White Bass Anglers Unite
Editor's note: This blog installment comes from Fishhound pro staffer Bob Maindelle.
If you're a diehard white-bass angler who pursues this great line-sided temperate bass throughout the year, then you no doubt share the same frustrations I do: How little attention this great species gets in comparison to black bass, crappie or even catfish.
It's as if no one wants to take that first step into the white-bass world and risk article space in their magazine, shelf space in their store or production capacity in their factories in order to cater to white-bass specialists.
Fishhound has given us a platform to launch from, starting right here and right now. It's up to us to demonstrate our interest in this species and segment of the market. Only then will we see more than a sliver of retail space stocked with lures of our interest. Only then will we be offered more than just lightweight bass tackle or heavyweight sunfish tackle appropriate for use in our pursuits.
What is happening? This is the first in a regular series of white-bass fishing articles within Fishhound's new Passages freshwater pro blog. I won't just write about that 30- to 45-day period each year known as the spawn. I'll toss out a topic, offer some guidance that'll be of use no matter your experience level, and I'll invite you to post your comments, tips, questions and suggestions in the comments box below each update. Through this community effort I sincerely hope we can garner attention for the sport and passion of white-bass pursuit.
Who's writing this? My name's Bob Maindelle. I'm a professional fishing guide and owner of Holding the Line Guide Service based in Salado, Texas between Austin and Dallas – just on the extreme eastern edge of the Texas hill country. I've pursued white bass specifically for 25 years – since the summer between my junior and senior years in high school. Each year my clients and I boat 10,000 to 12,000 fish from the reservoirs of central Texas, most of which are white bass. Fishhound has been kind enough to provide this forum so that a national discussion about this species can begin.
So let's begin. If there's one fundamental truth to be appreciated when it comes to white-bass fishing success, it's that location is key. It doesn't matter what lure you use, what the weather conditions are, nor how advanced your skills: If you're not fishing where the fish are, you won't have success. So I'd like to start this whole discussion by addressing classic white-bass locations and in this first installment I'll specifically address humps. Following updates will cover breaklines, points and more.
The interpretation of hydrographic maps in either paper or electronic is a basic skill the successful white-bass fisherman must master.
Too many white-bass fishermen fail to improve in their pursuit because over and over again they rely on community holes that are frequented by other fisherman, or because they continue to revisit spots where they "caught some last time."
The ability to consistently find topographic features on your own that hold white bass will dramatically improve your success. You'll be able to target fish year-round, and you won't be surrounded by a flotilla of boats.
When it comes to humps, think of this mental picture: Envision an island, generally oval in shape, with its highest point somewhere near the center of the oval. Now envision that same island covered by water, with perhaps 23 feet of water covering the high point. That's essentially what a hump is – an underwater island.
As you look at a lake map or study the maps built into your sonar unit, humps will appear as a series of concentric rings as shown below.
The above screenshot shows a hump that tops out at about 23 feet beneath the surface. The red X indicates the approximate high point of the hump.
Humps whose highest points reach to within 10 feet of the surface tend to be more productive during lowlight hours. Deeper humps (and I've caught white bass as deep as 56 feet) tend to produce better during brighter parts of the day.
When I search a hump with sonar, I'll first look at the upwind side – in other words, the side closest to the direction of the incoming wind. Then I'll watch my sonar as I try to move upslope (from deeper to shallower) for a clearer sonar picture.
With a solid understanding of how the hump lays out, and where the fish are positioned, I use the following bits of experience to formulate my fishing plan:
The most active fish will typically be at or near the high point of the hump.
The less active fish will either be suspended off the side of the hump, or will station themselves at the base of the hump where it joins into the flat bottom or main basin. Typically the fish that relate to the base of the hump will be bottom-oriented and that'll affect bait choice. More on that in a future installment.
Bob Maindelle owns and operates Holding the Line guide service in Salado, Texas – just on the edge of the Texas hill country. He views the pursuit of fish – especially species like white bass – as a lifelong challenge that tests the mind, body and will. Over the past 20 years he's logged more than 1,600 trips during which he and his clients have boated more than 51,000 fish. Catch up with him at HoldingTheLineGuideService.comor send him an email at Bob@HoldingTheLineGuideService.com.
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