The Bass Lateral Line

Bass Lateral Line

Science time, lets talk through cool stuff that will actually help you catch more fish; the bass lateral line. This is how bass ‘hear’ you walking around, talking, and yelling obscenities when your line breaks.

What is it?
The lateral line, first discovered by scientists in the 1960’s, is a system of sensory organs in a fish that detect pressure and vibration. This provides a fish with spacial awareness and allows it to navigate through the water while hunting for prey and avoiding predators. It can detect movement in the water up to quite a far distance away by acting as an accelerator; detecting changes in the flow of water. Unfortunately this gives bass a keen insight into anything occurring around them that seems out of place.

Largemouth Lateral Line

Where is it?
There are two parts of the lateral line system. The first is located one the head and face of the bass. This wraps around the eye, down to the mouth, and along the gill cover to the top of the head. The second system runs along either side of the upper part of the fish from the eye to the end of the tail. There are pores along these scales that allow water to flow freely and pick up information.

Combined with vision, smell, and a lateral line, bass have a lot of different senses at their disposal to avoid anglers, which is why there is a thriving market of lures and baits to fool them. One lure in particular that appeals to this lateral line is a spinnerbait or buzzbait. The vibrations are designed to mimic a wounded minnow which are picked up and bring the bass in to investigate. They would especially use this sense at night to pick up on vibrations and water movement being created by prey. Hence the school of thought to use a bait that moves a lot of water for night fishing. Next time you catch a bass take a closer look and see if you can find the line.

Smallmouth Lateral Lines