John's Journal...

Limiting Out On Linesides

Finding White Bass

Editor’s Note: Catching white bass is relatively simple because the fish are extremely Click to enlargeaggressive – eating many types of smaller fish, including perch, bluegills, crappie and gizzard shad besides feeding on insects and crustaceans – and will hit a wide variety of baits. The biggest problem involved in catching white bass is finding the fish so anglers have a target for their casting. Since populations of white bass fluctuate from year to year because of the fragility of the eggs and the requirement of nearly-perfect weather conditions for hatching, the fishing is hot and cold. Although the white bass can be harvested heavily without harming the fishery, the fish successfully reproduce only every three to four years in most areas.

Anglers will find that white bass are like all fish. They are seClick to enlargelfish and self-indulgent creatures that want either the most food, the most comfort or the most safely. The angler who finds a region that fills one of these needs or a combination of all of them will locate the white bass. Since the white bass is primarily a schooling fish, oftentimes fishermen can limit out quickly when they discover a school. But, how does an outdoorsman locate the schools? The easiest and simplest technique is to watch for white bass surfacing. Linesides will follow a school of shad and then run the shad to the surface suddenly as they furiously feed on the baitfish. When white bass are on one of these feeding sprees, jigs, spinners, flies and almost any lure in a tackle Click to enlargebox will capture them. So, the easiest method of finding linesides is to watch for feeding action on the surface.

Many times white bass, or stripes as they are called in some places, will school in the same location at about the same time of day during most of the spring and summer. The angler who arrives at a spot where historically white bass have schooled and finds the fish not surfacing is not out of luck. Fishermen can trigger a feeding spree by imitating the top-water slashing and exploding of feeding fish with a plunking cork (a cork or a wooden float that has a hollowed-out top so that when it is retrieved it will splash or throw water). Tie a jig that resembles the stripe’s natural bait like minnows or shad 12 to 18 inches below the cork. When the white bass sees the splashing on the surface and notices the jig just under the surface, the fish will attack. This tactic is successful for taking small fish. And many anglers, like most young linesides, get excited when the water stClick to enlargearts boiling. These fishermen take the quick, easy catches and never set a hook on the trophy white bass, because the bigger fish are smarter and deeper.

Large white bass like large black bass or smallmouth bass don’t attain their sizes by throwing caution to the wind and attacking everything in sight. Old Man White Bass lets the young fish run to the surface and do all the killing and maiming. He just eases along the bottom, taking his time, burning up very little energy, and gobbles up the wounded and crippled baitfish that sink to the bottom. Very rarely will anglers catch on of these trophy white bass by fishing on the surface. To get down to the big fish, an angler must have a jig or a tailspinner heavy enough to drop through the schooling fish and big enough for the schoolers to pass up. By bottom hopping or retrieving that lure close to the bottom, the smart sportsman will have his lure in the strike zone of the big bass longer, which makes his chances of taking a trophy white greater than the angler who is fishing on top.



Check back each day this week for more.

Day 1: Finding White Bass
Day 2: Catching White Bass
Day 3: Finding and Taking Linesides
Day 4: Hunting Island Whites
Day 5: Night Bass Fishing



Entry 341, Day 2