass fishing is serious business to some and entirely relaxing to others. On any level it is fun and on some levels it is quite addictive.

The largemouth bass is sometimes called other names including bigmouth bass, black bass and green trout. But any serious bass fisherman calls his favorite hobby "bass fishing." It is incredibly thrilling to catch a big bass, and even small ones will put up a fight.

This fish is white to green in color. It has dark splotches that run along the flanks and create a horizontal striped effect. Female largemouth bass tend to be bigger than males of the species. This fish has a lifespan of up to 16 years, and they are the largest in the black bass family. The biggest largemouth bass caught and on record was 29.5 inches long and weighed a whopping 25.1 pounds!

One of the really weird facts about largemouth bass is that they have six senses. They can not only see, hear, taste, touch and smell but they can also detect vibrations as well. They can feel the vibrations of their potential dinner and strike at it quickly and effectively.
Largemouth bass have a diversified diet. They will feed on small fish, snails, frogs, juvenile alligators, crayfish, lizards, and snakes. Bass will eat any small fish, but they love bluegills. I have had bass snatch bluegills as I was reeling in the smaller fish. They will even eat small birds, bats and mammals if they can get close enough to strike. Largemouth bass can consume food items that are up to one third of their size! There isn’t much that this big mouthed fish won’t consume.

The fish really put up a good fight when hooked and will jump in the air trying to get away! Plastic worms, spinners, jigs and crankbait are favorite lures used by anglers. Minnows and nightcrawlers work well for the fishermen who prefer to use live bait. Gold shiners are very effective. Largemouth bass are notorious for striking anything that appears to be elusive, though they can be quite finicky when they aren't hungry or agitated. It can be irritating to know that there is big bass lurking nearby and it is not in the mood to hit anything, but that is just another thing that makes bass fishing interesting.
Largemouth bass are freshwater fish, but they can be found in brackish water. On the Alabama Gulf Coast, you might catch them in the same spots as saltwater species like flounder and redfish. During spring and summer, they enjoy the cooler water that has a lot shade. Cloudy, overcast days tend to be best for heavy strikes and catches.

Mornings and early evenings are the best times of day to catch largemouth bass. Any fresh or brackish water in Alabama is likely to have bass in it.

Fishing for largemouth bass does not have to cost an arm and a leg though it is easy to get carried away once you are hooked on the sport. Some bass fishermen spend more on a boat than they spent on their last new car. If you can afford to do that, that’s great. But it is really unnecessary. You can certainly catch largemouth bass with an inexpensive rod and reel.

There aren't many cane pole bass fishermen left, but a shiner, a big hook and a cane pole can catch monster bass. Try that old school method and you might be pleasantly surprised!

The largemouth bass is quite delicious if prepared properly, though most people would think it pales in comparison to other Alabama freshwater fish like bluegills, crappie, and catfish. Over the last several decades most serious bass fishermen practice "catch and release." Actually, I can't remember the last time that I heard of anyone taking a big bass home. It's the fight that gets people hooked on Alabama bass fishing!

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