FALL WHITE BASS FISHING   Leave a comment

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Fall fishing for white bass is just the opposite of the spring pattern. In spring they move to staging areas and then into the spawning areas of lakes and rivers.

As the water temperatures begin to fall below the mid-fifties the white bass seek deeper water at the end of summer. Generally they suspend over structure or on the bottom of creek channels. This is when vertical jigging comes into play.

White bass are a cousin of the saltwater striped bass and as such have much of a savage instinct found in their brethren. They hit light tackle and give the angler more than he can handle.
The average size fish taken by anglers tends to run about 3/4 of a pound. Some will go over 2-pounds.
Catching white bass is easy. Finding them is the tough part. Good electronics and the ability to use them are vital.

White bass are active fish that feed constantly. Whites prefer to spend their time in water deeper than 10-feet. But they often move into shallows to feed. Their favorite meal is shad. If the angler can find large schools of shad chances are white bass are near.

On warm days they tend to feed on the surface. Concentrations of seagulls pinpoint the location for the fisherman. At close range he can find them by spotting the splashing water caused by the feeding fish breaking the surface as they chase the shad. At times the fish will stay up for 10 to 15 minutes. More often they feed for only a minute or two and then dive back down to the safety of deep water. Usually they surface again a short distance away.

Later still the whites become more difficult to find. The easiest way to find them is to go where all the other boats are and join in the action. If you do not have someone else to follow it is possible to find white bass by trolling small deep-diving crankbaits. Begin in the mouth of the feeder creeks and work back up river until you find the fish. Once you find the white bass dig out the jig and minnow combinations.

Light tackle is a must for white bass. Small jigs are good with line in the 4 to 8-pound test range. Small tube jigs tipped with plastic grubs do a good job. The grubs should be ones with contrasting dark and light colors.
Perhaps the best rig at this time of year is the tandem rig used often by crappie anglers. Tie the main line to a three-way swivel. Next tie leaders of different lengths to the other parts of the swivel. Some good lengths are 12 and 24 inches. To each of these leaders tie a jig with a small minnow attached. With this rig one can fish on the bottom and also just off the bottom at the same time. It also allows one to set the hook when a fish hits one jig and then wait for another white to hit the second jig. The astute angler will notice the size of the bait fish and match his lure to that size.

Angling success tends to be dependent on year hatches. A year with incredible numbers can help carry the population over lean years. The best fishing in a particular body of water is likely to be about two years after a large year hatch.

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