Crawfish: Red Bull for Bass

To catch bass consistently and throughout the year it is essential to know as much about the fish, its habits, likes and dislikes.

One look at a largemouth bass and it becomes evident that it has a mouth to accommodate almost anything that it can catch. There are tales of bass eating everything from baby ducks to snakes and anything that comes close enough to engulf.

More typically the majority of a bass’ diet is comprised of minnows, small gamefish and the favorite creature in the largemouth lunch box—crawfish.

Crawfish: High-Energy Fish Food

For every five pounds of crawfish bass eats it gains a pound. This makes the “crawdad” the Red Bull for bass. A high-energy food source, bass will gorge themselves on craws at every opportunity. Studies show they consume more shad and forage fish, but only because they are more readily available and can be found year round.

Crawfish “bury up” in the winter months and emerge when water warms in the spring. Along with this winter lay-off is a seasonal color change. Crawdads, mudbugs, crawfish, or whatever they are regionally called, range in color and shade. Most often they appear to be a deep moss green, with touches of brown or a muted orange. Depending on location, water temperature and a few other factors, they can take on a red, blue or black hue.

Best Baits to Imitate Crawfish

The best baits to imitate crawfish are jigs with a craw trailer matching color and size. More important is the ability of the angler to make the bait move like a craw. 

Crawfish, when threatened, take a defensive posture, tail down claws up, then  swim backwards in two or three short bursts. When crawling around the bottom they walk forward in a bottom hugging fashion.

The fall of the jig is determined by the weight of the jig, the size of the trailer and the size of the line. Light jig, large trailer, heavy (large diameter line) slows the fall, just the opposite for a fast fall or fishing heavy cover.

For every five pounds of crawfish a bass eats it gains a pound. High-energy treat for bass (Red Bull for bass) and a blessing for bass anglers. Use a stout rod, concentrate and make your lure look lifelike. Your reward will come in the form of bass seeking their favorite high-energy meal.

More Crustacean Information

  • Crawfish in the U.S. grows to 3-4 inches, but there is a species in Australia that grow to 15.5 inches and weigh more than 8 pounds!
  • The earliest crawfish fossil is 30 million years old.
  • Every continent in the world except Antarctica and Africa have a species of crawfish.
  • They change colors seasonally.
  • The eyes of crayfish can move independently.
  • They eat larvae, snails, plant materials, small fish, carrion. 
  • The molting time of crawfish occurs in summer (soft shell). Crawfish eat their old skeleton. In some instances, if crawfish lose a claw or leg, they will regrow it again. This is called regeneration (lizard, salamander tails are capable of doing the same thing).
  • The presence of crawfish on the water is a sign the water in that environment is clean.
  • 350 species of the 500 live in the USA.
  • Many outdoor creatures eat crawfish, among them are fish, aquatic birds, and raccoons.
  • A little trick is to find an inflowing creek, flip over a few rocks and check the color of the crawfish in the area and during that season. Match the color and the motion of the crawfish and you are on your way to paddling your way to more and bigger bass.