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Lakecaster Online Archives

White Bass Fishing – Making It On Your Own

By John Plumb

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To some fishers, catching White Bass comes easy. Others struggle and depend on external sources for information that lead them to the fish. Such sources could be birds working over a school of baitfish, fish actively schooling and breaking water, or a group of other boats wadded up together. There are pros and cons to all of these methods of finding fish.

Let’s examine these. Birds can, and will show you where baitfish are, but it doesn’t always mean there is fish below driving them to the surface. Many times, yes there are fish, and this indicator can be valuable, and is worth checking out. Especially check out the big white cranes when you see them hovering low over the water. Gulls will tell off on the fish too, but those cranes are not easily fooled. When you see something that looks like a white tornado, get there. This is a prime indicator of fish schooling on top.

Moving on a group of boats is not the best way to go. These boats may well be on a school of fish, or not. Many, many times there is a wad of boats that started out to be one boat. Then two, then three, and so on. It’s easy to find other boats, and chances are they got there the same way. “Hey look, there are some boats. Let’s join in and check it out”. On and on it goes until there are numerous boats in a group just because some guy stopped to take a break from fishing. I’ve seen it hundreds of times. Not classy, and less than productive.

More on this. While it’s true that none of us own the lake, by law you do, sort of, own the spot you are on. Once you’ve put out your anchor, you have staked out your territory. Now, don’t expect people to respect your claim to that piece of water. They won’t for the most part. Especially if they see you land a fish, they’ll move right in on you and be the first to tell you to go to hell if you show displeasure in their proximity to you. Forgive them. They know not what they are doing. Trollers are the worst for this. I have had them wind up my anchor rope in their props, hang my fishing line with their diver lures, and even actually hit my boat. Then they are mad because you were, and I quote,” ìn the trolling lane”.

I am a devoted structure fisherman. I use slabs only I do not allow trolling done on my boat. I have found it to be wasteful and non-productive as a rule. The folks who chase White Bass are divided into two groups. Trollers and slabbers. I am one of the latter. I could care less if someone wants to drive their boat all day trolling. It only becomes a problem when they invade my space. Having been a guide for 30 years on Livingston, I have seen it literally thousands of times. I call them “find-me-nots”. Having talked with numerous trollers, I found a common thread between them. When asked why they troll, the answer was the same. “I just donít know the structure”. That’s bull, because they are all over it. They just aren’t paying attention to their sonar unit, or just don’t care that they are disturbing that spot, ruining it for everyone. That’sa fact.

With all the electronic technology that exists today, there is no excuse for not being able to find a spot. Depth/fish finders, GPS, up to date maps, etc. All designed to aid you in your search. It’s easy to learn how to use all these items, and to incorporate them into your fishing skills. The GPS units, when used right, can actually enable you to put your anchor down in the same ten foot circle, over and over again. Learning to use this tool can improve your fishing success astronomically. Several hundred percent.

If you are having trouble out there, I would suggest you hire a guide for one or two trips. Although I no longer guide, there are some worthy guides that will teach you their ways and means of doing what they do. No mistake, guides are just folks like you and me. They are defined as folks who fish a lot, know the lake and where the fish are likely to be, and are willing to stick their neck out to take you. Make sure that the guide you hire understands you wish a learning trip. If he/she has a problem with you bringing a GPS with you, don’t go with them. None of the spots on the lake are deep secrets, and are all clearly defined on the Hot Spot map, which I helped make. All places on this map are clearly marked, and are factual.

Guides are as different as you and I, and may not wish to undertake a learning trip for you. What we do is fairly automatic to us, like finding your way to the bathroom in the dark. We have done it so much for so long, it’s just, well, automatic. It ain’t no ego thing, it’s just what guides do. You can find one who will teach you. Not only will it give you insight to what to do, and where to go, but you should learn enough to be able to go your own way, and that is the absolute best thing, to leave the dock knowing you are going to catch some fish. Do yourself a favor. Don’t depend on anyone else, do it your own way, OUT ON THE LAKE !!!!

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