White Bass Action
By Walt & Poppee Matan
What fish packs a lot of fight for it’s size? White bass of course. While there are a lot more glamorous species out there like crappie, perch and walleye, none of those will fight near as well as the white bass.
White bass lakes are traditionally dark or stained water. Whites will tend to school up heavily on points, shoals, flats and sometimes around brush piles. Once you find a school, you are in business. The problem arises when the school moves. At this point you can stay mobile and try to relocate the school, by drilling nearby holes or you can stay put and wait them out.
More often than not, the fish will school in flats areas and anglers will have periods of heavy action followed by a little down time. A good locator like Hummingbirds Ice-55 is key to keeping you fishing hard.
What we mean by that is not only do you see your lure and when fish move in on it, but when the school moves away, you can set your rod in a holder and then just wait and watch your Ice-55 until the fish move back in and you can start fishing hard once again.
This downtime lets you catch up on the finer points of ice fishing like chili cooking, cigar smoking and of course having a sudsy beverage.
We like to use vertical jigging spoons for white bass. Our three favorites are made by Custom Jigs & Spins. The Stinger, the Demon Jigging Spoon and the Slender Spoon are the BIG 3. We’ll tip them with a glob of spikes, waxworms or a minnow head. When we’re waiting for the school to move back in, we might put a whole minnow on for extra attraction.
There are major differences between the action of these three jigging spoons and each one should be learned if you want to be successful. Let’s take a look at each:
The Demon Jigging Spoon has the subtlest motion of all and is an excellent choice when the fishing gets tough like a major barometric change or during a storm. The top size for whites is size 2 in this lure and the top colors are Mega Glow Red, Firetiger, Clown and Pink Burst. We like to use this jig with 4 lb test and Frabills' new 26" Quick Tip Ice Hunter combo which is their Walt & Poppee model panfish rod.
The Stinger is more of a flash/attractor jigging spoon. Stingers come in size 12, size 8 and size 4, which will cover all the bases for white bass. A stinger has a solid colored painted body with a nickel spoon back. Stingers also have a plastic collar on the treble hook for added attraction. Top whitey colors include chartreuse, hot orange, glow brite and goldxespecially gold.
But, perhaps our favorite white bass jigging spoon is the Slender Spoon. This shoe horned shaped spoon has crazy, crazy action and really attract the white bass when they are aggressive. The best sizes for white bass are 1/8, 1/4 and 5/16. Big sweeping motions of your rod will propel the spoon into action. Top colors include gold/chartreuse, gold/orange and copper/orange. The Slender Spoons feature a fully plated spoon and a strip of colored reflective tape for flash.
When fishing these larger, heavier spoons we like to go with Frabills’ 26" Ice Hunter medium action walleye series rods. These heavier rods have a lot of tip action which gives an excellent jigging motion. We will use 10lb Power Pro Ice line with a two foot section of 4lb fluorocarbon line attached to a tiny ball bearing swivel and the size 1 snap that is included in the Slender Spoon package. We also recommend this combo with the size 8 and size 4 Stinger Spoons.
Another great trick is to add a few pieces of Wedgee Finesse Plastic to your jigging spoon. This adds bulk and attraction. Sometimes the fish will move in but won’t hit; when this happens, if you are holding your rod motionless, the plastic will still quiverxenticing a bass to strike!
White bass provide plenty of action on light tackle and because they school up they can be readily caught. If you follow some of the tips and tricks we’ve talked about, you can load up on them too!