Are Bass Bottom Feeders?

Are Bass Bottom Feeders

Most fishes are known for their water column, in which they live and feed. For example, catfishes are mainly dependent on the food available only at the bottom of the water e.g. detritus. Thereby, they fall in the category of “Bottom-feeders.” But, what about bass? Are bass bottom feeders?

On the other hand, fishes like shad mostly eat small fish, plankton, and things like insects which are primarily available on the water’s surface, hence they are known as “Top-feeders.” So according to this categorization, the main question that most anglers usually ask is, where should I throw my bait for catching fish? Should it go on the top of the water or at the bottom? To fish for all types of fish species including bass, my answer is “BOTH.”

It may surprise you that bass does not fall in any of the top/bottom categorizations because they feed both at the top and at the bottom. So they are both top/bottom feeders. So, an angler should fish at all water surface levels; top, middle, and bottom to efficiently catch bass.

But how do you know it? Either they are feeding at the top or the bottom? Well, that’s the right question. Stick to this article to get a clear notion about bass, and their feeding habits.

Are Bass Bottom Feeders?

As I told you before, basses are both top and bottom feeders. Bass usually feed on the bottom when they tend to rely on food like crustaceans, particularly their top-favorite crawdad. That is the reason you may find several lures shaped like crayfish, for instance, Zoom ultra vibe Speed craw and several other lures that imitate crawdad and any plastic lure shaped in craw-style.

Other than that, there are also other options that bass can for at the water bottom like worms, leeches, and several other species that are eye-catching meals for the bass fish. If you want to imitate these species you should go for ribbon tail grubs, worms, and other tube baits.

Are Bass Bottom Feeders

Also, at times the baitfish also goes to the water bottom and can be an enticing meal for the bass. Not much of the artificial lures can imitate that but you can still go for a rig in lakes and ponds that can help you to catch bass.

What Is Considered A Bottom Feeder?

All those creatures that dwell on the water’s bottom surface whether it be freshwater or saltwater are called bottom feeders. The definition is not restricted to fishes only, it also includes other creatures as well.

There are several food options that we eat on a daily basis like cod, shrimps, halibut, sole, scallops, and also bass are all bottom feeders and not all of them are detritivores.

Most of the bottom feeders derive their nutrition from algae and other plantations in the water. In the sea or ocean, most of the bottom eaters are jellyfish and squid which prevents them from propelling carbon dioxide in the environment. Bottom feeders are great contributors to removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. However, not all of them are considered for food. We have also written about How To Catch Crappie Fish?

When Do Bass Fishing At The Bottom?

You should first know about the species and things available at the water bottom to know if bass would eat them. Most of the lakes and ponds do have worms, leeches, and crayfish that can attract bass to the water’s bottom but not all of them are equipped with such lures. So, if you are going to fish on a pond or a lake with no crawdad, do not expect to catch a lot of fish.

Therefore, it is important to know about the availability of creatures available at the bottom, only then you can be sure of the availability of the bass fish at the bottom. For that, you first have to understand what bottom creatures are dwelling in the river and lake at a certain time of the year.

For example, in the winter most worms are dead so therefore do not expect to catch bass via worms in winter.

However, in the winter crawdads are alive and due to the lower temperatures they find it difficult to move much in the water, hence they are an easy and effective catch for bass. Hence in the winters, crawdads are very effective lures to catch bass fish. Fish Finders can help you in catching bass more easily.

Are All Bass Bottom Feeders?

Though all types of bass mostly spend their lives in the middle of the water column, to your surprise bass do feed at the bottom and the top column as well. If you are fishing bass and having no success until now, that is mainly because you are fishing at the wrong depth.

Depending upon the conditions of water, types of bait available, and time of the year all bass species can feed at the bottom of the water. Therefore, it is essential to understand all of these factors in order to come back with a lot of bass fish.

In winter times of the year, there are certain places where the bass is primarily found at the bottom of the water. As the temperature falls, water begins to get cold, and in such conditions bass usually hide under boulders, timers, and weeds.

They hide in such areas because it is easy to forage insects, crustaceans, worms, and other varieties of food sources. As bass feeding methodology is mainly suction that gives them an edge to enjoy several species as they have more proclivity which other species do not have.

What Kind Of Bait Do Bass Like?

Considering what bass usually eat and if you are an angler who works well with live bait then you can definitely go for shad, minnows, shinners, and most particularly crawfish. They work very efficiently as lures and bait.

