Now’s time for slabs

March 30, 2013

I use slabs most of the year. However, the spring and fall is probably the best time of the year to use them.

The one function of a slab that does not get much attention is its use to locate fish. It will work if you can give it a try, especially on white bass, hybrids and stripers.

A slab is just a solid oval or willow leafed lure made to resemble a bait fish. Favorite colors are silver, chartreuse and white. Holographic designs are real popular and work well.

Slabs are typically used for vertical jigging, but they can also be thrown and retrieved. In the winter you can dead stick them over areas as well.

If the birds don’t point you to active fish and you have to go looking for fish, the slab is a good choice. One thing for sure is that white bass (sand bass), hybrid striped bass and/or striped bass typically are in the same areas on a body of water.

Not all times of the year, but the majority of the time they will be close to each other. Using this information lets me work known areas where fish typically hold with a slab looking for a bite.

I will work different areas until I can find a location where I start getting bit. Typically, the sand bass will be the first to bite, either due to feeding or just reactionary hits.

Seeing them on the graph is one thing, getting them to bite can be a chore on some days. However, if one is willing to bite, then more than likely there will be others close by that may have the same desire.

Some may be deeper and others may be closer to the bank in shallower water. You know what they say, 90 percent of the fish are in 10 percent of the water.

Most of the better locations where fish are located are near structure or changes in depth. I will work the slab bouncing it off the bottom and continue to move around working shallow to deeper water.

If you don’t get a bite, move to the next spot. If the graph looked good, you may want to try that spot later as they may feed later in the day at that spot.

This past weekend on Possum Kingdom I traveled from the Dam to above Costello Island looking for fish. Unfortunately, Possum Kingdom was experiencing some golden algae near midlake but we did find some clean water with some fish willing to feed.

Since winter will not leave this year, it was my goal to work water 15 to 40 feet to find some active fish. Water temperatures were in the middle to upper 50s, and most of the bait fish were in 35 feet of water or deeper on this day.

I finally started getting bit in 25 to 30 feet of water after slabbing an area for over 30 minutes. It took us a lot of traveling on this day to finally find some fish willing to bite.

The slab is an effective fish locator, for sure. Once you locate some fish willing to bite, you can then use other baits focusing on the bigger species. This time of the year, soft plastics/swim baits are deadly on stripers/hybrids.

Putting out live bait after locating fish with slabs may be on order on those days when the fish are a little more finicky.

When you are working your slab in an area, many will tap their boats or thrash the water to bring in any curious predators. This does work as I thrash the water all the time when fishing open water.

Choosing the size of the slab to match what the fish are feeding on is the general consensus. However, a larger bait may keep some of the smaller sand bass away so that those larger striped fish will bite. If the fish are actively feeding on a school of bait fish, the slab will be most effective if you can match the size of bait they are feeding on.

If you want to mimic a small bait and use a heavy slab or spoon to get deeper, a treble hook with some hair/feathers like a bucktail can make the difference. The small treble hook with some flashy hair/feathers looks like a small bait fish itself and the action from the large slab is what draws the fish in to look.


Water temperatures this past weekend and early this past week were in the middle to upper 50s. Hopefully, winter is finally over.

Granbury, Possum Kingdom and Whitney have reported some fish kills due to golden algae. However, each one of these Brazos lakes has clean water where fish are being caught. We just need winter to end and a good gully washer.

Granbury black bass continue to be caught in numbers on the lower ends. Whitney sand bass action is good by McCown Valley and Bee Bluffs. Some good action near Kimball Bend has been reported as well. Possum Kingdom sand bass are near Costello Island and upstream .

Squaw Creek black bass action continues to be good to excellent to 6 pounds near main lake points and underwater structure. Some good catfish reports are coming in too from Squaw Creek.

Other lakes that reporting good to excellent catches of sand bass and hybrid stripers include Lake Lewisville and Ray Hubbard. Benbrook is being filled via the pipeline so access is improving there. Proctor sand bass and hybrid action are good as well near Sowell Creek Park.

Crappie action at Benbrook and Bridgeport is reported as good before the last cold snap. TPWD is reporting Possum Kingdom has an abundance of catfish based on a recent survey where they use electrofishing and gill nets.

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Category: Sports Archived