Proper way to hold a bass

How To Hold A Bass
4 Min Read
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You’ve caught yourself a bass fish, but how are you supposed to hold it? A common thought by many anglers when they have hooked their first bass.

If you aren’t sure what to do or where to put your hands, then you risk the chance of cutting yourself or even harming the fish.

We have put together a little guide to let you know proper way to hold a bass . Read on to find out more.

Holding A Bass

The most important thing is that you keep your hand in contact with the body of the fish as much as possible. This will help to prevent you from getting cut and also stop you from hurting the fish.

The other thing to remember is that if you get too close to the head of the fish, you run the risk of being bitten.

There are many ways to properly hold a bass. Some people believe that the best way is by starting with your dominant hand and then moving to your non-dominant. You must make sure you don’t put your fingers too far into the bass’s mouth. 

Another method is by hold a bass with your non-dominant hand and then resting your dominant hand on the top jaw of the bass. The last method is by placing your dominant hand on the lower jaw of the bass and your non-dominant hand on the upper jaw.

The method that you choose is your decision and what makes you feel more confident when holding the bass. However, how you hold a bass will depend on the size and weight of the bass as well. 

Steps To Holding A Small Bass

  1. Place your dominant hand on the bottom jaw of the bass.
  2. Your second hand can rest either on the top jaw or the middle of the bass.
  3. Make sure you don’t touch the gills of the bass.
  4. Keep your fingers out of the mouths of the bass.
  5. Your thumb should be pointing upwards.
  6. Ensure that your index finger is touching the side of the bass.
  7. Finally, ensure that your ring finger is touching the back of the bass.

Holding A Larger Bass

Vertical Hold

A lot of people find this method to be the safest way to hold a bass. You will hold a bass with your finger in its mouth on the bottom lip. While the rest of your fingers are outside the bass’s mouth. You will position them underneath the lip of the fish.

The tail of the bass will hang freely below the body. This then limits the pressure that could be caused on the jaw. This is because you don’t need to bend the fish in any way to hold a bass.

You want to keep a firm grip on the bottom jaw. So then the fish doesn’t slip or bend the fish’s jaw too much. With the vertical method, all you are doing is touching their lips.

Horizontal Hold

When it comes to holding the bass, you will place your thumb in its mouth and once again hold the lower lip, just like you did with the vertical method.

You might want to get a trophy-like picture with your large bass, this is when you need to use the horizontal position. With this hold, you are provided with a lot more support. This is so you can hold the bass up with your other hand.

Yet where it changes is that with your other hand, you want to place it underneath the belly of the bass. This is to support the weight of the bass. You don’t want to rest your hand on its fins. 

With this hold, there is no pressure on the lower jaw and if you are quick you want to handle the fish too much either.

Your hand under the fish is supporting it and also protecting it, however, you will want to limit how much you hold this fish. The longer it is out of the water, the longer it will take to recover once you put it back in the water.

How Not To Hold A Bass

How Not To Hold A Bass

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The main way to avoid holding a bass is at an angle that is greater than 10 degrees. You especially don’t want to hold a bass at the jaw at this angle or more.

This is because their mouth will expand due to the pressure. This will then damage the bass’s jaw, and it could lead to further complications to the bass. Which could then result in death for the fish. 

Always be careful when handling a bass, and only follow the methods we have listed above. 

Tips For Handling A Bass

Bass has a slimy coating that covers all of their body. What this slime does is protect the fish from infections and diseases. As a result, you want to try to handle the fish as little as possible. This is because if you handle them too much, then your hands will remove this coating that is protecting them. 

Alongside this, you want to make sure that you don’t keep the bass out of the water for too long. Otherwise, they will begin to suffocate and die.

Also, when you are keeping a firm grip on the bass’s jaw you want to make sure that you don’t bend the fish’s jaw too much, or you could harm the fish.

If you put too much pressure on their jaw, then you could dislocate their jaw, so they cannot close their mouth properly. In the end, if they can’t shut their mouth, then they can’t hunt. Finally, they will die as they can’t eat.

Therefore, just be careful when handling this and any fish. 


Hooking a bass is an exciting thing, however, you need to make sure that you hold and handle this fish properly. Follow the method we have outlined above, and you should be able to hold your bass perfectly every time.

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