The bass ranks among the most popular freshwater fish in the United States. There are several species in the black bass family but largemouth, smallmouth and spotted bass attract the most attention especially by the half a million members of B.A.S.S., the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society.
But what if there weren’t any bass? What fish would bass anglers be chasing then?
With its proportionally large mouth and aggressiveness, the green sunfish might be a candidate, but they rarely grow larger than 10 inches.
The toothy northern pike grow much larger, reaching over 20 pounds, but cannot tolerate the warm water of the south.
Striped bass are very popular too, but even though this species is in a different family it is still rather bass-like, and also has a limited range.
I posed this question to some of the pros.
Bill Lowen would be fishing for “anything that pulls.” That rules out crappie or the walleye, which pull “like a wet log.” Depending on the tournament location, the freshwater drum probably is his most common accidental catch. So maybe Bill Lowen would do well in a “Drummaster” tournament.
With a big grin, Stephen Browning simply said “there is no other fish.”
Tournaments and derbies are held for other species but they typically are targeted using one or two methods such as small jigs (crappie), trolling (walleye), or bait (catfish). Bass can be caught using just about anything in your tackle box and can be found in every state in a wide range of depths and conditions.
Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad living in Pennsylvania. Visit him at www.justkeepreeling.com.