Archive for the ‘White Bass’ Tag

THE IN-BETWEEN SAND BASS OF FORT GIBSON LAKE IN OK   Leave a comment

White bass are traditionally a popular fishing species during the early spring spawning runs and the warm summer month’s jumps.  In the spring they take almost any offering at the end of a line.  In the summer one looks for the birds and bubbling water.  In the latter the white bass herd the shad up onto shallows attracting the birds.  The water seems to bubble with the shad breaking the surface in a vain attempt to evade the white bass chasing them from below.

Recently on a fishing excursion between these two seasons we found them staging in flooded trees and brush along points. Cruising out from the marina, the Sun Catcher by G3 provided a smooth trip across the waters of Fort Gibson Lake near Wagoner OK.  At the helm of this tri-toon pontoon craft is Chris Lindenberg, President of Gene Larew and Bobby Garland tackle companies.

Chris Lindenberg

The approximately 19,900-acre lake was partially flooded due to recent rainstorms in the area. We are in search of “sand bass” as the local refer to them.  Back home they are “white bass.”  The double Bimini top of the boat barely sneaks under the highway bridge before we move into a cove.

Fort Gibson Lake is the final of three lakes in the chain of waterways of the Lower Grand (Neosho) River system. It has about 225 surface acres that remain relatively stable except when the corps releases water from the two lakes upstream.  It is a system built by the Corps of Engineers for flood control and recreation.

The sky is clear and the temperature is about 80-degrees.

We troll along with three rods out and catch a few small fish before finding the submerged point with flooded trees sticking out of the surface. The lines are rigged with a Bobby Garland Mo’ Glo jig head with a Stroll’R body in pearl color.  The latter is a kind of translucent gray in color.  The jig head contains a florescent powder in the paint making is visible as far as 15 feet deep.

Once located this jig and tail began to produce action. The interesting thing about the body is the pad on the tail which produces action in the lure.  While trolling we can feel the vibration in the line.  The action of the bait entices fish to strike.

Nice “in-between” sand bass from Fort Gibson Lake in Oklahoma.

It is probable that in the stained water of this flooding the vibration of the jig tail in the surrounding water sends a signal to the fish’s lateral line and subsequently to the brain. It then aids the fish in locating the lure as a source of food or something aggravating.

Despite the poor water conditions, the camaraderie on this trip is great as is the entire experience was great.

FISHING FOR WHITE BASS IN THE FALL   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.

 

FISH THE JUMPS FOR SUMMER WHITE BASS ACTION   Leave a comment

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Spring is the most popular time to catch white bass but summer is the most fun time. As the finny wolf packs chase the shad across the surface, anglers speed from one action point to another. It is a time of run and gun.

The white bass is from the sea bass family rather than the largemouth, smallmouth, rock or spotted bass. The latter are members of the sunfish family. White bass more closely relate to yellow and striped bass.

White bass dine on small fish, insects and crustaceans. It is a schooling fish that hunts in large numbers and covers a great deal of water. The schools travel quickly and from place to place herding large schools herd smaller fish before them. They drive the prey species to the surface where they cannot escape.

The feeding action occurs mostly in the early morning and in the evening. They move toward the shore in evening and return to the depths in the morning.

All this action takes a heavy toll on the life of the white bass. They live only five or six years.

Although found in many lakes and rivers they thrive most in reservoirs and big lakes.

As the summer rolls in fishermen move to see the fish start working the shad. The whites form packs of roving schools in order to be in the right place at the right time.

If the anglers are in the right place at the right time the opportunity to catch fish is nearly limitless. Their first sighting may be just a single fish breaking the surface or it can be a boiling action as many fish break out. This is the jumps.

The feeding activity lasts a few minutes as fishermen cast into the boiling water. There is a chance to catch a few fish before the shad move away followed by the feeding whites. Following is a period of inactivity until the whites force the forage fish to the top again. The fishing action repeats.

To help locate the feeding fish the angler is can look to the gulls. It is not rocket science to realize the gulls and white bass are wherever the shad appear. The shad are a favorite food for both.

