SLOW MOVING BIG BAITS – Why they work!
It is my contention that a mature Largemouth will consume the most calories per calorie expended. In other words,, the wiser, heavier Largemouth, consumes the largest, fattest, high-calorie meal while burning the least amount of calories.
1. Fatty (high-calorie) meal
2. Average large portion
3. Expending little energy to feed
So we have three questions.
1. What fatty meal is readily available?
2. What is the largest size of that readily available meal?
3. How do Bass expend the minimum energy catching that meal?
For the west we know the answer to the first question. The evidence is undeniable. Stocked Rainbow Trout is the answer. It is questions two and three that need some thought.
How big is big to a Largemouth?
Some studies show that a Largemouth can safely eat 1/3 of its body weight in one gulp. I witnessed this one year at The Fred Hall Show. A regular feature of the show is “The Bass Bin”. A giant aquarium stocked with local Bass by The Department of Fish and Game. Another attraction at the show is the Trout pond for kids. (A dough-boy pool full of hatchery Trout.) It was during the Ventura Show, that a colorful guy that goes by the name of “Crazy Rick”, decided that since it was the last day of the show that the Bass, being from Lake Casitas and used to a fatty meal, were probably hungry. Since the Trout that were left were a little peaked why not put them to good use.
I was standing near the Bass Bin, when I heard the comotion. I turned just in time to see “Crazy Rick” breaking through the crowd like an N.F.L. fullback busting through the line. He was running for open field, only the football he was carrying was a scoop-net full of Trout. As soon as “Crazy Legs Rick” hit the end-zone and spiked the Trout in the bin, the feeding frenzy began.
There were a handful of Bass over 10 lbs. another half-dozen 4-9 pounders and another dozen weighing 2-3 lbs. We expected to see the bigger Bass eat Trout, but what was amazing was to watch the 2 and 3 lb. Bass eat 9 – 10″ Trout. They would swim along side the Trout and suddenly grab the Trout by the back of the head or throat, with the tail hanging to either side. For several minutes they swam around the bin holding the Trout in this manner. In time, somehow without letting go, they turned the Trout headfirst and started creeping it down their throat a little at a time. The bigger fish inhaled a few Trout right away and were kicking back while the little guys swam for hours with a Trout tail hanging out of their mouth. As time went on the Trout tail slowly disappeared.
I had caught 2 and 3 lb. Bass before on the big baits but, thought that in the act of being mean they accidentally hooked themselves. After the “Crazy Rick” episode I really gave the “eating 1/3 of its body weight” study a serious thought. I’m not sure if I believe that a three pound Bass can eat a 1 pound Blue Gill but, I know it will eat a 1 pound Trout.
So that brings us back to the question, how big is a big meal? In the world of “The Dapartment of Fish and Game Trout Stocking Program”, 8-13″ is about as big as readily available gets. A Bass 12 lbs. or more will be looking for several of these in one feeding session
The final factor, expending as little energy as possible catching it’s meal.
I’ve spoke to as many fisherman that I know of that have caught fish over 17 lbs. and there is one common thread that runs through most accounts. They were fishing slow. Keep in mind that relatively speaking, these Bass are morbidly obese.* The last thing they want to do is get in a swimming match with a one pound Trout. I assume they would prefer to ambush an unsuspecting slow-swimming, or feeding Trout. This would get the most calories for the least calories expended.
The 8″ was made to be fished as slow as possible and designed with this theory in mind.
1. Rainbow Trout (fatty, high-calorie)
2. 8″ (large portion)
3. Slow moving (little energy expended)
**I am referring to the morbidly obese, not the healthy, athletic, 8 – 10 lb Bass that we commonly see chasing Trout on the surface**