Smith: White bass a favorite catch for area anglers
By Chris Smith
Jan. 29, 2014 at 11 p.m.
Each year, East Texas anglers get in on the late winter white bass migration. Starting as early as December, the white bass begin their upstream migration for spawning purposes.
Depending on water levels and flows of area rivers, these fish head upstream and wreak havoc on nearly any bait presented to them. Their ease of "catchability" makes them a favorite.
Add to this the relative ease of access to land-based anglers, the white bass is extremely popular.
This year is shaping up to be another great one as nearly every year is. Even during the drought of 2010 and 2011 these migrants made their trip upstream and provided endless hours of fun. Several recent trips to the Sabine River have indicated arrivals are here and poised for the mass migration.
The fish pictured is a good representative of what is currently in the Sabine near Logansport, La. near the upper reaches of Toledo Bend. Mostly smaller males right now, with a few big females showing up on stringers.
A few more weeks should see all sizes and the heavy "sows" most anglers seek swimming upstream. These fish will continue upstream spreading good cheer as far up river as Gladewater and beyond. The Neches River also has its migration upstream from Lake Palestine. Lake O' The Pines will send whites upstream and Sam Rayburn's Attoyac and Angelina rivers will also provide awesome catches of the fish.
Getting the fish to bite won't be a problem if they are there. Any small crankbait will put them in a feeding mood. I prefer a small roadrunner, which is a small jig with a spinner. Crappie jigs are another excellent choice and seem to work better during colder conditions.
A medium light spinning rod spooled with 20-pound test braid is an ideal set up. The braid will allow you to pull free of any snags or brush. Simply straighten your hook back and continue fishing. Monofilament in the 6- to 10-pound test is great. Bait color is not a hard choice with white or chartreuse or any combination of these will work fine.
The key is if the fish have made it upstream to the location you have chosen. If they aren't there yet, go further downstream until you locate them. Mouths of tributaries are awesome locations for the fish to stack up. Downstream of a sandbar or any place the current is slack will usually hold a school.
Get out and try your luck in one of the rivers and email with any reports.