Calm water is best for finding shad forced to the surface. In stormy weather the whites will force the shad up against wave-tossed banks and feed on them. A good area to find them is any point that juts out into deep water with shallow, small flats or shelf facing into the wind. Shallow-running or lipless crankbaits cast into these areas often yield excellent results.

During the surface feeding frenzy on warm, calm summer days the action is typically topwater. It is exciting, fast and frustrating. If the angler is lucky enough to be in the middle of the school, the problem becomes deciding where to cast. Small topwater lures are effective. Match the size of the lure to the size of the forage fish that are present. If the fish are feeding really voraciously they will attack almost anything cast into the water.

The larger fish are under the smaller ones with the biggest ones just under the main part of the

ILLINOIS RIVER WHITE BASS FISHING   2 comments

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Watching the line cut through the water from one side to the other is an exhilaration experience.  The slashing runs of a white bass on the end of a fishing line stirs the heart strings of even the most jaded angler.

Anglers find large numbers of white bass each year during the month of June.  The bass are in a full feeding frenzy as they chase shad around just above any area with a rock, sand or gravel bottom.  The average size of these terrors of the minnow population is about 3/4-pound.  However some reach 2-pounds and the giants will go 3-pounds.

Often referred to as silver bass, streaker, striper or striped bass, the white bass is a silvery, spiny-rayed fish with dark horizontal streaks on the sides.

White bass inhabit the entire length of the Illinois River from its origins at the confluence of the Kankakee and Des Plaines Rivers, near Chicago, to where it flows into the Mississippi at Grafton, Illinois.  The most popular stretch is that between Utica and Spring Valley.

Whites are schooling fish that hunt in large numbers and cover a great deal of territory.  Dining mostly on small fish, they also eat small crustaceans and insects.  The schools move about directed by the food supply.  Their large formations herd smaller fish before driving them into areas where the prey cannot escape.

They feed most actively in the early morning and late evening.

Fishing for white bass is a simple process during their early run.  A medium to ultralight rod with 6 to 8-ound test line seems to be just the ticket.  Most popular way to catch these fish is with leadhead jigs with small colored twister tails tipped with a shiner or fathead minnow.  Cast the rig into swift water and allowed it to reach the bottom.  It bounces long the bottom in a series of short hops.

A jig in the 1/16th to 1/8th ounce size seems to be just about right.  If one uses one much heavier they tend to snag on the bottom.  The ideal jig is one that will reach the bottom and then slowly bounce downstream with the current.  The pattern works best in areas with a sand or gravel bottom.  In the rocky areas you must exert more care to keep the number of break-offs to a minimum.

Another pattern is the use of a floating jig.  There are a number of them on the market.  The jig has the regular shape of the standard jig head or small round floats.  Because they float, the jig will stay off the bottom and out of snags in the structure.

Rigged with a Lindy rig or a Wolf River rig, the jig and bait stays just off the bottom.  This way it stays out of the snags and remains visible to hungry white bass.

White bass fishing on the Illinois is tops.  They are fun fish and a great way to introduce a novice to the sport.

WHITE BASS OF CARLYLE LAKE ILLINOIS   Leave a comment

big hill 24 Carlyle Lake offers some of the best white bass fishing in terms of quantity and quality.  The fish average about one half pound.  The total population runs 10 to 15-inches in length with 62 percent over 12-inches.  Fish over 13-inches will run over one pound.  The fish are in excellent condition and scattered throughout the lake.

The lake is located on the Kaskaskia River near Carlyle, Illinois.  It is 50 miles due east of metropolitan St. Louis.  The lake stretches through parts of Fayette, Bond and Clinton counties.  Owned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers contains some 26,000-acres of water.

White bass are cousins to the saltwater striped bass and as such have much of the savage instinct of their brethren.  They will hit light tackle ad give an angler more then he can handle.

Following the warm rains of April, these water tigers go on a feeding frenzy that lasts into June.  White bass become more active as water temperatures rise above 50-degrees.  Once at that level the fish move out of staging areas and into spawning areas.

Catching white bass is one thing, finding them is the tough part.  In spring the pre-spawn fish position themselves on sand bars and gravel banks in fast water.  During the spawn they make runs into the major feeder streams looking for suitable gravel beds.  After the spawn they head down stream into creek channels or roam out into the main body of the lake.

