DESCRIPTION: In Oklahoma, we have what is called the Native Largemouth, which is classified as a sunfish rather than a true bass. In 1969, the Wildlife Department introduced the
Florida strain largemouth (known as the F1..The True Florida Largemouth) in Oklahoma waters. The F1 grows to a larger size, and is more aggressive, this is why we are seeing 14, almost 15lb
Largemouths. After a several years of the F1's being in Oklahoma waters, they have spawned with the native bass. Most of the lakes where F1's were introduced we now have F3's.
The Largemouth is often confused with smallmouth and spotted bass, it is easily distinguishable because the upper jaw extends to or beyond the posterior edge of the eye socket. The largemouth's deeply notched dorsal fin will distinguish it from the spotted bass. Also, the spotting below the lateral band is weakly developed, whereas it is plainly in evidence in the spotted bass.
Are stocked in most streams, ponds and lakes in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Wildlife Department has programs for stocking Largemouths, they restock our major lakes when needed, and their pond-stocking program is one of the best in the nation. Check out their website for more info.
Habits: Spawning activities begin as water temperatures reach 62 to 65 degrees (April and May in Oklahoma.) Characteristic of sunfish, the male scours out a nest, which may be two feet in diameter and six inches deep. Nests are usually within 10 feet of the shoreline. The female is coaxed repeatedly to the nest where 2,000 to 7,000 eggs per pound of body weight are deposited and fertilized at the rate of a few hundred per visit. The male then repels the female and all intruders. He diligently guards and fans the eggs to keep them clean during the five-to-ten day incubation period. After hatching, the fry swim in tight schools disbanding when the small fish reach a length of approximately one inch. Largemouths thrive in a shallow, weedy habitat where food and cover are available. Natural food includes crustaceans, insects, crayfish, frogs and fish.
Oklahoma's most sought after game fish, Largemouths will strike at almost anything that enters their domain. Artificial
lures are commonly used including plugs, spinners, spoons, streamers, and plastic worms in all shapes, weights and colors.
A bass has a very acute sense of site (or vision) and can see very well in just about any watercolor condition as well as being able to see at night. How well can a bass see at night? For example, sometimes on a full moon when it really gets bright from the light of the moon to where you can almost read a newspaper outside, a bass can see that good in the darkest of pitch. How is this possible?
The eyes of a bass have rods and cones, which naturally adjust under different, light conditions (the cones and rods will retract and extend making a natural adjustment for their vision.) Another factor is that a bass doesn't have any eyelids like you or I and because of a bass not having eyelids overlong exposure to the suns rays will cause a bass eventually to develop cataracts and go blind. (One reason why cover is so important to a bass during bright sunny days or (Bluebird Sky conditions!) A bass can see in most all color of water (clear, semi-stained, stained, murky, and even muddy colors) but when the vision of a bass is restricted the other senses will take over.
HEARING & FEELING.....
A bass's hearing and feeling are synonymous with each other, in other words I guess you might say that they hear and feel at the same time. Unlike you or I where we may hold a conversation with another person understanding what is being said, a bass hears and feels the vibration from the different sounds and movements in the water. Now, different sounds will cause different pitches that send vibrations and a bass will get familiar with certain sounds such as pitches and vibrations made from natural living forage, as well being able to feel any displacement of water within a close proximity of a bass caused by even the slightest movement.
I'll give you an example: Let's take a "Carolina Rig" for instance. The Carolina Rig has several different purposes as far as pattern and technique goes but the most crucial part of this rig is the sound! (The TICKER!) That's on the rig. When a Crawfish moves in the water it will cause a clicking sound (vibration) from the cartilage in its tail. This clicking sound sends a vibration through the water and alerts a bass that a natural food source is in the area, the bass moves closer to this sound, then if the presentation of the bait is just right you can probably catch the bass. A bass has a natural radar system built within it and can zero in on just about any movement or sound made within the water. Now, when you work a Carolina Rig in the water, the slightest movement of the ticker made by either: "Glass & Brass Beads", "B-B Chambers", "Two Glass Beads" Etc.... this sound is designed to replicate the movement (vibration) of a natural live Crawfish and will alert a bass that a natural forage bait is in it's area.
As far as noise (or sound) baits go, like (Rat-L-Traps, Cordell Spots, Rattled Spinnerbaits, etc.) Sound travels further in the water than a displacement of water caused by a bait without any sound added to it. The reason noise baits work so well is that a bass can hear them at greater distances and can travel further to investigate the sounds made from these types of baits, then when close enough to the bait, the sight and taste senses will take precedence over the feeling or hearing senses.....