Because most of the bass species are carnivores, particularly large-mouth bass. Therefore you should try to mimic the bait accordingly that must look like their actual prey. Out of all fishes, bass species are more aggressive and they tend to bite the bait in a more aggressive manner.

If you closely look at most of their baits they do not primarily imitate their actual prey but they still bite it. There are some key points to attract bass fish, for instance using flashy lures.
Picking out the right lure or bait for bass fish can get frustrating at times. As there are so many lures and baits available it is hard to pick one.

Even if you have already done fishing for bass you still question yourself whether you are doing it for the right bait or not. With all the overwhelming social media and YouTube videos, you may question what are these influencers using that you are missing. Well some of the most promising baits for bass include:

  1. Stick Bait
  2. Curly Tail Grub
  3. Spinnerbait
  4. Square bill Crankbait
  5. Skirtless bass Jig
  6. Lipless crankbait
  7. Finesse worm
  8. Tube bait
  9. Swimbait
  10. Jerk bait
  11. Topwater frog

Which Fish Is Bottom Feeder?

By its literary definition, bottom feeders are those fish species that feed on the bottom of the water. Such species are present in both types of water; saltwater and freshwater. Bottom feeder fishes found in freshwater include catfish, bass, carp, etc. On the other hand bottom feeders in the saltwater are halibut, eel, cod, rays, grouper, snapper, flounder, etc.

Bottom feeders do not only include species of fish but they also include carbs, snails, shellfish, starfish, and several other aquatic creatures that also fall in the category of bottom feeders.

However, when we specifically talk about fish which are bottom feeders, they can be exclusive because they eat only at the bottom. For example, catfish primarily feed on the bottom of any river or lake but also feed on other water columns too.

Other fish species that are included in the bottom-feeders category are detritivores because they rely on the dead organic material of the river like debris and detritus.

Do Bass Feed Up Or Down?

Almost all types of bass fishes feed themselves in two ways:

  • Ambushing
  • Chasing

In ambushing, the bass fish camouflages or cover themselves under a cover and then silently wait for their prey to swim by. On the other hand, in the chasing methodology the bass fish cruise in open water and swim down on their prey.

When there are not enough opportunities for the bass to go for ambushing and chasing strategy, the next best available choice is “trapping.” That is when one must ask about surface feeding. Bass efficiently traps their prey in the upper or topwater column that cuts the three-dimensional water world, giving the prey only horizontal escape.

Bass are designed by nature to use a suction method for feeding, so they open their mouths to devour their delicious prey. Bass is capable of creating a vacuum in their mouths by opening their lower jaw and by swelling their gills, which creates a vacuum inside their mouths that draws the prey in.

The phenomenon is the same as the vacuum cleaner. That vacuum creation gives them an edge because even if their suction misses the target they still manage to suck in some shad and bluegills.

Why Are Bottom Feeders Bad For You?

Consuming some bottom feeder species may raise a slight health concern. Why? Because bottom feeders like catfish, bass, carp, buffalo fish, drum, and sturgeon are more prone to have high amounts of toxic chemicals like PCBs in them. They have these chemicals in them because they prey upon creatures available at the bottom mostly in the mud, and such chemicals are highly concentrated in mud.

However, not all of the bottom feeders fall in the above category. Just like other misconceptions that modern society has implanted in our brains, these bottom-feeders actually deserve much more appreciation because of their health effects.

Most of the fish meat which is now recommended by science as healthy foods are actually bottom feeders like sardines, anchovies, squid, lobster, octopus, shrimps, and shellfish. Not only that, these fish options are considered the healthiest options all over the world.

What Size Hook For Sea Bass?

If you are someone who is accustomed to fishing near the shore along with the wrecks, then you must have been using small-sized hooks that are best for small fish weighing around one to two pounds.

However, moving further towards the sea you must amp up your game, and increase your hook size to 3/0 or 4/0 for heavy fishes and bass. These bigger hooks can accommodate bass fishes weighing around 2 lbs. They are ideal when you are specifically targeting sea bass.


There are certain misconceptions about the bottom feeders, particularly about the bass. I hope that I have shed light upon all of your concerns, and hoping now you know better about bottom feeders. There are hundreds of species of bottom feeders, and they can be found in any lake, ocean, and river. Bottom feeders are adventurous and tasty to eat, and they play a vital role in maintaining our ecosystem.

Ricki Cooper

I have been fishing for 11 years. I believe in the famous saying "If fishing is interfering with your business, give up your business".

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