bass thumb Bass Thumb - The Painful Sign of a Good Day

Bass Thumb – The Painful Sign of a Good Day

We all know Michigan is shaped like a mitten, thanks to glaciers from 10,000 years ago. One of the most noticeable features is the thumb, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that thumb is surrounded by water. If you are used to spending your summers on the lake with a tender thumb, you know exactly where this is going… yes, I am talking about your Bass Thumb.

“Bass Thumb, because without it anything you say you caught is a lie,” dedicated anglers say.

A fisher gives a thumbs-up with a Bass Thumb. Photo by Michele Eichstead
A fisher gives a thumbs-up with a Bass Thumb. Photo by Michele Eichstead

Bass Thumb is a nice way to describe what feels like a rug burn on your thumb that verifies you have been bass fishing.

Bass have tiny needle-like teeth that they use to crush their prey. Upon catching a bass and unhooking, the proper way to assist the fish back to the water is to place your thumb in the fish’s mouth and hold its lower jaw. In most cases you will not feel the teeth right away. However, going for the trophy hold can cause an extreme case of Bass Thumb when the fish begins to thrash around.

Bass fishing has rewards but also risks, especially for your thumb. Photo by Michele Eichstead
Bass fishing has rewards but also risks, especially for your thumb. Photo by Michele Eichstead

Zell Rowland has been a professional bass fisher since he was 13 years old. Now going on 60, he’s had his fair share of Bass Thumbs. To describe what a Bass Thumb should be, he said, “ask an angler to turn his hand over and look in the ‘V’ of his hand (between his thumb and pointer finger). If it looks like it has been rubbed down with sandpaper, he’s got a Bass Thumb.”

Chad Pipkins, Michigan resident and Bassmaster Elite series angler, says he thinks of four words when it comes to Bass Thumb: “Success, excitement, and cash money (well, for tournament anglers). And Bass Palm, where your thumb meets the base of your hand — yep that’s the good stuff. That’s an extreme day on the water!”

FLW Tour Power Pole Pro Darrell Davis adds, “You didn’t have a good day if you don’t have your entire hand chewed up. That means you were catchin’ big ones all day! That’s a Bass Hand!”

When the bass gets more than just your thumb, you can call it "Bass Hand." Photo by Michele Eichstead
When the bass gets more than just your thumb, you can call it “Bass Hand.” Photo by Michele Eichstead

In Michigan, Bass Thumb can also refer to the shirt you are wearing! Bass Thumb Apparel tees, hoodies and shorts have become a main staple in the bass fishing industry, even gaining their own hashtag: #bassthumb.

This apparel line for the everyday angler was started by Nemesis Baits owner, and Michigan born-and-bred bass fishing enthusiast, Brian McCarter. McCarter says, “I was just sitting at work one day staring at my thumb and I wondered if anyone had ever started a company based on an aching Bass Thumb. Come to find out after some research, no one had, so I started one. Within minutes we had thousands of followers and have been successful with our apparel.”

Bass Thumb Apparel has merchandise for bass fishing enthusiasts. Photo courtesy of Bass Thumb Apparel
Bass Thumb Apparel has merchandise for bass fishing enthusiasts. Photo courtesy of Bass Thumb Apparel

Now that bass fishing season is year-round, our Great lakes here in the Mitten offer many opportunities to get your own Bass Thumb! The next time you get out fishing be sure to share your Bass Thumb, because without it (all together now)… “anything you say you caught is a lie!”

Hold your Bass Thumb high and post pictures using the hashtag #BassThumb on Twitter and Facebook!

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