White bass on the River are always a mystery wrapped up in an enigma–finned dingos forever dogging their forage base.
Other than the occasional stray, those wonderful whiteys have been absent from the picture all summer long on pool 9–until just a few days ago. They just showed up on wingdam & closing dam rocks busting shad and river shiners in top water feeding frenzy which–in my opinion– is the most fun fishin’. period.
SMB are usually somewhere close by, too, taking advantage of stunned baitfish left behind.
Cashing in on this bonanza requires two rods–one rigged with a bone pattern Pop-R or Chug Bug/Tiny Torpedo in clear pattern, and another with a ‘search bait’ to target wayward whiteys between eruptions on the surface.
My fave search baits are the Rat-L-Trap, white dot #4 Mepps black fury, RoadRunnerand my latest fave– the Z-Man Willowvibe bladed jig in shiner pattern with a Z-Man Slim Swimmer plastic in Blue Glimmer SP.
If your search bait is getting slapped–but not eaten you’re retrieving too slow. It is IMPOSSIBLE to retrieve any of these baits too fast–with one exception: The Willowvibe bladed jig with a BLUE GLIMMER SP tail. I think this is cuz this bait profile/color is EXACTLY what the whiteys have been chewin’ on.
Sometimes the best plan is just waiting for the topwater frenzy, locked & loaded and pitch the pop-R into the middle of the melee. The frenzy can end in the time it takes to put down the search rod and cast the topwater.
Boat position can be key in cashing in! Don’t try following the topwater frenzy as fish surface here and then there. Find the most frequent place where they explode and anchor up an average cast DOWNCURRENT. A boat positioned upstream will quickly goad ’em into blowing up elsewhere.
Towboats are a mixed blessing. When a barge passes by it can turn ’em on–or shut ’em down.
It’s hard to leave when getting bit on almost every cast. But eventually the action will slow down. The fish probably haven’t moved much. Good time to enact the ’10 cast rule’. Don’t leave until you make 10 casts without a response. On yesterday’s trip it took my guys almost an hour to leave and chase walleyes after they were plum tuckered out from catching fish!