Why would an adult-sized bass attack swimmers’ feet?
An over-anxious male bass doing his best to protect his young may attack people swimming nearby.
In late spring, male bass (largemouth and smallmouth) use a tail-lashing technique to clear a nest area on the lake bottom. You can often spot a nest: Look for a bare, roughly circular area that spans up to 1.8 metres across. Once the eggs are laid and fertilized, it’s the male that guards and defends them. He continues to watch over the newly hatched fry until they disperse.
You may observe this defence activity as early as May if your lake is warm enough, or as late as July if it’s a cooler, spring-fed lake. Normally the fish will fake an attack – charging and veering off at the last moment – but occasionally one will actually connect with you. A nip is as bad as it gets, though, because bass “teeth” are really just rows of bony points that can’t do any serious damage to human skin.