Florida Largemouth Bass Reproduction
Florida largemouth bass spawn in shallow bays in spring when the water temperatures reach 60F.
The time of year can vary from location to location with northern populations spawning later in the spring. It’s not uncommon for them to begin spawning as early as December, although January is most common. In the north spawning won’t happen until the ice is clear of the waterways.
Females can lay up to a million eggs during each spawn in a shallow depression. The nest is created by the male which doesn’t eat during this time.
- They prefer to nest in quieter, more vegetated water than the black bass, but will use any substrate besides soft mud, including submerged logs.
The female will lay as many as 43,000 eggs and once she has deposited the eggs in the nest, she’s chased away by the male and never returns again. Adult Florida largemouth bass spend very little time together during the mating period.
The male takes charge of building the nest in water that’s between 1 and 8 feet deep and will then guard the eggs. After the fry hatch, which takes 5 to 10 days, the male spends it’s time driving away any predators that come too close to the nest site. The male eats very little during this time.
While he will strike at a lure or bait during this time, he usually does this out of a sense of defending his territory and young rather than hunger.
The fry remain in a group for several days after hatching. The schools offer them protection and they stay in these groups until they reach about 2 inches (5 centimetres) in length. They then disperse and begin to feed on plankton and insect larvae.
The Juvenile Florida Largemouth eat mostly small baitfish like minnows or even other small largemouth fry, scuds and insects. Like the adults, they’ll focus on the prey that’s most common for a particular season.
Except for humans, the top predators in the aquatic ecosystem are adult largemouth bass.
Fry feed primarily on zooplankton and insect larvae. At about 2 inches in length they become active predators. Adults feed almost exclusively on other fish and large invertebrates such as crayfish. Larger fish prey on smaller bass.
Immature largemouth bass may tend to congregate in schools, but adults are usually solitary only meeting up to feed. It’s not uncommon for adult bass to feed on younger Florida Largemough bass or even those that are a year old.Sometimes several bass will gather in a very small area, but they don’t interact.
Largemouth bass hide among plants, roots or limbs to strike their prey.