Written by: Omar Cotter @luck_o_the_irish_ntx
I have fished for White Bass for almost fifty years, the last twenty-two years as a professional fishing guide, and I have loved every minute of it! White Bass are an aggressive species of bass that may have their origins in saltwater. They are, after all, related closely enough to Striped Bass (Stripers) that they cross them in hatcheries to create Hybrid Striped Bass.
White Bass are throughout much of the United States in lakes and rivers and are in catchable self-sustaining numbers everywhere they are found. The key to catching White Bass is finding out what they are currently feeding on and matching it; size is the most important factor. If they are feeding on Threadfin Shad that are a half inch long, your baits need to match that in size. Using bigger baits won’t catch bigger fish, in fact, they may not catch any fish at all. Later in the Summer, as the Shad get bigger, our captains will gradually use larger and larger baits. Here in Texas, White Bass will start doing what we call “schooling at this time of year.” Large schools of White Bass will use the water’s surface as a barrier to limit the small Shad fry’s escape. When the White Bass do this there are explosions of bait and water at the surface. It looks like the water is boiling, or there is a hailstorm of invisible hail. I have seen inexperienced anglers drive right through this activity and never realized what was happening.
Good electronics showing the lake’s contour lines is extremely important. White Bass are a wolf pack with fins, meaning these fish use structure the same way wolves do. Any structure that aids them in trapping, funneling, or ambushing the schools of bait fish is a good start at finding White Bass.
Once a lake establishes a thermocline, we must start trolling for them. A thermocline is when the lake water stratifies; this means there is cold oxygen-less water below about fifteen to about eighteen feet, and the Shad starts to move horizontally along that temperature change. White Bass will key on what the Shad are doing and will only strike at baits that are moving like the Shad are. Trolling deep diving crank baits, Rattletraps, and using diving bait to get smaller baits down is very effective once a thermocline sets up.
This may all sound complicated, but White Bass will readily feed and travel in very large schools. Once you find out where the schools are and what they are eating, you can catch these scrappy fighters one after the other. And almost always when a White Bass takes your bait, you don’t have to guess if you had a bite! You don’t have to buy expensive rods, reels, and tackles to catch them. Basic tackle choices will put lots of these tasty fish on your table.
White Bass have sharp fins and gill plates, and you need to protect your hands, which is why I am so glad to have found Fish Monkey Gloves.
Tight Lines and Good Luck!
Omar Cotter has been fishing since age four. Omar has fished freshwater lakes rivers and streams as well as saltwater bays and offshore. He has spent the last forty years learning the lakes of North Texas, first as a bank fisherman and for over twenty years recently as a boating angler. Twenty-two years ago, Omar founded Luck O’ The Irish Fishing Guide Service NTX. During that time he has become familiar with how to fish humps, drop offs and just about any type of structure you can name. With experience fishing for Largemouth Bass, his favorite species are Stripers, Hybrid Stripers and White Bass. He enjoys finding new and useful products for himself and clients to use, like Fish Monkey Gloves!