If fish are not in the spawning stages a good pattern is to troll over sunken islands and humps with small crankbaits.  Look for sign of shad clouds on the fish locator.  The schools of white bass are usually nearby.  Often they are on deeper sides of the islands or flats.  They wait to ambush some hapless shad as he swims past.

The active white bass is a constant feeder.  They prefer to spend their time in water deeper than 10-feet but will often move into the shallows to feed.  Their favorite meal is shad.  A sure sign of white bass presence is water that appears to be boiling.  Shad breaking through the surface gives the appearance of boiling water as they try evading the bass.

When feeding on the surface concentrations of seagulls pinpoint the location for anglers.  At close range they find the shad boils by spotting splashing water caused by the feeding white bass as they chase the shad.  At times the fish will stay up for ten to 15 minutes.  More often they feed for only a minute ort tow and then dive back to the safety of deeper water.  Usually they surface again a hundred yards or so away.

Early morning and late evening hours are best to find white bass.  When they are actively feeding they are catchable in the heat of the day as well.

Anglers should position their boat in the general area of the feeding and wait for white bass to come to them.  You can anchor under bridges to avoid the direct sunlight and to await the action.

Light tackle is ideal.  Small crankbaits, spinners and jigs are good with line in the 4- to 8-pound monofilament line.  Small tube jigs tipped with a minnow or plastics with contrasting dark and light color work well.  Match the size of your bait to the size of the shad in the lake.

Angling success is dependent upon year hatches.  A year with incredible numbers can help carry the population over more lean years.  The best fishing is likely to be about 2 years after a large hatch year.

SPRING RUN WHITE BASS   Leave a comment

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Lake Shelbyville is a natural for white bass.  White bass thrive in large, open-water impoundments containing an abundance of shad, their favorite forage fish.

This 11,000-plus acre impoundment is located in Shelby and Moultrie counties in central Illinois about 4-hours south of Chicago.  It is a hill-land impoundment with depths exceeding 60-feet, long wooded coves and some of the most scenic water in the state.

From mid-April through June the white bass of Lake Shelbyville are a bread-and-butter fish for anglers in search of action.  The feisty fish move up out of the main river channel into tributaries to spawn.

Normally they hold at the mouths of creeks for some time before heading upstream.  As they then concentrate in shallows on the back of Kaskaskia and Okaw rivers.  Once upstream one can find them in schools in eddies behind current breaks as such rocks, blow downs, etc.  The smallest bass will be on top with the big boys on the bottom of the school.  They let the little fish do the hard work of chasing shad and minnows.

It seems that everyone who fishes for white bass on this lake has a preference when it comes to lure or bait.  Generally the bait fishermen prefer small minnows on a jig.  The lure anglers tend to go with small jigging spoons.  Others like the 1/8th to 1/4-ounce Road Runners with a tinsel tail or a white curly tail.  White seems popular due to the water clarity in early spring.  For more dingy water one might try yellow.

In April bottom bouncing a jigging spoon is good.  The fish are generally gathering along expended points in the water ranging from 5 to 50-feet deep.

Later in spring and early in summer anglers cruise the lake watching for shad chased by bass to break the surface.  If they break the surface in an area the angler knows they can catch bass beneath the shad with just about any kind of small artificial lure.

Jump fishing or angling for moving whites in open water is frustrating as well as exciting.  As the marauding schools of white bass corral the shad near the surface they seldom conform to predictable patterns of movement.  They may hit the surface for only a few minutes only to vanish from sight and reappear a few hundred yards away.

White bass working points are a little easier to stick with.  When the surface action disappears once can troll to zero-in on them. Usually small crankbaits, spoon plugs and blade baits can be trolled at about 5 to 6-feet deep to find the fish again.  If no action at that depth then move deeper or shallower until you find the fish.

White bass fishing is often good from April right on through the summer and into fall.  When all else fails the white bass action will be there for the angler.

 

FALL WHITE BASS FISHING   Leave a comment

058084-R1-26-26

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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