Do Largemouth Bass Eat Rock Bass? Tasty Schooling Prey

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Ozark creek hooks a cool rock bass!

Largemouth bass eat rock bass. Rock bass congregate in schools, are a small target, and put up a minimal fight. They’re found in areas largemouth bass frequent. As long as a largemouth can fit a rock bass into its mouth, it won’t hesitate to eat it. 

Bass anglers see rock bass as the redheaded stepchild of the bass family. Rock bass make easy targets and don’t put up strong fights. Rock bass look like a mix of smallmouth bass and sunfish. But their habitat, feeding habits, and aggression are more like largemouth bass.

Largemouth Bass Eating Rock Bass 

Largemouth bass are known to eat their young and other bass species. Largemouth bass will eat rock bass if the opportunity presents itself. Largemouth’s carnivorous instincts take over whenever they see an easy target like rock bass. 

While largemouths often pursue crustaceans, fry, and minnows, larger prey like sunfish, perch, and rock bass aren’t out of the question. Rock bass prefer cool, clear water with rocks and vegetation.

Largemouths live in similar bodies of water to rock bass. They also have similar tendencies to one another. When I first started fishing in the Northeast and Canada, I was frustrated with how often I caught rock bass. 

I targeted smallmouth and largemouth, but rock bass always seemed to get to my bait first. 

If rock bass are in a vulnerable position, largemouth bass will eat them. Their mouths are large enough to inhale a juvenile rock bass. An average rock bass is six to eight inches long. An adult largemouth bass has no trouble eating one. 

A big bass gets hooked by a happy angler in clear, shallow water, with pretty maple leaves nearby.

How Largemouth Bass Eat Rock Bass

When I found a school of rock bass, I’d move to the outside of it and cast my bait. Largemouth bass linger outside schools of prey, waiting for the opportune moment to strike. 

Largemouth bass are ambush predators. I’d try to find a weed line or other forms of cover and structure near the school of rock bass. Casting right along or near the cover led to the strike I wanted.

While occasionally hooking a rock bass, I’d try and beat largemouth at their own game. 

Unlike smallmouth bass, largemouths rarely go into open water. Even though they’re the top predators in the lake, they hate feeling vulnerable. The more time they can spend hidden, the better. Largemouths position themselves in hiding spots and wait for their prey. 

If a rock bass swims too far from the school, largemouths dart out, swallow the fish, and return to safety. 

Rock bass sit in shallow, rocky areas. Even though they spend time exposed, they have a safety plan. Rock bass spend time in weeds and woody cover if they don’t feel safe. 

Largemouth bass use the skittish habits of rock bass to their advantage. When rock bass hide, they flock toward the areas where largemouths always sit. As soon as rock bass enter the weeds or other cover, it’s game over.

Largemouth bass know what they’re doing in these areas, so rock bass don’t stand a chance. 

If I find rock bass, I throw large, dark crankbaits or spinners near cover and structure and expect a bite. Largemouth never venture too far away from a school of prey. 

Regardless of where rock bass are in the lake, a largemouth bass is nearby, waiting for an easy meal. 

A fisher with a big Bass under a blue sky by a lake.

Food Competition

Rock bass have a similar diet to largemouth bass. Their diet comprises minnows, their young, giant insects, crustaceans, and other small fish. When rock bass get in the way of a feeding largemouth, the rock bass becomes the target. 

Largemouth bass act as the perfect population controllers. If the rock bass population starts to grow, largemouths take care of it. My family used them to handle massive populations of bullhead and goldfish

Largemouths want the freedom to feed on anything they want. When a smaller fish eats what they want, largemouths do whatever they can to get back to feeding on their preferred foods.


Largemouth bass enjoy feasting on rock bass. Rock bass spend time in schools in similar areas to largemouth bass. If you’re fishing for largemouths and see a school of rock bass, stop your boat and fish the outside of the school. Odds are, a largemouth bass is waiting nearby for an easy meal.

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