What do Bass Eat? Always a Good Thing to Know!

Bass are freshwater fish that come in many different types. Largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass are the most favorable to many anglers. To catch a specific bass, especially big ones, an angler needs to recognize and distinguish what bass eat. Therefore, he or she will be able to bait them with the perfect lure. Bass’s favorite food is so diverse that they eat most of what swim toward their mouths. But most importantly, they eat what do not eat them!

The bass will feed all fish smaller than its size. However, depending on the characteristics of the living environment, the food source of each type of bass is different. If you can identify these differences, you will not have to go home without at least a big bass as a trophy. Since the bass feed on their size, the article below will focus on the eating habits of big and small bass.

How to determine what do bass eat

Determining the favorite food of the bass does not just come from the observation and experiences. It also comes from the research of scientists on the sediment in the stomach of the fish. They only study a few bass to see what they eat. By that, they can infer the favorite food of a whole population of bass living in the same area. Also, just by studying the quality of food in some fish’ stomach, you will also know the health of all.

What does small bass eat


These small ones are usually only 2 inches long. Due to their small size, they are not active predators. Instead, small bass often takes zooplankton, insect larvae, and crustaceans as their favorite food. When a bass grows longer than two inches, they will switch to eating insects and bigger things.


Image source: Outdoor Life


Of course, even amateur anglers who do not know what do bass eat will still choose insects as perfect baits. According to biologists, insects are an important food source for bass, especially those are growing in the adult stage.

As mentioned above, when the baby bass gets longer than 2 inches they will start eating insects like bugs, worm, ants, and mosquitoes …

If the water areas do not have enough inspect to feed them, they will not be able to grow too big bass. Fortunately for them, most of the ponds and lakes have a variety of insects in a great amount. Both underwater and ground insects are abundant to provide nutrients for bass development.

What does big bass eat

When the bass reaches 8 inches in length, they will change the diet from insects to larger prey like fish, shrimp, and frogs.


In the sunfish family, bluegill is the favorite food of the bass especially the big ones. While the bass likes to eat smaller things, it still enjoys a decent meal with some big fish.

An adult bluegill can be up to 12 inches long. Although the skin of the bluegill is covered with prickles, they are somehow favorite food bass. For this reason, bluegill is the first choice for anglers when it comes to choosing bait to large bass.

Small animals live near the shore

Small animals live near the shore

Image source: Louisiana Sportsman

Like many other freshwaters and brackish water fish, bass likes to eat near shore. As a result, its food also includes the small animals they find there.

For examples, these animal includes shrimp, prawn, crawfish, frogs, toads, eels or even small snakes.

Herring and shad

If you want to know what do bass eat, you must know about these species. These are important fish food in many regions.

In particular, threadfin shad is the most favorite type of big bass. This herring fish lives in the tropics, but you cannot find them that easily.

Threadfin shad only appear in places where plankton lives. It is a prior requirement. The easiest places to find them are the ponds and lakes where water is light brown or light green. These colors are identifying characteristics of the living habitat of plankton.

Smaller bass

It is odd, but it is true. In some cases, bass can be very aggressive at times when they are willing to eat its same kind. After all, it is still a survival game. An animal will do whatever it takes to live in a harsh environment, even eating its kind.

What bass do not eat

It sounds like something out of the topic of this article. However, knowing what bass do not will increase your chances of catching a big one successfully. Since you know what to avoid when baiting, you will not go home with disappointment.

In general, bass will eat anything except aquatic plant. Although the scientists found the plants in the stomach of the bass, they did not eat it on purpose. Since most of the animals that bass eat often live around the underwater plants thus making these are their feeding areas. Therefore, they swallow both the plants and the preys during the hunt.

To sum up, after researching on what do bass eat, you will find this an opportunistic predatory fish. In other words, the bass likes to watch the food that swims toward them and opens their mouth. Therefore, their food is much diversified hence making it a good thing for bass anglers to choose bait. However, you do not always have to prepare the natural prey to attract bass because sometimes it can take too much time and effort. Because bass will eat anything, you do not need to put together something too special. Many professional anglers use artificial baits and still catch some big ones.