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Getting Started with White Bass

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    Getting Started with White Bass

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    Type of Water:
    Large reservoirs, rivers, tri-county canal system.

    Open water current areas, especially in spring.

    Peak feeding = 65 degrees; active = 55-80 degrees; spawning = 58-70 degrees.

    Food preference:
    Insects and fish, especially shad.

    Medium to light-action.

    (from fish-n-son) 6-8 lb. line.

    Best baits:
    (from Daryl Bauer) On a tough day, live minnows will still get some fish.

    Artificial alternatives:
    (from fish-n-son) The most simple and effective method is using 6lb or 8lb test line with two ¼-ounce white dollflies tied about12" apart. I have caught two at a time more than once this way. If the water is flowing, cast upstream and reel at a moderate pace. I like to reel slow enough so that I am reeling in from downstream by the time my lure is all the way in. If you are snagging and breaking off your line, reel a little faster. Chances are, you will snag and break your line a few times, so buy a few dollflies. If you are having trouble with using two dollflies, you can use just one until you are comfortable with adding another.

    (from Daryl Bauer) For white bass feeding on the surface: KastMaster spoons, also topwaters like Pop-R's, Chug-Bugs and small Zara Spooks.

    (from fish-n-son) Fishing from shore, the best advice I can give would be to fish moving water such as an inlet, outlet, below a powerhouse, etc. Even if the water is not running, the fish tend to hang around those areas. The biggest white bass I ever caught was close to three pounds below a powerhouse with the water not running. Although it was in the evening, I have never noticed time of day to be better than another. The most fish I have ever caught was at Johnson Lake's inlet with the water flowing and it was early in the afternoon in the early summer. A word of caution, sometimes you might snag a carp fishing this way so you will want to make sure your drag is set well. There is nothing quite like a 10-pound carp hooked in the tail in fast flowing water to get the adrenalin flowing. I believe there was also a previous state-record stripped bass caught using this same technique.

    Time of Day:
    Daylight hours best during spring; night during summer.

    Night-time technique:
    (from Daryl Bauer) Lantern fishing during the summer for white bass is usually done from a boat. White bass are open-water predators that roam open-water preying on open-water baitfish (i.e. gizzard shad). During the summer they are almost always in the main body of our reservoirs, and that is why most of the lantern fishing occurs from boats -- those fish just are not back in the bays around docks during the summer. However, if there is an area where deep, open water is adjacent to a shoreline, for example the face of a dam or the mouth of a creek arm, then maybe some lantern fishing from shore would be productive.

    (from fish-n-son) Late March to early May seems to be the best months for this method, but I have caught them all through the summer this way.

    (from Daryl Bauer) Spring can be very good. White bass will run up streams, rivers and canals if water is available (e.g. the Republican River above Harlan County Reservoir) and the fishing below "barriers" or areas that tend to concentrate those white bass can be fantastic. A variety of jigs, jig-spinners, small spinners, spoons, and small crankbaits will work for those spring white bass.

    One of the best things about white bass in our reservoirs is that the "dog days" of summer can be one of the best times to catch them. At that time of year the white bass will be chasing young-of-the-year shad in open water of our reservoirs.

    Early and late in the day you can see schools of white bass push schools of shad to the surface. Watch for the gulls to show up and indicate where those feeding frenzies are occurring. Pull into those areas carefully, do not run through the school with your outboard, stay a long cast away and throw topwaters like Pop-R's, Chug-Bugs and small Zara Spooks into the surface feeding frenzy. KastMaster spoons can be cast a mile and will also catch those white bass.

    Once the surface feeding frenzy dies down, look for the white bass schools in the immediate area, likely in deeper water near channels, drop-offs, points or humps. Vertical jigging with Bomber Slab spoons, Fergie Specials, tail-spinners or Sonics will catch those white bass once they drop deeper. Many anglers will fish a slab spoon on the end of their line and then use a dropper to attach a jig a foot or two above the slab spoon; it is possible to catch white bass two at a time when you get into a hot school doing that.

    Shore anglers should not feel left out of the summer white bass schooling activity. They should concentrate their efforts early and late in the day along windswept shorelines and points. On a good day the white bass schools will push shad shallow enough, close enough to shore, that a wading angler can also cash-in on the feeding frenzies.
    �I think every happy memory plucks a hair from your head; if you see an old bald guy, he�s probably had a great life.� �-Red Green