Last week’s blog about watching dozens of largemouth bass jump high in the air after hovering dragonflies was written more for the “cool to see” factor than something of surprise.
I’m never surprised at what ol’ bucketmouth will try to eat. Theirs isn’t a life of just bluegill, crawdad and frog dinners.
Basically if it’s moving and will fit in its mouth it’s a potential dinner.
Just out of college I agreed to help an uncle with a pond that was way overloaded with bass from 11-13 inches. My first trip I kept ten and found tiny painted turtles in the bellies of eight of those fish.
Later that same summer Kathy caught a similar bass with a huge belly. “Full of eggs?” she asked. Hardly, the spawn had passed two months earlier. At home I pulled a water snake several inches longer than the bass from the belly of the fish.
Last summer some friends caught a bass that had the tail end of a garter snake still visible while the bass’ belly was obviously full.
Through the years I’ve developed a habitat of taking a peak inside the mouth of every largemouth, smallmouth or spotted bass I handle. In the Flint HIlls we often see the pinchers of crawdads. In ponds it’s often the tail of bluegill. My dad once found the 1/2 pound of a 6 1/2 pound bass he caught was a nice crappie in the fish’s throat.
My favorite find, though, was down in the phosphate pits of northern Florida. Sticking from the throat of a 7-pound bass were the feet of some kind of bird. Judging from the size of the feet it was a bird the size of a robin.
I made no real attempt to learn the bird’s species. Instead I slipped the big bass back into the water and let him finish his lunch.