White Bass Running
For most of Texas, this has been one of the most weird weather patterns we’ve had in years. We have had colder than normal temperatures and lots of rainfall. The effect of these acts of mother nature have actually pushed the fishing action back many weeks this spring. Typically, by the first of March, the white bass run is over in south Texas. But this year is different. White bass action is nearing it’s peak in many heavily fished areas.
White bass commonly called “sand bass” or “sandies” in north Texas are one of the most popular species of fish in Texas. Although they don’t get as large as the black bass, they are terrific fighters for their size and they are a lot easier to catch than black bass. Another bonus is that the bag limits on white bass are generous and it does not take a lot of angler savvy to be able to catch an ice chest full.
The annual white bass run, marks a special time of the year for many anglers. It provides them with a chance to cure their “cabin fever” during a time of year that most other fish don’t bite. This is when the white bass make their move up river to spawn.
Unlike black bass that spawn in a specific location (by depositing their eggs to be fertilized), the white bass uses the current of the river to carry its’ eggs down stream where the male fertilizes the eggs as they are carried in the current. Without adequate current, the eggs will not be carried properly and the fish will not bunch up as well. This is the primary reason that fishing for white bass can be all or nothing. One day you may load the boat and the next day hardly a bite. The reason is that the fish have moved due to the change in the current.
Fishing for white bass is easy in comparison to black bass fishing. For both species, locating them is the problem. But once you’ve located the white bass, you can expect to catch more than one. Trolling a small lipless crankbait (such as a chrome Rattling Rapala) at slow speed heading up the river (in to the current) will help you find them. Once you get the first bite, continue fishing just above that area. That’s when you can change up to many other lures that will work. Shoreline cover can be more effectively fished with small jigs and I’ve seen it where one particular piece of structure will hold most of the fish. The reason why? The current flowing past the object.
A medium action rod and a reel spooled with twelve pound test line is all you need to handle these fish. Make sure to take along a landing net because the current in the river can make it difficult to boat them.
There are some years that the white bass run doesn’t seem to happen. But it does. These years they may not run up the rivers looking for the proper current to deposit their eggs. Instead they seek main lake points that have wind causing adequate current. Typically these situations are the best fishing of all. They tend to cause the fish to be more concentrated and obviously less pressured by other anglers. But they are more difficult to find. That’s when you should rely on a good quality fish finder.
If you are one of those that waits until word is all over town about the white bass run, before you plan your trip, then odds are you are not going to hit it right. By the time you get there it will either be too crowded with other anglers or the fish will probably already be heading back to the main lake. Typically most anglers wait too long and never seem to hit it right.
Now is the time to make plans if you want to take advantage of the white bass run. To obtain current information on where the white bass are biting today, log on to our website forum at keithwarren.net. The information on the forum is posted by anglers all over the state and is accurate. More importantly it is current information and it has postings on many different bodies of water. This information will tell you where the fish were biting only hours ago. Timing the white bass run right is critical to catching a bunch of fish. Many old methods of reporting fishing activity (like this newspaper column) simply can’t relay the information to the outdoorsman instantly. Therefore, by the time they receive the news and make it to the water, the fishing has slowed. But you’ll get fresh reporting on this forum site.
As of this writing (and the current posts on the site), the whites are going gangbusters in the Sabine River, Guadalupe River at Canyon Lake and Choke Canyon. The Llano and Colorado Rivers appear to be nearing their peak action in about two weeks. By checking the information on the site can help you go catching rather than fishing.
Here are a couple of additional tips. Make sure and have a valid fishing license and measure your catch. Game wardens are out in droves and write lots of citations because many white bass anglers unknowingly do not follow the law. Take along plenty of extra clothes because a cold front can blow in and you’ll be miserable other wise.
One more thing. Once you’ve located a bunch of white bass, use them to help recruit another person in to fishing. White bass will provide the right amount of action that can get more folks fishing. Make sure and share the fun.