White Bass for Fun and Catfish Bait

Every spring, white bass make their run upriver to spawn. It is during these times that they can often be found in extremely large schools which makes them easy to locate and catch. White bass are a scrappy fish and put a tremendous fight. This is especially true when using ultralight tackle. I love to tangle with them anytime I get a chance. Earlier this week, I set out to do just that.

I went to a local dam here in East Tennessee. Dams are a good place to find white bass in the spring as the dam blocks them from moving any further upriver and concentrates them in large numbers. Since I am still getting back into pedaling shape, I decided to take my Hobie kayak out and troll for them for thirty minutes to an hour right at sunrise. The plan was to kinda rehab myself, while at the same time, have some fun and catch some catfish bait for later in the afternoon. It didn't take long to locate a school.
Once I found them, the action was fast and furious. I could barely keep my baits in the water. Initially, I started out trolling with two rods. One was baited with a Rapala No. 5 Shad Rap and the other with three crappie jigs. The fish were showing a clear preference for the crankbait so I switched my other rod over to a shad rap as well. It made for a fun time as there were several double hookups. I ended up keeping a dozen to use for bait but I lost track of how many total fish I caught.

Now if you mention using white bass for catfish bait, you will get some heated reactions depending on who you are talking to about it. In many states, white bass are considered a game fish and are illegal to use for bait. Here in Tennessee, however, it is perfectly legal to use them. White bass certainly aren't my preferred bait and I don't use them often, but they do work quite well. I have caught some good size blue cats and flatheads while using them. The biggest blue I have caught on white bass is the one pictured at the top of this post.

The white bass I caught on this particular morning didn't go to waste. Later that afternoon, I got back out to do some trolling for blue cats. I was dragging chunks of bass while utilizing planer boards to maximize my spread as I fished along a main channel ledge. The catfish bite wasn't on fire but I did land a few fish including the blue pictured below.
I have since been back out to take advantage of the white bass run a couple more times this week. They are a blast to catch on ultralight gear and are worthy of being considered a sport fish. They also make a good catfish bait too if you happen to live in a state where it is legal to use them. If you haven't ever fished for white bass, give it a shot this year. You won't be disappointed.

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