Welcome to Warmwater Fishing!

A Fine Old Tradition

By Robin Rhyne,Texas
Up north and out west the steelheads and salmon run each season.

In the northeast the shad run is an annual activity that draws anglers to the rivers in droves. Down Florida way, the tarpon migrate up and down the coast, bringing angling thrills.

Then there is the sand bass migration. Here in Texas, and across the nation, as the water temperatures reach the mid-sixties (or when the red buds bloom according to popular lore) the sand bass begin the migration from reservoirs up rivers and creeks to spawn.

There are many signs that the spawn is underway. Increased activity on fishing bulletin boards, numerous cars and trucks parked near creek access points, sudden and unexplained departures or "illnesses" of employees.

Once the spawn is underway the waters will be filled with sandies trying to get up the creek to lay and fertilize eggs.

Some research has laid out these sand bass spawn general rules of thumb. The males start the run first. They arrive a few weeks to a month prior to the females. They spawn in open water and the eggs sink to the bottom where they gestate and hatch. The fry grow to a few inches in size and then return to the lakes and reservoirs.

A key part of the spawning run's initiating is water flow. Rainfall levels can have an effect on how soon and how heavy the spawning run. We've had no lack of rain this 2004-2005 season so there ought to be no problem with lack of water adversely affecting the spawn.

Fly Fishing for sand bass

This is a thumbnail of general hints. I strongly recommend going to area bait shops, websites, and fly shops to get more detailed data.

Streamer patterns are hot. Sand bass will eat bugs and crustaceans but their first love is minnows and baitfish.

Here in Texas white and chartreuse are good colors. As Lefty Kreh put it, "if it ain't chartreuse it ain't no use."

Clousers, Blondes, any fly pattern that looks like a small fish and is the right color.

Fish the flies deeper. Sand bass do not necessarily roam the surface during these spawns. Fish a sinking line or a sink tip with a short section of tippet. In the shallower creeks a floating line with weighted flies will suffice.

Poor mans sink tip

A furled leader treated with some sinkant such as Gehrke's Xink and a fluorocarbon tippet will "get 'er done" as far as getting the fly deeper faster. On shallower creeks and side waters or larger rivers this set up will do the job of a sink tip without the need to change lines. Of course I recommend a standard furled leader of thread as it will hold the sinkant better and longer than mono would. Just be sure to remember which one it is so you don't try dry fly fishing with it later on!

Tight Lines. ~ Robin

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