Tuesday, March 10, 2020

The Lyin’est Fish in the River!

         I love to fish for white bass this time of year, mostly because sooner or later I can catch them on topwater lures with ultra-lite gear. Now that is fishing! There’s a million places to find them, and that’s what pleases me the most, is finding a passel of white bass where no one else knows they are, and fishing all alone with the ambience of spring all around, and female white bass on the prowl. I like being alone because I don’t want somebody telling his buddies, “I saw that outdoor writer guy fishing way up the river and he was talking to the fish he caught.”
         Something like that doesn’t mean a fisherman is loopy. I often congratulate a white bass for putting up such a great fight.  You don’t want to talk to fish when there are people around. When I release a big 3- or 4-pound female full of eggs, I might tell her, “I will turn you loose, but you got to promise you won’t go down there below the shoal and tell other fish I am up here!!”  It isn’t that I think the fish will comply with my request.  A female white bass is one of the lyingest fish there ever was!  You can’t explain to another fisherman that you aren’t really expecting her to not spill the beans on you.  They’ll think you are nuttier than a pecan pie.  But white bass are a lot like people… they love to eat during the spawning season and won’t listen to any warnings.  So even if you release a few, the fishing remains good.
         The best time to really fill up the boat with white bass is in the last hour or so before sunset, when tree frogs are singing and you can smell the river.  If you don’t know that smell and can’t hear those tree frogs right now you have not spent enough time outdoors in March and April.  Have you ever found that spot all by yourself where big fat female white bass with blue fins, just dripping eggs, are crowding a pool below a shoal and engulfing topwater lures.  At times like that 2 or 3 other whites may follow each one you catch all the way to your boat?  Have you ever hung two white bass on one lure?  Have you ever been convinced that a white bass in a current was a six-pound fish?  If so it is alright to brag.  That’s light tackle fishing at it’s best.  But it is even better if you go to hard-to-find places and find the whites where no one else knows where they are.
         The way water conditions change from spring to spring you don’t know if white bass fishing at its best will be found at the same time and the same places as you found it last year or the year before, but I have found that verse in the Bible can be applied to fishing… seek and you shall find!
On occasion I find hybrids in amongst the white bass.  Hybrids are made with the roe of a striped bass male and the eggs of a female white bass, put together in hatcheries and released by fisheries biologist.  When you aren’t suspecting to find them, that 6-pound fish you think you have tied into might actually be one.  When you start hooking hybrids, which may weigh up to 10 or 12 pounds, light tackle just isn’t enough.  Tie on a lure you don’t mind losing.
         When the suburban outdoor writers write about white bass, you get the stuff you can find on the internet… what you have read about them a thousand times.  And not many of them will tell you a white bass is great eating.  But they certainly are… if you filet them properly and remove all the red meat completely and totally.  I’ll guarantee you I can fry them so that that most people will think they are eating crappie fillets.  I now have a new website (larrydablemont.com) which I use to print columns newspapers are not willing to print.  And I will put step-by-step photos on it showing how to remove all the red meat.

Our Outdoorsman’s Swap Meet on March 21 in Bolivar, MO is going to be a big one… details of that is also on my new website.  If you want to sell a few items or a bunch of items, just bring a table and show up before 7 a.m. that Saturday morning.  It is all free to vendors, no admission charged.  I hope to meet lots of my readers there. Contact me via email… lightninridge47@gmail.com or call my office… 417 777 5227, if you need information.

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