On Saturday Feb. 1, 2003, Charlie Cypert presented a White Bass
Seminar at the Orvis store in Austin. Charlie showed slides of his
favorite white bass holes and some of the bass he has caught in
previous years during white bass runs.
Every year in early spring,
white bass, or sand bass as they are also known, leave the lakes and
migrate upriver to find moving water in which to spawn. The exact
timing of the annual white bass run depends upon the water
temperature, but generally in Central Texas the main run lasts from
March to mid-April. Charlie reported that as of early February, the
bass were holding at about 10 to 12 feet. As air and water temperatures
warm, the bass move progressively into shallower areas of the lakes
and then up the rivers and into their tributaries. Often, the white
bass are accompanied by stripers and hybrids, which can make for
some very exciting fishing. The bass may travel as far as 40 miles
upriver, or until they encounter a dam that stops their travel. The
smaller ones (males) start the run while water temperatures are
still in the 50s, and the females follow when water temperatures
get into the 60s. The fish usually move through the shallows during
the night and stack up in deep holes to rest and feed. After the
spawn, in April–May, the fish will go back
downriver to the lakes.
What to Use
Charlie suggests a using a 6 wt. sinking
line for deeper holes, with #10–#12
hooks for white bass, but if stripers are present, you can go as big
hooks and 10-lb leader.
For smaller fish, 4–5x tippet and small flies in white and gray work
best in very clear water; in muddy water use black or chartreuse. He
recommends 4–6lbs fluorocarbon tippet for white bass.
The Cypert minnow is a favorite among white bass fishermen.
find the recipe to make this wonder fly by logging on to
or just check out the Web site so you know just what to buy.
favorite is the Clouser minnow with beadchain eyes and marabou
Charlie recommends that if the water is very clear, pull
some of the hairs out of the fly to make it very sparse.
white seems to be a favorite for white bass. Most anything that
looks like a minnow will work. Early on the season, Charlie uses a
marabou minnow pattern, which will create a lot of action while just
barely moving along the bottom. Use two or three short strips with
lengthy pauses, and let the current impart most of the action.
water warms, white bass become more active and thus are more willing
to take a faster-moving fly. When fish are active, Cypert switches
to a sparsely tied streamer pattern, such as a skinny-water Clouser
fished relatively fast. Also, toward the end of the run, once the
fish have been up the river awhile, they will have eaten most of the
larger minnows, so they switch from the larger forage to smaller
minnows. That makes it necessary to drop down to a smaller streamer
pattern towards the end of the migration.