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Jump-fishing for White Bass
By Dick Sternberg and Bill Ignizio
Excerpt from: The Freshwater Angler
Thanks to Cowles Creative Publishing, Inc.


For fast action, nothing rivals jump-fishing for white bass. Huge schools of bass herd baitfish, especially shad to the surface. Attracted by the commotion, gulls swoop down to grab baitfish injured by the feeding bass.

Jump-fishing refers to the technique for catching white bass when they attack, or jump, baitfish on the surface. Anglers look for circling gulls or signs of feeding white bass. Once they spot a school, they quickly motor toward it. Most fishermen cast shallow-running lures into the fish. When the school sounds, they begin vertical jigging with heavy spoons or jigs.

Fishing the jumps generally peaks in fall, when shad form dense schools that feed on plankton near the surface. But in some waters, jump-fishing begins in early summer, when white bass feed on hatching mayflies or small minnows. Anglers often find surface-feeding whites on sand or gravel flats less than 10 feet deep.

In clear weather, jump-fishing is best early and late in the day. Whites may feed all day under cloudy skies. Windy conditions make it difficult to spot fish that are feeding on the surface.

White bass spook easily when surface-feeding. Move in quietly and do not anchor. A heavy lure enables you to cast farther, so you can stay away from the school.

Motor quickly to the feeding area when you spot a flock of circling and diving gulls. A school may feed for only a few minutes. If you hesitate, the fish may be gone when you arrive.

Stop short of the school to avoid spooking the fish. Cut the motor on the upwind side and let the boat glide into position. Be ready to cast as soon as you reach the school; the first few casts are the most productive.

Drift along the edge of the feeding area while casting into the school. Use an electric trolling motor or oars to control the path of the drift. Try to keep the boat just within casting distance. ~ Dick Sternberg and Bill Ignizio
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