Oak Orchard River Bass Anglers

February 2018


To me, the most important foundation for any theory of bass behavior is facts.  With that in mind, I thought I would list a few things that I believe to be fact.

Individual bass survival is determined solely by the ability of each individual bass to feed in the most energy efficient manner possible given the existing conditions.

Any individual bass that uses more energy feeding that it gains from feeding cannot survive for long.

Bass biologists agree that individual bass must consume a minimum of 1% of its body weight daily just to stay alive.  This fact refutes the myth that spawning bass do not feed.  If spawning bass do not feed, they cannot survive.  The only time that spawning bass will not feed is when they are actively engaged in the actual reproductive act.

Individual bass know instinctively exactly how much energy they can expend during any feeding opportunity and still maintain energy efficiency.  If they don’t, they don’t live long.  Since bass instincts are honed by life experience, the older a bass is, the better it will be at feeding in an energy efficient manner.

Energy efficiency also involves exploiting easy and favorable feeding opportunities.  Individual bass instinctively exploit any situation that provides an opportunity to maximize energy intake while minimizing energy expenditure.  Again, the older the bass, the better it will be at exploiting these types of situations.

How active an individual bass will be during any feeding situation is determined by the amount of energy that individual bass has available for feeding behavior weighed against the amount of energy required for the physical activity required to feed successfully.

Only individual bass that are inactive lack the level of energy necessary to feed efficiently.  Any bass with an activity level higher than inactive has a sufficient energy level to feed provided the right, energy efficient feeding opportunity arises.  When the activity level of a neutral, resting bass is extremely low, that feeding opportunity has to be nearly perfect.

Too many bass anglers believe that individual bass only feed when actively stalking or hunting prey.  This is simply not true.  Individual bass also feed when they are neutral and resting.  Both active and neutral bass feed, they just feed in different ways.  Active bass feed by aggressively hunting or stalking prey.  Neutral, resting bass feed by ambushing prey.  When inactive, bass do not feed at all.

During feeding season (summer, fall and winter), individual bass activity level determines the position of individual bass.  During spawning season (spring), the phase of the reproductive cycle determines the position of individual bass.  Regardless of the season, it is the position of bass that determines the correct presentation.  

Since all individual bass do not spawn at precisely the same time during spawning season and since all bass are not at the same activity level during feeding season, there will never be a time during spawning season or feeding season when at least a few bass cannot be triggered to strike. 

It is vulnerability of prey that triggers reactive, instinctive strikes from bass.  Predators always select prey that appears to be vulnerable.  Scientific study has proven that vulnerable prey is 10 times more likely to be attacked by predators than is prey that acts normally.

Energy efficient feeding behavior is feeding behavior that gains more energy from feeding than is expended while feeding.  The less energy expended during feeding, the greater the odds of gaining energy by feeding.  The less energy available for feeding, the less energy that can be expended while feeding.  The more vulnerable the prey is, the less energy required to capture it and the greater the odds of gaining energy by capturing it. 

You might want to keep these facts in mind when developing your theory of bass behavior.

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