John's Journal...

How to Catch the Big White Bass

Catching Big White Bass at Night

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 in 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 tClick to enlargehey always have.

Catching Big White Bass at Night
I like to crappie fish at night using a Coleman lantern and some type of floating light.  The Coleman lantern draws bugs to it. When the bugs get too close to the heat of the lantern, often they’ll hit the hot light and fall in the water. All these bugs on top of the water will draw shad and other baitfish to feed under the lantern. A floating light that shines deep down into the water also will attract microorganisms that small baitfish like shad eat.

Many fishermen will argue about which type of light best attracts the bugs, the baitfish, the shad, the crappie and the white bass. However, since no one ever has settled that debate, I use both kinds of lights when I fish at night. And, because the lights don't discriminate, they tend to attract both white bass and crappie.Click to enlarge

To catch fish of either species at night, I use large live minnows on 10-pound-test line and gold crappie hooks. I attach a piece of shot lead about 18 inches up the line. I cast the live bait well out past the light and hopefully past the schools of crappie and white bass feeding under the light. Then I slowly retrieve the bait close to the bottom until I get it right under the light. Oftentimes, this technique tends to produce more big white bass than it does crappie the longer I fishClick to enlarge. Usually the crappie will hold higher in the water as the night progresses and will tend to move closer to the light. But the big white bass generally will remain closer to the bottom and continue to feed on the shad and baitfish that the crappie and the smaller white bass injure. If I run out of minnows due to both species actively feeding, I’ll often fish with a jig and use the same technique of casting out past the light, swimming the bait in toward the light and then jigging the bait up and down close to the light and near the bottom.

Regardless of where you fish or what strategy you choose to use, often the big white bass in any school hold close to or on the bottom of the school. To catch these bigger white bass, get your bait down below the smaller fish. Then keep a tight hold on your rod, and prepare for a jolting strike.

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 5