Catching White Bass

One of the most active types of fishing is fishing for white bass.  They are a schooling fish and are found in numbers.  This leads to either on or off fishing.  If you find fish, you can really clean up.  Schooling fish tend to push baitfish into ambushes.  It can be against a bank or out in the middle of the lake.  Find the baitfish and the likelihood of finding fish is great.

Lets talk about white bass.  We tend to lump yellow bass and white bass together when we are fishing but the two are distinctly different.  The yellow bass does have the traditional bass shaped mouth.  It opens bigger than it looks but is more a tube shape.  Its head is also more sloped.  The front part of the dorsal is larger and joined to rest of the dorsal.  The yellow bass also has no tooth patch at the back of the tongue.

White bass also get confused with striped bass and hybrid striped bass.  A white bass has only one tooth patch on the back of the tongue.  The striped and hybrid striped bass both have two tooth patches on the back of the tongue.  The stripes will also tell you who is who.  The white bass has only one true line that runs from front to back.   The rest are very faint and broken.  the striper, hence the name, have a number of lines that extend all the way to the tail.    The body on a white bass is deep.  It gives the fish a look of short stubbiness.  The striper is lean and looks more powerful.   The hybrid striper is deep in body like the white bass but larger and more powerful like the striper.

The limit for white bass in Texas is 25 of at least 10 inches.    Stripers and hybrid stripers  (at least 18 inches)have a limit of 5 in any combination.  Yellow bass have no limit.  Yellow bass and white bass are more of a panfish.  Check for individual lake or river regulations and restrictions.

White bass can be caught day or night.  They will bite many types of bait and lures.  I have had tremendous luck with live minnows or shad.  Keeping shad alive is always a challenge.  A nice little trick I use to help keep my bait alive is to add a little salt to the water and some ice from the ice chest.  The small fish are very easily overheated and killed.  When white bass are worked up into a frenzy, you can catch them on almost anything moving.  The reaction strike is prevalent during feeding.  I have actually caught many a white on a bare hook while reeling it in.  Slabs or jigs are typically the most universally used lures for this application.

When picking a spot to hunt for these schools,   I have a few good ways to do so.  I first scan the banks and top of the water for baitfish being pushed.  This takes a careful eye.  We do have some help with this.  Our friends the birds are opportunists and will capitalize on the work the fish have gone to to get those baitfish to the surface.  Find feeding birds – find fish under them.  Another little trick that has worked for me when you are dealing with a school that moves fast out in the middle of the lake, is the balloon technique.  Take a small fish you have caught and safety pin a balloon on a 30 -40 ft leader and release him.  the balloon should be a bright, easy to see color.  Just follow the balloon.  These are schooling fish and they will seek others.  Try to do the right thing and release the unwitting guide from his leader at the end of fishing.

Looking for a tooth patch requires a look down the throat.

Looking for a tooth patch requires a look down the throat.

White bass are usually on or off.  You are usually either catching or not.

White bass are usually on or off. You are usually either catching or not.

Hybrid stripers are larger and more powerful.

Hybrid stripers are larger and more powerful.

Finding the bait fish can lead to an active fishing session.

Finding the bait fish can lead to an active fishing session.

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