"I knew it was time for the white bass to start showing up on the main lake points, but until last Saturday I had not seen any signs of them busting shad on the surface," said Williams, an Ole Miss student from Jackson. "That ended Saturday, at noon, when we had given up on trolling for crappie with just five keepers. We were headed to the ramp and I decided to make one big lap around the lake just to check.
"Am I glad I did. They were getting after it on the point at Hurricane Creek. An hour later we had all the white bass we wanted to clean, about 60. We whacked them. They were still busting up when we left."
White bass, a native to tributaries of the Mississippi River, are an annual attraction at Sardis that few fishermen enjoy chasing.
"I don't get that," Williams said. "Why don't they like it? I mean, they fight great on light tackle. Once they start busting on the surface, you can catch them on every cast. And, they eat OK if you clean them correctly and get rid of the red meat."
The Sardis report is just one of three that includes good white bass action. Its sister Corps of Engineer lakes, Enid and Grenada, are also producing schooling whiteys late in the evening on the main points.
Lake Ferguson, the Mississippi River oxbow at Greenville, is putting big numbers, too, especially on silver crankbaits around the grain bins.
"The white bass aren't really busting up but you can find them when you see shad flitting around," said Tony Roberts of Greenville. "We whacked them really good with a chrome Bandit 200 just throwing around shad. I bet if we had stuck around to late in the afternoon, they may have hit on the surface, too."
Another good oxbow is Chotard, but with the water high, don't look now for schooling whiteys. Just go right to the gravel roads and the boat ramps and bounce a grub or a tailspinner and enjoy the fun.
The good news for fishermen is that once white bass turn on, the action usually lasts through the end of the summer and into early fall.
"The best white bass fishing is in the Mississippi River," Roberts said. "We like to fish for them in the oxbows because we can save gas but to really get into them big time, you need to run out to the river and find a rock jetty that either is right at the water line or has a few breaks in it where the water is running over. You find the right spot and you can catch hundreds. Seriously, hundreds.
"And it's fun, too, since you can drop down to ultra-light and battle them on 2- or 4-pound line on wimpy spinning rods. We use a crappie jig head and 2-inch pearl grubs and that's all. Once it comes through that white water, they whack it."