Understanding Bass Behavior – Truths & Myths

A good working knowledge of Bass behavior is necessary to find and land fish. All successful bass anglers have acquired an adequate understanding of bass behavior.

It helps to know why Bass do certain things. But, the important thing to remember is what they do and when you can expect them to do it.

Before accepting anything you hear or read as truth or fact you should always weigh it against your own personal experiences on the water.

So with that being said, let’s get into Bass behavior – truths and myths.

Truth – Water temperatures that Bass prefer

Water preferences are a little dubious because Bass can be found and caught in a wide range of water temperatures. They don’t necessarily seek a specific temperature. Think of it more in terms of what water temperatures they can tolerate.

Their primary concern is finding food. They will tolerate warmer or colder water (within reason) as necessary to hunt and find food. This is the main reason they move or cruise. Otherwise they are only motivated to move due to temperature if it reaches their tolerance level .

Truth – When Bass feed

In cold water it takes longer for Bass to digest their food. In real cold water, say 45 degrees it can take up to two weeks to digest food. In contrast to that a Bass can digest the same amount of food in 24 hours in water temperatures of the mid 70’s.

A Bass has no mechanism to determine when they are full. They feed more out of opportunity. If the food source is plentiful they will gorge themselves. However, this is not normally the case.

There are situations that determine when they are likely to feed. The low light conditions of dawn and dusk seem to trigger feeding. Low light conditions are more favorable for hunting because it’s more difficult for their prey to sense their presence. Bass will also feed out of opportunity anytime during the day or night if the situation presents itself. They are triggered to feed anytime they are most likely to be successful.

Truth –  A Drop In Barometric Pressure Improves Fishing

First it’s important to understand that baitfish feed on plankton and Bass feed on baitfish. So anything that effects the plankton effects baitfish feeding and thus effects Bass feeding.

When the barometric pressure rises the plankton seek cover and the bite subsequently turns off. When the barometric pressure drops the plankton move out and up in the water column. This transition draws the baitfish and triggers them to start feeding. Consequently when the baitfish are drawn out to feed the Bass are triggered to feed on the baitfish. This is why the bite turns on during a drop in barometric pressure.

Myth – Bass Don’t bite when there’s a north or west wind.

This is a complete myth. There are situations when a north or west wind will effect the bite. However, it could effect it in a positive or negative way. It depends more on the location and situation than the direction of the wind itself.

Myth – Bass are hard to catch because they are so smart

Bass do what they do because of their instincts. They are not hard to catch because they are smart. They can become more difficult to catch due to more fishing pressure and a general disturbance to their habitat from boating activity.

When things quiet down or there isn’t much fishing pressure they will return to normal behavior.

Myth – A drastic change in weather drives the Bass out.

There is no truth to this at all. If the Bass move out to another location it’s more because of a lack of forage. For the most part Bass tend to stay within a home range unless they are spawning. When they do move they normally don’t go very far. As long as there is a food source they will stay and hunt within their home territory.

Myth – Bass Go Dormant In Cold Water

This is a misconception Bass never go dormant. They do however, become more sedentary and their metabolism slows down. They do not need to feed as often because it takes much longer to digest their food. You will hear anglers using the word dormant when they actually mean sedentary. It’s merely a technicality in their choice of words.

Tight lines & mega strikes,
Randy