Time for sand bass to start annual trek

February 2, 2013

It will soon be time for the spawning run that draws anglers out in numbers. This typically starts to occur between February and April.

In Texas many of these sand bass may start their annual trek in January. It depends largely on the weather.

Based on the numbers and quality of the sand bass caught throughout the past year, it’s looking like this should be a great year for Granbury.

These fish can be caught in most every reservoir in the state. Thereford, you don’t have to travel far to find the tasty catch.

Lake Granbury, despite the golden algae, continues to produce numbers of sand bass year after year.

Many of these of these fish will move up to or close to their spawning areas at the first cold snap in November. Others will stay in the main lake.

These fish may travel back to the main lake and back to the river several times before actually spawning. Eventually, however, the spawning ritual takes place in these same areas.

These fish like to congregate in numbers, making it relatively easy to sack up a limit.

Typically, with the water temperatures hovering around the low to middle 50s, and if there is sufficient water flow, the sand bass will make their trek.

Sand bass and stripers require moving water to spawn. The males tend to move up first, and then the larger females usually follow with rising temperatures.

The official name for the sand bass is “white bass” but here in Texas “sand bass” is generally used by most. These fish are relatively easy to catch and they are also are excellent table fare.

You can catch them any time of the year, but in the early spring/late winter they concentrate for the spawn on the upper portions of reservoirs or rivers, making them easier to locate.

Large majorities of sand bass on Granbury migrate up the Brazos to around the Tin Top area (if there is enough water). Some sand bass don’t make it that far and spawn in other creeks, and some may spawn on wind-blown banks in the main reservoir.

On Lake Whitney, the best known areas, in my opinion, are on the Brazos River above Kimball Bend and on the Nolan River near the Highway 174 Bridge (the Nolan runs into the Brazos River below Kimball Bend). Other tributaries may contain spawning fish as well.

Tres Rios in Glen Rose is known as a spawning ground if there is enough water for the fish to get there. (Tres Rios is where the Paluxy, the Brazos and Squaw Creek merge together near Glen Rose).

Sand bass grow very fast in Texas waters and have a relatively short life span. These fish will reach 9 to 10 inches their first year and get to 12-13 inches their second year.

These fish rarely live beyond 5 years.

The legal size for sand bass has been standardized to 10 inches on all Texas lakes to make enforcement easier. Previously, some water bodies had a 12-inch limit.

Don’t confuse the sand bass with hybrid striped bass or the striped bass. The easiest way to identify these fish is to look at their tooth patch on their tongue. The sand bass will have only one, where the striper and hybrid striper will have two distinct patches.

Sand bass can be caught on a variety of artificials and live bait. Small minnows/shad placed below a bobber or the use of a 1/16 to quarter-ounce jig head with rubber tails in chartreuse, white, and yellow can be used.

Small roadrunner jigs are one of my favorites. Slabs and spoons can be effective as well. Try some Berkley power bait grubs on your jig heads.


Water temperatures are in the mid to upper 40s on Granbury. Sand bass have been reported to be schooling near the Hunter Park Area. A good rain will have these fish moving.

Black bass continue to be fair to good near deeper structure. It appears that some golden algae may be showing its face near mid-lake.

Bass anglers continue to chase those power plant black bass on Squaw Creek. The warmer water is producing some good catches. Lots of numbers of fish with some good blacks to 7 pounds have been reported on soft plastics.

Hybrid striped bass fishing continues to be good on Bridgeport, Lewisville and Benbrook. Soft plastics fished near deep structure is the best pattern for those hybrids when the birds don’t point you to active fish.

Possum Kingdom sand bass and stripers are good on soft plastic jerk baits fished in 30 to 50 feet of water near feeding flats upstream from Broadway. Stripers are good to 6 pounds. Whitney sand bass and crappie are being caught in the river upstream of Kimball Bend.

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Category: Sports Archived