Does Lipping a bass hurt the fish? Discover whether this angler’s favorite is truly fish-friendly or potentially harmful. Uncover the truth behind lipping practices in our latest article! Let’s dive right in!

Does Lipping A Bass Hurt it?

Have you ever held a bass by its lower lip after a successful catch, admiring your prize while wondering, “Does this hurt the fish?” Let’s dive into the world of bass handling and explore whether lipping, a common practice among anglers, is truly harmless.

What is “Lipping”?

Lipping is a common fishing practice where anglers use their thumb and forefinger to grip a fish, usually by its lower lip, to lift it out of the water. This technique is often employed with species like bass. The intention is to secure the fish for a quick hook removal and release or for taking a photograph.

Lipping a Bass

While it’s a convenient method, there’s ongoing discussion about its potential impact on the fish’s well-being due to the pressure exerted on their sensitive lip area. As a result, some anglers prefer alternative methods that minimize stress on the fish.

A Bass’s Lip Structure

Largemouth bass possess a robust set of jaws equipped with small, sandpaper-like teeth. Their lower jaw, in particular, is a key feature that anglers utilize for lipping. This jaw structure allows the fish to grip prey effectively in the wild.

Sensitivity of Bass Lips

While a bass’s lips might seem tough, they’re also remarkably sensitive. Just like our own fingertips, their lips have numerous nerve endings that contribute to their ability to detect vibrations and changes in water pressure.

Pressure and Handling

Lipping a bass involves gripping its lower lip, often requiring some pressure to secure the hold. While this may not cause immediate harm, excessive pressure could potentially stress or injure the fish, especially if it’s done repeatedly or with undue force.

Expert Insights

Fisheries experts emphasize the importance of handling fish with care. Experienced anglers recommend minimizing direct contact with a bass’s mouth whenever possible. They suggest avoiding lipping for extended periods and opting for techniques that exert less pressure on the fish’s delicate lips.

Alternatives to Lipping

Instead of relying solely on lipping, consider alternatives that are gentler on the fish. Using a (rubber coated) landing net can be an effective way to lift a bass from the water without applying direct pressure to its mouth. Additionally, supporting the fish’s body with wet hands can prevent potential harm.

Alternatives to lipping a bass

Real-life Experiences

Anglers’ experiences with lipping vary. Some report no apparent adverse effects on the fish, while others have noticed subtle signs of stress or minor injuries after repeated lipping. These observations highlight the importance of handling practices that prioritize the fish’s well-being.

Did You Know? 3 Fun Facts About Bass Mouths & Teeth

  1. Toothy Grin: A largemouth bass boasts an impressive set of teeth that could rival any predator’s grin. Its mouth is packed with sharp, backward-pointing teeth lining its jaws, roof, and tongue โ€“ a perfect setup for grasping onto slippery prey.
  2. Expandable Jaw: The largemouth bass has a secret weapon for nabbing larger meals. Its jaw is hinged in a way that lets it open wide in an instant, creating a vacuum effect that helps it swallow prey whole.
  3. Tooth Regeneration: Bass teeth can rapidly regenerate. If a tooth breaks or falls out during a fight for food, a new one grows back in its place. This means the bass always has a sharp set of tools for its next mealtime mission.


In the ongoing debate about lipping bass, it’s crucial to strike a balance between enjoying the thrill of fishing and responsibly handling the fish we catch. While lipping might not outrightly hurt bass, it’s essential to recognize their sensitivity and the potential impact of handling practices.

As anglers, we can contribute to the conservation of these aquatic marvels by adopting mindful approaches that ensure their survival and thriving populations for generations to come.

Have fun, tight lines and enjoy the great outdoors!

Amazing Links

  1. Ready to discover the surprising world of largemouth bass? Check out our article on “50 fun and shocking facts about largemouth bass” and get hooked! Link: 50 Fun Facts About Bass
  2. Want to make sure the bass you catch survive and thrive? Learn the right way to catch and release them with our informative guide. Link: How To Catch And Release Bass
  3. Are you curious about what largemouth bass eat? Our article “What do Bass eat?” has all the answers and might just surprise you. Link: What Do Largemouth Bass Eat

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