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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey everyone. So at first I was fine with lipping bass but then of course when going to lip my third ever bass it had to bite me. From that point on, for some reason I have been too scared to try and lip a bass for fear it will bite my finger. I would like to know if this has happened to anyone else and how you deal with it, because for some things I get really paranoid and this is one of them. I also want to know if there is a difference in holding down the tongue while lipping compared to just holding the lip.
-Thanks, catfishingforbass
 

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I've had one bite me before first 7lber I ever caught. Lipped him and chomp lol. They aren't going to take your finger off so that's kind of how I deal with it. Just scrape it a little.
 

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There is no need to worry about the 'tongue' when lip locking a bass.

I am sorry you had a bad experience, but I'm a bit surprised about a reference to a 'bite' from a bass. Largemouth and smallmouth bass have sandpaper-like teeth, for the most part. I have heard that spotted bass, which is sort of sub-species of largemouth and don't grow as large, have more toothy teeth than Florida strain largemouth, and I have heard that ones that are primarily shad-feeders have sharper teeth than the ones with more worn teeth from feeding on crawfish, but I don't have any confirmation of that.

I can't say I have ever felt any trepidation over handling largemouth here in central NC, and I have liplocked a lot of 6 to 9 pound class fish... I actually consider it a little pride-booster when I come home with my 'bass fishing thumb' where my thumb is a bit scraped up and rough, but that's because it takes 15 to 20 bass in a day to get it that way. If you arch your thumb at nearly 90 degrees and grip hard when lip-locking a bass, I would think you should be able to avoid scrapes.

I would suggest that if you are feeling anxious, start carrying a pair of fish-grips with which to grab them, or slide a finger up under the uppermost gill plate to hold them... I don't like to damage their gills, so I would opt for a pair of needle-nose or grips on their jaw, personally.

Lastly, you're sure this was a largemouth bass you were holding? Where were you fishing, region-wise? Just curious.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
100% sure

Yes I am very positive it was a largemouth, we were fishing a neighborhood pond in the piedmont, which is where i live, and just describe the fish, it was mostly green and white at the belly with a black stripe going down its sides.
 

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My biggest fear when lipping bass is a mouthful of treble hooks. I have got a few of those and they hurt and extraction is no fun. For treble hook fish I grab them out of the water by the belly or back, this settles them down just long enough to safely get my thumb in the mouth or get the hooks out.
 

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So it doesn't actually hurt? Cause like before it could completely bite down i pulled my finger out.
Nope, doesn't hurt. It's like sandpaper, and their jaw isn't really strong enough to bite down hard enough to do any damage.

Worst he can do is scrape the skin on your thumb a little a bit, but that's not a bad thing - coming back from bass fishing with a scraped up thumb just means you had a real good day.

If you want to see a fish that can do some damage to your thumb, catch a bowfin and have a look at their teeth - I imagine bass won't seem so bad after looking inside the mouth of a bowfin.
 

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Also try holding them upside down to remove the hooks. I do like Jimmy Houston, give them a kiss and sometime those tiny teeth bite back, but the SUGAR is worth it.
 

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Like others I do not like putting my fingers in a mouth full of shaking hooks. So if they are too big/heavy to hoist in, I will bring them up beside the boat and get my arm around the outside of them and hand under their belly. This usually stops them and I can just lift them in the boat. Saw/read once that hand under their belly with weight on it sorta paralizes them, works for me.
 

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Don't worry...grab away...just watch the hooks. As you lift the bass out of the water their body weight is more than they can handle and their mouth will open up...on the big ones anyways. I like to night fish during the summer so making sure it is a bass and not a big chain pickerel or bowfin is important!

 

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Like others I'm more worried about catching a hook than I am about bass teeth. That said, I have worn my thumb bloody from the scraping involved in tossing little ones back. The small bass seem to have sharper teeth than the larger ones.
 

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I agree with what's been said here..... i haven't had a bass do anything more than rough up the skin of my thumb from throwing him back... doesn't hurt at all.... as someone else stated, being sure its not a bowfin or gar who both have nice choppers would be nasty... wish you many days of catching bass with a roughed up thumb to prove it
 

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Yeah they won't hurt you, but as for trebles I never lip those guys. Hooks in the fingers is something I'm personally not fond of. I just wrap the hand under the belly and lift them up. Works everytime, pull the treble lip the bass and admire my prize! Best way too face your fear is just face it. Promise you won't lose your finger!
 

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Just a habit, whatever the fish: hold the fish with mouth up. Grab shank of hook with needle nose pliers. Work the hook out of mouth. Put fish in cooler or back in the water. Seldom damages the fish and never damages a finger. Works same for sharks or keepers. JMO
 
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do not hold bass by their bellies by the way. if and when you do 2 hand the bass grab a Little Bit farther up from their tail
 

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yeah sorry i worded it wrong. but really close to the tail also. incase its hard to tell where the belly ends
 

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I `d say don`t use needle nose on their mouth- that`s alot of pressure. Get some dedicated "fish pliers" like Hobie makes so you won`t mess their mouth up if you are not going to lip them. Pliers also good when the have a mouthful of trebles. The pliers lock in place behind the lip, float and have a hole in the handle if you won`t to weigh the fish.
I only use mine for the occasional surprise catfish though.
It is true the spotted bass have longer teeth and sometimes they are long enough to feel them pop through your skin.
 
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