Lakecaster Online

The mask of May
by JOHN PLUMB

 

Each year, some time in May, the White Bass start showing on the shoreline as they egress from the river spawn run. Their return is heralded by all of us that fish for the critters. Most of us wait patiently for the moment. HOWEVER. Mother nature has had her licks in on us, and as usual, the White Bass shut down after only a three week stint.

I have seen this happen many times in 26 or so years on the lake, and I gotta tell you, what's going on right now is as close to normal as it gets. Memorial Day weekend is normally the time the Whites are back in enough numbers to make it worthwhile to all fisher-persons. How convenient, don't you think? Right at school end, and prime for a vacation before it gets too hot.

After the lull in action, about three weeks pass, and for even guides, fishing is tough, and not at all reliable. You may bust them a good one, but don't count on consistent action. Varying your search parameters may be the wise thing to do. If you started shallow on the shoreline and it didn't work, move offshore and look deeper.

When looking for deeper water, creeks will be a main target. When going from 15 deep to 30', you may well see fish on your sonar. If they are fairly close to the top, or the bottom, they are highly catchable. Green or yellow Charlie Slab should be used as the fishfinder. If the fish are suspended about mid-depth , they'll be fairly impossible to catch. I do not know why, I just know it's so.

With the Spring/early Summer, usually comes the ration of weather to deal with. Thunderstorms with that electric stuff will booger up fishing big time, for at least 18 hours. Guess I can't blame them. Stuff scares hell out of me. It struck beside my boat about 20 feet away once. I learned better departure timing this day . Be sure ALL your boat stuff is working. Lights, bilge pump, and anything else that may ultimately save your life.

Every year, the game wardens have a field day on unprepared, and under equipped boaters. DO NOT GET ANGRY. If your are boarded or checked, it is for your own good. The dog and pony show ends quickly if you have the stuff they ask for. If you don't know what is the law, whip into any worthy boat shop and pick up the information. They should know this stuff. I can look at your boat for two minutes and tell you if you are ticket bait.

Now, if you get checked by the fish police, and you are over limit/under size guilty, I guess you have it coming. The limits were set because in the 70's and early 80's, much illegal netting was occurring up river, and much of the spawning age population of fish were cut up and sent across the Sabine, thusly making it legal to import them into Texas, where they came from in the first place. So it goes. Go figure.

Some great results have happened by the limits. I will testify that the fish population has dramatically increased, as has the size and quality of the average fish. I will never believe that all the netting has stopped, or ever will stop. Maybe we have slowed it down enough to achieve balance. We hope to not see another decline. The law enforcement folks do what they can, but mostly, it is really up to you and me. Of all the goofy laws we have, these made for the White Bass are soundly made, and proven to help.

OK, June should just be wild. The lake is greening up nicely, and in some areas, it's right already. There are an abundance of birds to chase this year, but watch the big white cranes. When they start hovering over a spot, beat it over there. Early morning fishers should have success along shoreline points, but should move to more open water structure as the morning wears on to mid/late morning. Near shore humps, ridges, the old 190, all should be paying off.

If you troll, you'll have no problem finding out where. Stop your boat and look to see if that wad of boats is moving. They're probably on fish. Good choice. If you jig, seek solitude with structure. Best choice. Whatever you do, don't blow it for the other fishers in the area. Try and be a good captain. If you can read the hull numbers on your neighbors boat, you're too close. Be nice and drive friendly, ON THE LAKE!!!!!

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