The waterfront store at Guntersville

Guntersville Lake for Plenty of Food Fish Day 3:...

A white bass next to a Piranha electric knife

Guntersville Lake for Plenty of Food Fish Day 5:...

Comments Off on Guntersville Lake for Plenty of Food Fish Day 4: Why Fish for Lake Guntersville’s Delicious White Bass Bass Fishing, Fishing Advice

Guntersville Lake for Plenty of Food Fish Day 4: Why Fish for Lake Guntersville’s Delicious White Bass

A large catch of crappie
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Editor’s Note: Years ago, Guntersville Lake was one of the hottest crappie spots in the nation. However, bass fishing on Guntersville has become so popular – hosting about 500 tournaments a year or more – and the crappie fishing has been kept on the down low by most of the area’s crappie fishermen. But the crappie haven’t gone anywhere, and they’ve gotten bigger.

An angler holds two large catches of crappie - one for each handWhile fishing at Lake Guntersville, Phillip Criss of Albertville, Ala., – my longtime friend and a great bass guide on Guntersville Lake (Phone: 205-461-5549; Email: [email protected]) – motored across a point and immediately his Lowrance depth finder ( lit-up like a Christmas tree. “The bait’s here, so there ought to be some bass and crappie holding on this point,” Criss said. He immediately picked up his Alabama Rig – also known as an umbrella rig – and threw it as far as he could across the point. His rod bent like a limp noodle, and Criss said with a smile on his face, anticipating landing one of those big Guntersville largemouths, “I think I’ve got a good one.” However, when he got the rig beside the boat, he had two of the biggest, fattest white bass I’d seen in a long time on his line.

An angler holds his fish“White bass are great eating fish, if you know how to clean them properly,” Criss explains. “Most people don’t keep and eat white bass because they can have an off-taste, if they’re not cleaned properly. There’s a big chunk of white meat on the backs of these fish, but when you fillet them, you’ll also see red meat right in the middle of that fillet. However, if you’ll take your electric knife and cut that red meat off the fillet, the fillet will be as white, attractive and delicious tasting as a crappie fillet. The white bass is a good-eating fish, if you know how to prepare it.”

An angler shows off a large fishThe white bass, which are widely distributed across the U.S. are abundant in Pennsylvania, around Lake Erie, the Arkansas River, the Detroit River, Lake Poinsett in South Dakota, the Winnebago lakes system in Wisconsin, Oklahoma, rivers flowing into the Mississippi River and rivers in the Southeastern U.S. lakes – is probably one of the most-underutilized food fish that swims the nation’s waters. If you catch white bass during the winter months before they move up the creeks to spawn, you can catch some 2-3 pound fish. The good news about white bass is when you can find them schooled-up in the winter months, you generally can catch your limit of 15. I first learned about catching white bass many years ago when fishing the Tennessee River in north Alabama below Wheeler Dam during the summer months. Often you can see the white bass there attacking shad, not only below Wheeler Dam when the current’s running, but also below many other dams in Alabama. When you find white bass feeding and breaking the water on top, you can catch them on almost any lure you fish.

An angler holds two fish side by sideIn those early days, we caught them on what was known as a straw jig that looked like a straw and might be made out of a plastic straw with a treble hook inside the tail at the back of the jig. By casting it out into a school, you could get a bite on almost every cast, as soon as the jig hit the water. And if not every cast, usually out of every three to five turns on your reel’s handle, you could solicit a strike. You could catch and release white bass all day long. We’d keep the biggest whites we caught and continue to catch and release white bass until we finally got tired of catching. Then, we’d either fish for largemouths, smallmouths or catfish – back in the days when eating bass wasn’t perceived to be sinful.

Cover for How to Bass Fish Like a Pro - Vol. IIBe sure to return on Day 5, to see photos of how to clean a white bass and a step by step explanation on how to get the most and tastiest fillets from this underutilized fish that’s easy to catch, fun to fight and delicious to eat.

To learn more about bass fishing, check out John E. Phillips’ latest bass book, “How to Bass Fish Like a Pro, Volume II,” at for Kindle, print and Audible versions. (On right side of the page and below the offer for free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible with one click). You may have to copy and paste this click into your browser. (When you click on this book, notice on the left where Amazon says you can read and hear 10% of the book for free). On the right side of the page and below the offer for a free Audible trial, you can click on Buy the Audible book.

Tomorrow: How Tom Mann Caught White Bass

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