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Category Archive:   White Bass

Hello friend. It’s been a while, right?

Not only has my current job consumed all my extracuricular energy (everyone should be so lucky to have their “job” be something they love to pour all their heart, soul, and time into) but the “trout season” down here on the Guadalupe has been nothing short of a punch in the gut for me, meaning many days of skunks while everyone around me cleans up like janitors. As both my job, and the trout lie in a southernly direction from Austin, I’ve spent countless hours on I-35 listening to an endless streams of podcasts while trying my best to no become some sort of unwilling collateral damage in one of the many “Fast and Furious” showdowns that I’m party to at least twice a day.

All of which is to say that when I pointed the nose of my motorized chariot west for the first time in a LONG time there was a exaltation of the spirit that had been missing for many months. The giddiness arose from the simple notion that I would be seeing a good friend I’d not seen in months, my confidant, my shrink and the provider of numerous days of adventure that fill the recesses and folds of my psyche. I refer, of course to the holiest of holies, the Pedernales River.

As any angler worth his salted cod knows, between trout and bass seasons around here there is a special time known as “The White Bass Run”. It doesn’t get the airplay that the previously mentioned seasons do, it’s more of the “second chair” in the orchestra, or the EP release of your favorite band that is just about ready to drop their LP anyday now! Suffice to say, it doesn’t get the love it deserves as most folks are pining for trout or yearning for the largemouth behemoths that lurk just around the chronological corner of time.

The odds weren’t in my favor, the internet being largely devoid of any recent reports of runs other than the Nueces, and the word at Sportsmans Finest (where I was picking up some of the obligatory Hill Country Clousers) sounding at best, pretty damn bleak. Still, just the fact that I might be able to get skunked on some different waters sounded like a wonderful change of pace.

Pulling into the north parking of Reimers Ranch I was beside myself to see that there wasn’t a single soul in the area. I hurriedly made my way down the ancient steps and hustled off down to the banks of the river trying to keep my expectations in check. Sitting there rigging the sinking tip and fuddling with knots I struggled to recall, I was suddenly shocked when the waters just a few feet away from me erupted in a violent display of baitfish being hammered by something strong, hungry, and ferocious…white bass.

Working the waters from the banks, the fish slowly came to hand, approximately one fish for every four casts. Sometimes it was an eruption of fury that was quickly cast into where an aggressive bass might be summoned, but more often than not it was just working though pools of activity and getting the “random” hook up that would bend the 3WT towards the muddy flats and have me practically choking in reverential laughter at the sheer amount of joy that this day was providing. After an hour or so of watching the bass slash the surface just beyond my reach I set aside my flip flops and worked my way barefoot through the mud and out to the main channel, easily sinking to my knees in spots, but still coming closer and closer to the rustling waters previously out of reach.

In short, shit was epic. Forty fish easy.

After so many months of some strange trout curse that seemed to suck the joy out of the air around me it was an immensely amazing display of the potential that a day could possibly proffer. I suggest you head there soon to partake of this wonderful, temporal, diversion which as for now is still devoid of human distraction.


On a recent lunch break i was strolling through a nearby park when something small, fragile and beautiful caught my eye. I sauntered over to the short but full tree and stared at the buds on the branches the way i imagine an elderly person might stare at a young loved one. I knew instinctively that the still forming pinkish bloom had meaning that somehow related to fishing, but it was a hazy memory and i walked away with my mind running circles trying to remember the significance.

A few hours later, back at work, during a random exchange that had zero to do with fishing, the mental chasm was breached and the connection came to me…

“Red buds, the white bass are returning!”

Desperate to intersect the elusive white bass, i headed west the next day intent on heading to Kingsland, a spot that requires a long drive and an even longer hike on fine sandy banks. Stopping for some Hill Country Clousers at Sportsman’s Finest, i was re-directed by Casey to the much closer and hospitable Reimers Ranch.

Having fished Reimers regularly over the last few years (during our drought) i’d gotten used to knowing the park as a giant sandbar with narrow, shallow waters that were almost impassable for small sunfish, much less the larger white bass trying to make their way upriver. It had been a well known spot for the white bass run in the past, but for me it’d been a go to carp / gar spot with low flows and little to no angling pressure.


What i pulled up to the other day though was a completely different watershed than i had ever witnessed. Gone were the shallow sand bars and wadable pockets, replaced by bank to bank water, pools deep enough to drown in, and flows sufficient enough to allow the white bass to return to this stretch of water for the first time in years.

Fishing some of the faster rapids i glanced up as a kayaker approached decked out to the nines and smiling like a madman.

“How did you do?” i inquired, unsure whether i and all the yak anglers present were delusional in hoping that the whites were this far upstream so early in the season.

“Full limit!” he replied, gesturing to the now obvious stringer of white bass draped across the bulkhead of his kayak.

Nonplussed by the sight of dead fish, i never the less felt a jolt of excitement run up my spine, after all, it meant they were here somewhere, and the spot i’d observed him fishing seemed the perfect place to start. Scrambling upstream i hit the deep pools tucked into the bank, as the kayaker had mentioned, and quickly found myself hooking into some eager black bass that seemed to be relishing the abnormally warm weather by sporting their tank tops and smacking the crap out of anything that crossed their path.

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Further up the bank i let the line sink to it’s limit, stripped slowly and felt a forceful tug on the line that felt abnormal yet slightly familiar. Turns out it was a curious (or starving) channel catfish that bent the 3WT like a wet noodle as it tried to duck and cover under every unseen cornice far below.

Shortly after that cat i did manage to hook and land the white bass in the title. It’s hard to sum up in a few words what that white meant to me, so let me use more than a few.

After years of trying to “figure” this fly fishing thing out through many days on the water and countless (actually 898) posts, i’ve recently rediscovered the passion for discovering not just new waters, but new possibilities on familiar waters throughout the year. There’s a magic in challenging commonly held beliefs (trout in winter, gar in summer, etc.) that is just to tempting to push the boundaries of. That cat fish (“nobody” catches catfish on a fly rod) and that white bass (“it’s to early / late”…etc) were proof positive that with enough skill, luck and determination any illusion can be shattered. Granted, most of the time it doesn’t work, but when it does it’s magical.

P.S. On the way back from Reimer’s i happened to spot a food truck (ubiquitous in Austin, but rare in these parts) that lured me in and turned out to be one of the most amazing meals i’ve ever purchased from a wheeled vehicle (and there have been a lot). The beef sliders (farm raised beef, melted brie cheese and made from scratch rosemary aoli) and french fries (rosemary and parmesan) presented by H12 Outdoors Cafe were so infectiously good that i’m already chomping at the bit to get back to Reimer’s partly to enjoy the outdoors but partly to sample more of this delectable truck fare.