Will Largemouth Bass Eat Catfish? Fearless Freshwater Predators

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Underwater image of a large Catfish (Silurus Glanis) swimming gracefully in its aquatic habitat.

Largemouth bass will eat catfish. As long as the catfish can fit in the bass’s mouth, they will eat it. Catfish spend most of their time on the bottoms of lakes and rivers, so largemouths must dive deeper and use their ambush skills to catch them.

Largemouth bass refuse to eat very few things. One of the first largemouths I ever caught had a 10-inch largemouth inside its mouth. Their desire for meat and fulfilling meals ups their aggression and willingness to go after all different types of meat.

Catfish and Largemouth Bass 

Since largemouth bass are opportunistic and carnivorous feeders, they rarely say no to any meat they find in the water. 

While catfish aren’t necessarily at the top of the list for largemouth bass, they’re more than willing to eat them if the opportunity presents itself. 

Small catfish are usually the meal of choice for largemouth bass. As catfish grow older, they develop a larger spine and become more difficult for largemouth bass to swallow. I’ve caught several largemouth bass with smaller catfish in their mouths. 

Younger catfish less than 8 inches are the perfect size. 

Adult largemouth bass are far faster than catfish, so catching them is easy if a largemouth can locate a young catfish in a vulnerable area.

Catfish can grow to around 60 to 70 pounds, so it doesn’t take long for largemouth bass to be oversized and outmatched by larger catfish. A big largemouth bass is 5 or 6 pounds.

Generally, largemouth bass and catfish can coexist and don’t eat one another, but if a largemouth is desperate, they won’t hesitate to go after a catfish.

Largemouths and catfish eat similar things, so it’s more of a competition to get to the food first than anything. They don’t go after one another often.

An angler successfully reels in a largemouth bass amidst a lush bed of lily pads after it strikes a topwater frog lure.

How Largemouth Hunt for Catfish

When lunkers hunt for catfish, they must be fast. Catfish are flat, so they can sneak and hide in areas inaccessible by wider fish, like largemouth bass. So, largemouths use their ambush skills to get close enough to the catfish to strike. 

Catfish live in deep water, so largemouth will often eat them during the middle of the day when they’re also in deep water waiting for the sun to set. 

Both largemouth and catfish will stay near structure, but catfish will also live in holes in the bottom of the water column. 

Bass are more willing to cruise in the shallows, but catfish will go shallow in the mornings and evenings if they want more to eat. Bass will use the low light to their advantage to eat a smaller catfish that is too eager and has gotten too far away from a hiding place. 

Largemouth bass and catfish also spend time at creek mouths waiting for food. Here, largemouths will chase down smaller catfish looking for easy meals. 

Again, catfish are not something largemouth bass actively seek out. But they frequent the same areas enough to run into one another, both day and night.

A hungry largemouth bass will say no to little.

Largemouth bass in early morning light on a serene lake with a vivid blue sky

Frequently Asked Questions 

Can Catfish and Largemouth Bass Live Together? 

Yes, catfish and largemouth bass can live in the same areas. They like the same types of food. Adult catfish are far larger than largemouth bass. Largemouths know not to take any chances and attack an adult catfish.

Do Catfish Compete With Bass? 

Yes, catfish do compete with bass. Catfish will eat dead and alive things, while largemouth primarily stick with living things.

Do Largemouth Bass Eat Fish? 

Yes, largemouth bass eat fish. Catfish, smaller bass, perch, and bluegill are some of the primary fish they eat.


Largemouth bass are eager to eat. Whether it’s a leech or a smaller bass, they don’t hesitate to feed if they’re hungry. Catfish and largemouth are consistently in similar areas, but largemouth are more aggressive and willing to take on smaller catfish when given the chance.

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