Lakecaster Online

White Bass
by JOHN PLUMB

Winter whites Many people think that white bass fishing is over. Not necessarily so. Fishing the open reaches of Lake Livingston for feeding schools is over. However, it does not mark the end of fishing for whites. In my own kind of sanity, I look at this time of year as a new beginning. I guess it depends on where you come in, like a movie.

In my 25 plus years, you can believe I have seen some unbelievable piles of white bass on the cleaning table. Was a time when Joe Average could go maul the fish, and in days past of no limits, that catch may well be in excess of 200 fish. In retrospect, it was a dumb thing to take part in. Limits came along, and for my part, I think it was the one effective thing that could be done. It seems to have worked.

Of all the many huge catches I've been in on, the ones that stick out the most are the dead of winter trips up the river and creeks. Some call it the "spring run," but usually one would not associate spring with below freezing temperatures. Usually that's the case. Few times have fair weather been offered for this time.

The conditions usually suck. Cold is the by-word, and rain/sleet/snow aren't out of the question. I've seen all of them. Once or twice, we got down to long-sleeved shirts. Usually the day will be spent in cold weather gear. The rewards can be greater by enduring such hardship, and the first time you figure the right pattern and lay into big spawners, you, like me, will be hooked.

One need not travel the expanse of the Trinity River to get in on the action. The local major feeder creeks are fine places to ambush whites. White Rock, Kickapoo, Harmon, Caro-lina, Bedias, and other creeks offer fine fishing in winter. Now, when and where are the keys. Local reports are worth only the cursory listen. The fish are moving a good bit, and location them in the same place twice is rare.

Whichever place I go, I use the same method. Go as far upstream as possible and fish back down. I target the edge of weed beds, and like to find them in a bend with a deep side. Location can be expedited by throwing a Tiny Trap or like small rattling bait at suspect areas. Follow up with a jig or roadrunner type bottom bouncer. Make your retrieve slowly. Remember, it's cold and the fish will be a bit on the slow side.

Just about any boat with a trolling motor will work. When possible, position yourself in the middle and fish both sides where you can. This may be difficult as some folks will be trolling in the wider spots of creeks. My advice is find another place, or get beyond the trollers. the constant racket will bugger up the fish anyway.

Use the electric for position. If any current is present, it should provide the drift. Once fish are located, anchor back away and get on them. It's a lot of casting, but much ground must be covered. Try to not use the big motor unless travel is required to another spot. Go out gently so as not to disturb others.

So, there we are. If you aren't deer hunting, you must be fishing. If you are hunting, you could probably find time to dunk the boat and go hit a lick. I deer hunt. We have some wonderful fish fries at the lease. If you can't cut loose from the gun, there will be some good fishing when you are done hunting UP THE CREEKS.

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