How the Covid-19 pandemic will affect bass fishing this season

Elijah Baffes

As fewer people are out and on the water fishing for potentially spawning bass, the number of bass fingerlings has the potential to increase.

As a student and member of the BHS Fishing team, I have felt the effects of this global pandemic with the rest of the school year being called off, including all of the extracurricular activities. 

As devastating as this viral outbreak is to everyone, there are a couple of good things that will come out of it. The popular sport fish, the largemouth bass, a freshwater species, have excited anglers of all trades for many years. These fish spawn in the spring. The whole process can take as little as three weeks. The length of the spawning period is determined by the water temperature. 

Spring is also the spawning period for many other fish such as sunfish, shad, and bluegill, all of which bass prey upon. During winter all of these species slow down to conserve as much energy and heat as possible. The cold waters offer less prey for all of these species. When the water warms all of the fish spring to life and begin the spawning season. 

There are a few stages of this time of activity. The first stage includes hunting and fighting for dominance, the second stage is the mating of all these fish, and the third stage is the bending and defending. The third stage is what is going to be affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. In the third stage after the male and female bass mate, the females return to deeper water while the males defend the bed where the eggs are laid. These bass are extremely aggressive and attack anything they deem a threat. To an angler, this is seen as an opportunity to have a successful outing as the fish will attack almost anything. 

This type of fishing has a negative side. While the male bass who was protecting the bass bed is pulled away from it, the smaller fish that bass normally prey on can swoop in and completely decimate the eggs. According to fishing magazine BassMaster, “The male bass will grab the bait that is presented to him, when he leaves the bluegill surround the bed and feast, causing a larger feeding frenzy.” 

Now this spring, with the various stay at home orders in many states, there are fewer boats out on lakes and rivers. That ultimately leads to less human interference to the spawning bass. With those bass spending more time on the beds than on the deck, there is a large potential for more bass in these coming seasons.

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