John's Journal...

How to Catch the Big White Bass

Rattling Them Up

Click to enlargeEditor’s Note: To become a great fisherman, regardless of the type of fish you want to catch, you need to learn who has the best tips for catching the species you want to catch, and then fish with them and learn from them. Over the years, I’ve fished with some of the greatest fishermen inClick to enlarge the nation. Some of these anglers, like Tom and Don Mann, have passed on to the other side of the pond. But the wisdom and the tactics I’ve learned from them work today as when they first taught them to me. The river may change its course and the fishermen may fade away, but the fish, especially the white bass, still take the same kinds of lures they always have.

Years ago, while fishing with Ken Chaumont, a friend of mine in Louisiana, I learned that you could rattle-up big white bass. “Once, we used the standard size Rat-L-Trap to catch hybrid striped bass at Lake Seminole on the Florida-Georgia line,” Chaumont remembered. “I knew hybrids, saltwater striped bass and white bass generally would hold in the same areas and feed on much of the same baits. While we were catching the hybrids, I noticed that we occasionally caught large white bass, too.” When I mentioned to Chaumont that I didn't know the Rat-L-Trap would catch big white bass, Chaumont answered, “You can catch numbers of little white bass by buzzing the Rat-L-TrapClick to enlarge just under the surface with a fast retrieve. However, to catch the biggest white bass in the school, let the Rat-L-Trap sink almost to the bottom before beginning a slow steady retrieve.Fish the lure just like you’ll fish for hybrid bass. Generally you’ll catch the biggest white bass in the school.”

Chaumont went on to explain that often the hybrid striped bass would injure and maim large numbers of shad as they attacked a school. The hybrid striped bass usually fed higher in the water than tClick to enlargehe large white bass did. Therefore, once again, because of the pecking order of the big white bass, the largest white bass in the school would hold below the hybrids and closer to the bottom.

“One important factor to remember when you’re fishing for big white bass is that white bass aren’t the only fish that will be feeding on and attacking a school of shad,” Chaumont commented. “When using this technique, you’ll often catch largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, hybrid striped bass, catfish and other fish that feed on the shad. Most of the bigger fish, regardless of the species feeding on the shad, will hold closest to the bottom. Even though you’re primarily fishing for big white bass, more than likely, you’ll catch quite a few bonus fish that are feeding on that same school of shad.”

Tomorrow: Catching Big White Bass at Night

Check back each day this week for more about "How to Catch the Big White Bass"

Day 1: Catching Big White Bass
Day 2: Catching Big White Bass in a Tailrace
Day 3: Trolling the Tailrace and Jigging White Bass
Day 4: Rattling Them Up
Day 5: Catching Big White Bass at Night



Entry 412, Day 4