Bass Thumb

One reason is bass are so popular is the magnificent bucket mouth handle, and the “Bass Thumb” that it creates.

Though many fish can be held at least partially by the mouth, no other freshwater fish is endowed with such a gratifying grip. Toothy pike or walleye will only be “lipped” once. Catfish jaw strength can be intimidating enough to grab a net. And when posing with tiny-mouthed sunfish, photos usually reveal a pinky out as if the angler were still nibbling a scone at a dainty tea party.

Though a slight injury, “Bass Thumb” is not an accident. It results from repeatedly lifting bass with a wet thumb. Tiny partially detached pieces of skin are created by gripping the diminutive, cheese grater-like teeth of the bass’ lower jaw. This strangely satisfying indicator of success, even days later, still serves as a reminder of time better spent.

Chris Lane, winner of the 2012 Bassmaster Classic showed off his Bass Thumb at a tournament a couple of years ago. My son is always proud of a little damage to his opposable digit. And his little sister once commented that her right thumb was getting a little sore from releasing bass. When I asked if she wanted to stop she said, “Nope! I’ve still got my left one.”

When someone asks, “How’s the fishing?” hopefully that thumbs up gesture will also display the impressive evidence of Bass Thumb.

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”...  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie."  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.
Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well...
And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to since 2011.