TASTE & SMELL.....
A bass has taste buds outside its mouth as well as inside of it. Now just think a minute!.... that means that a bass can taste an object before it even gets in its mouth. The taste and smell of a bass are once again synonymous with each other and that a bass smells and tastes at the same time. Now, how acute is a bass's sense of taste and or smell?
A few years back a study was conducted of the taste and smell of a bass in a tank of 100 gallons of water. In this study the bass was found to be able to taste (or smell) 1-200th of a drop of a substance in the 100 gallon water tank (what an amazing sense of taste and smell.) Well, what does this have to do with bass? If you want to be a successful angler it means a great deal. Now let's put this in anglers terms okay? If a bass can scent a bait that is not a pleasing or acceptable taste or smell, if it does put it in it's mouth it will spit it right back out within 1 to 3 seconds (not much time to set a hook right?) but, if the bass accepts the taste or smell and puts it in it's mouth it can hold it up to as long as 30 seconds before spitting it out (much more time to set the hook!)
To sum up the taste and smell segment, here are a few hints to help you understand why you may be getting those quick hits and not catching any fish:
1. Always wash your hands before you go fishing.....
2. Fill up your boat with gas and oil the night before you go fishing.....
3. Use natural forage formulas or a formula that has been tested and proven to work.....
4. Try to use an odor free soap or a scent neutralizer.....
Just these steps can make a world of difference when it comes to catching more bass. I have had many
Fisherman who have fished tournaments with me and they see me use these steps above and can't believe the difference it can make.
Understanding a bass is just as important to an angler as having his or her fishing rod in their hand. So many anglers seem to have a rough time not knowing how to fish under different conditions, how to use baits properly, what to buy and what not to buy, how to locate bass, what type of equipment is really necessary, and on and on!
Find that ole successful bass fisherman and pick his brain. It is worth an education in bass angling, especially if one wants to become more successful at it. Most anybody at any given time can catch a bass but they usually can't tell you why!
Waters further south don't necessarily get colder than 39 degrees. In this situation the surface water can be either warmer or slightly colder than the deeper water. Changes in air temperature effect surface waters faster than deeper water. Deep-water temperatures change only as surface water mixes downward due to wind mixing or the slow sinking of colder water, and tend to be more stable. Bass seek the warmest "stable " water they can find within their normal, habitual, instinctive ranges. If slightly warmer surface water is reasonably stable throughout much of the winter, many bass will opt to hold there. If weather changes are large and dramatic, the changes will upset the metabolism of any fish that stay in the unstable water layers, forcing them deeper or to be inactive.
The result is that deep fish are often more predictably active and catch able than shallow fish throughout the winter. But, shallow fish are more likely to react with activity if a long period of stable or warming conditions occurs. In unstable weather, the deep fish are often the high-percentage target for anglers. But, after about four days of consistent and steady warming or steady air temperatures, the shallow fish may be the high percentage target. The number of active fish is more important to angling success than the total number of fish present, which is usually greater in deep water in bass fisheries where water temperatures typically drop into the 40s.
When you think about warming or stable weather, don't focus on the periods with warming afternoons or bright sunshine. Often these conditions also have the coldest nights. Water temperatures respond slowly to air temperatures, and it is the average air temperature over a 24- hour period that determines whether most of the water is warming or cooling. In winter a day or two of sun only briefly heats a few inches below the surface, and cold nights chill it rapidly. The only surface waters that warm significantly on sunny winter days are the very shallow, black-bottom bays, that most of the bass have abandoned as being too unstable in the late fall..
Consider whether the average 24-hour temperature is higher or lower than the water temperature to assess whether or not the weather is cooling or warming the surface layers. If it is averaging the same or higher temperature, shallow options tend to increase.
Oklahoma's Top 20
Ole OkieFish Saying:
When the geese go on the
nest, the mama Largemouth is looking for one too!
Bass Stocking, 2009
Certified Florida Bass
Total Number Stocked:
Receiving Waters: Arbuckle, Arcadia,
Bixhoma, Dripping Springs, Durant Lake, Garrison Creek, Holdenville, Konawa,
Mountain Lake, Murray, Prague, Purcell City Lake, Sardis, & Waurika
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McGee Creek &
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