How Long Can Bass Live Out Of Water – Answered!

Bass fishing tournaments are one of the most popular recreational activities in America. Basses caught during these tournaments are usually released back into the water, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they’ll survive. Knowing the answer to the question of ‘how long Bass can live out of water is essential for the survival of these species.

Recent studies indicate that bass fishermen constitute up to 50% of the American fishing community. This popularity is due to the fact that catching them doesn’t require an immense amount of skills or materials. With a simple hook, you can start hunting for basses.


This article will help increase your knowledge of basses and at the end of the day, answer the all-important question, “how long can bass live out of water?”

How Long Can A Bass Live out of water?

The question of how long a Bass can live out of water has been the subject of many debates over the years. Different anglers and fish enthusiasts project different answers due to their individual experiences. Recently, a study was done to ascertain how long a Bass can last out of the water and the results were surprising.

Before the study was done, it was generally believed that bass can only last 2-4 minutes out of the water, but the results of this experiment claim otherwise.
In the experiment, the basses were caught and held out of water for up to 10 minutes. They were then put down in a tank and observed for 24 hours. After the said time, it was noted that the largemouth made a much faster recovery than the smallmouth, and none of the Basses used in the experiment died!

Can A Bass Live out of water?

A second study was carried out. This time, they were held out of water for up to 15 minutes. After which they were then clad with transmitters and released into the wild. They were monitored for five days and shockingly all the basses involved survived!

This study didn’t only discover that basses can stay up to 15 minutes out of the water and survive. It also tracked the recovery time of each of the basses and discovered that largemouth basses recover faster than their smallmouth counterparts.

Hence, it has been established that basses can stay up to 15 minutes out of the water and survive. However, this experiment did not consider an important factor which is the temperature of the water. It is a well-known fact that basses fare better in colder water, which means that the colder the water, the higher the chances of survival.

Can fish survive out of water?

Fishes are cold-blooded animals and their main organ of respiration is the gills as opposed to the lungs in humans. They take in dissolved oxygen through their gills and it is absorbed into their bloodstream through diffusion.

Fishes can survive out of water for a given amount of time, after which they suffocate and die due to lack of dissolved oxygen and failure of their gills. The timespan of survival of different fishes outside water is dependent on several factors, one of which has to do with the species.

Can fish survive out of water?

Different species of fish have different duration of survival out of water. While some will survive 2-4 minutes, others will die in seconds. Unbelievably, there are species of fish that can last months on the surface without dying. They are called amphibious fishes.

Fishes such as mudskippers and mangrove killifish can survive out of water for months without suffocating or dying. This is because they can absorb oxygen through their skin. But there is a condition, they have to keep their skin moist so that diffusion of oxygen can occur. They are usually found in estuaries, swamplands, etc.
The second type is lungfish. This type of fish possesses a lung instead of gills and they can use it to breathe in oxygen outside water. Rumors say that the lungfish can last outside water for up to two years.

In terms of survival out of the water, another wonderful species of fish is the walking catfish. They possess an organ that helps their gills take in oxygen from the atmosphere. The walking catfish can move up to a distance of 1.2 km on land and they can supposedly last up to 18 hours out of water.

Lastly smaller fishes such as koi carp and goldfish do not possess special characteristics to survive for long out of water. They start struggling in a few seconds and usually don’t survive past 2-5 minutes.

How Long Can A Bass Survive In A Bucket?

Basses and fishes, in general, need water to survive. Placing a caught bass in a bucket filled with water gives it a very high chance of survival especially if the bucket is opened. As there is a limited amount of oxygen that can go through a closed bucket.

How long a Bass survives in a bucket depends on several factors which include temperature and acidity of the water, and the trauma the fish endured before being caught.In a small bucket, the Bass will finish up the oxygen very quickly and begin to suffocate. Putting a Bass in a large aerated bucket increases its chances of survival and might keep it alive for 5-8 hours.

How to Catch and Release a Bass In a Safe way?

The most important and valuable action in safely catching and releasing a Bass is releasing it almost immediately, as fast as you can. Putting the Bass back in gives it a higher chance of survival.

Also, when holding the Bass out of the water, do your best to hold it horizontally as fishes are not used to being in vertical positions (they swim horizontally). Holding a Bass in a vertical position might increase the stress and trauma it’s going through and ultimately cause death.

Try to remove the hook from the bass’s mouth very carefully so as not to rip out parts of its mouth. Also when handling the Bass try not to put pressure on the gills and eyes so as not to put the Bass through more stress.

The above advice can help increase the number of Basses that survive catch and release.

Do Bass Die After Being Caught?

Releasing a fish after catching it doesn’t necessarily mean it will survive, even if you watch it swim away.

A recent study showed that 50% of Bass caught in tournaments and released back to the water later die. There are a lot of reasons for this number and one of them could be poor handling of the fish.

Some of the Bass caught are handled badly. Some fishermen hold them in a way that puts pressure on their gills and if the gills are destroyed, that means death. Other reasons for the death of Basses that are caught include; temperature shock, handling injury, hooking, low intake of dissolved oxygen into the body, etc.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long can Bass go without eating?

A Bass can go up to 4 weeks without food

Can fish get brain damage from being out of water?

Yes, fishes can get brain damage from being out of water due to lack of oxygen

How long does a largemouth bass live?

A largemouth Bass can live an average of 16 years

Can I feed my bass once a week?

Even if they’ll survive being fed once a week, it is more advisable to feed them daily.


Different types of fish possess different characteristics that help them survive out of water for a particular amount of time. Bass is a very tough and rugged type of fish and in proper conditions, they can usually last up to 15 minutes out of water. Knowing the answer to the question of how long a bass can stay out of water is very essential for the survival of this species.

James Smith

Hi , i'm James Smith Author of I am a Blogger & Love to Reading Book with Learning and Shareing. Persionally, i'm very interested in Fishing & Hunting . In personal life, I am a father of two cute kid and loving husband of a beautiful wife.

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