Largemouth Bass Hook Wounds

Largemouth Bass Hook Wounds

From the Field—Anglers often catch fish and observe what appear to be hook wounds on their mouths, presumably due to being previously caught. Questions concerning hook wounds include how long they last, how easily they’re detected, and if they can be used as an index of angling pressure? To answer these questions, we angled largemouth bass from a pond using a crankbait with two treble hooks and a soft-plastic worm with a single hook.* After capture, bass were held for six days to examine hook-wound detection and healing rates.

Hook wounds were detected in 100 percent of angled bass on the day of angling and were still observed on greater than 90 percent of bass seven days after capture. In May, 27 percent of hook wounds were healed within six days, but only 12 percent were healed within six days during July. No differences in hook-wound detection or healing rates were found for bass caught on crankbaits versus plastic worms.

Next, we visited 16 largemouth bass tournaments from April to October to determine the proportion of tournament fish displaying hook wounds. As many as 16 percent of tournament-caught fish did not have observable hook wounds. For those that did, hook wounds were most commonly on the roof of the mouth (52 percent), followed by the left jaw (26 percent) and right jaw (23 percent). Four percent of bass observed had broken jaws. Hook-wound detection did not vary among months and was not related to bass size.

Finally, we conducted monthly electrofishing to estimate the proportion of the total bass population with observable hook wounds. An average of 19 percent of bass captured with electrofishing displayed hook wounds, with the highest percentage of fish with wounds in August and the lowest percentage in April. The proportion of bass with hook wounds was positively related to the number of bass brought into tournaments.


Our study suggests hook wounds in largemouth bass are easily detected and last beyond one week post-angling. Thus, they have the possibility to be used as a short-term indicator of capture. Marks sustained during angling, such as hook wounds, may provide fishery managers with an easy and inexpensive way to estimate catch-and-release angling pressure on largemouth bass populations.


Savannah Fernholz, Andrea Sylvia, and Dr. Michael Weber

*Fernholz, S., A. Sylvia, and M. J. Weber. 2018. Hook wound longevity and use as an indicator of largemouth bass catch-and-release angling pressure. N. Am. J. Fish. Mgmt. 38:759-768.

Get Your Fish On.

Plan your next fishing and boating adventure here.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Lure Lock Tackle Cases: No-Spill, No-Scent

Glenn Walker talks us through the soy-based technology that makes Lure Lock cases spill-proof and scent-proof. With Game & Fish Editorial Director Adam Heggenstaller at ICAST 2019 in Orlando.

Frigid Water Smallmouths

Frigid Water Smallmouths

Doug Stange swims jigs with precision for frigid-water smallmouths.

Softbaits for Smallmouths

Softbaits for Smallmouths

Doug Stange uses softbaits from Berkley to entice finicky smallmouth bass.

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

13 Fishing Omen Black Baitcasting Rod

Multiple time FLW Costa winner Jessi Mizell is no stranger to catching big Florida bass on a popping frog. As he tells OSG's Lynn Burkhead, with the new 13 Fishing Omen Black baitcasting rod, the job just got easier.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven riggings. Catfish

All About Catfish

Rob Neumann

Everything you need to know about popular catfish species and how to catch them on proven...

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north or south, will help you pinpoint their predictable locations year after year. 

Walleyes spawn in spring, but spring may arrive in February in Mississippi, March in Walleye

Understanding Spring Walleye Migrations

Gord Pyzer - June 02, 2018

'Walleyes spawn in spring and understanding spring walleye migrations, whether you live north...

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you can Other Fish

Must-Have Striped Bass Tackle

Rick Bach - May 04, 2017

It was an August evening and I was wading the flats in Brewster, MA with my cousin. Here you...

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and other Catfish

Catfish Pole Rigs

Richard Peterson with In-Fisherman - April 28, 2016

Pole lines illustrate the paradox of catfishing. At a time when excellent rods, reels, and...

See More Trending Articles

More Bass

Get great tips on catching more bass with swim baits in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight.

Cover Water, Locate Hungry Bass with Swim Baits

Game & Fish Digital Staff - March 10, 2020

Get great tips on catching more bass with swim baits in this episode of Beyond the Bait...

They're easy to rig and they flat-out catch bass, says host Todd A. Kuhn in this episode of Beyond the Bait Powered by Streamlight.

Stay in the Bass Strike Zone with Texas & Carolina Rigs

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 25, 2020

They're easy to rig and they flat-out catch bass, says host Todd A. Kuhn in this episode of...

What can hook wounds in bass tell us? Bass

Largemouth Bass Hook Wounds

Savannah Fernholz, Andrea Sylvia, and Dr. Michael Weber - December 17, 2019

What can hook wounds in bass tell us?

Dr. Todd Kuhn discusses best practices on how to select and use soft-plastic baits for increased bass fishing success in this debut video of Beyond the Bait, Powered by Streamlight.

How to Select and Use Soft Plastics for Bass

Game & Fish Digital Staff - February 11, 2020

Dr. Todd Kuhn discusses best practices on how to select and use soft-plastic baits for...

See More Bass

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Digital Now Included!

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW THIS MONTH'S ISSUE

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.