I have a good friend who is a big fisherman. He’s a purist, but can be pur-suaded to change from time to time. He used to be a purist largemouth bass fisherman. He changed. Now he’s a purist crappie fisherman. He’s also a purist hater of the poor little yellow bass. I don’t think that will ever change. When another friend brought some yellow bass filets along with crappie filets to a fish fry that we were all attending, friend No. 1 gagged. He took his plate to the other side of the room to get away from the people who actually ate those little yellow bass filets.
I was with him in the boat one day when he caught one. He said mean things about the fiesty little fish, then beat it against the side of the boat in a manner that would deeply disturb the most patient and understanding PETA member. He then put on plastic gloves, cut off his bait and put it aside (I presumed because he was going to either bury it or dispose of it at a hazardous waste site.
They are fiesty fighters. They don’t taste THAT bad if you are really hungry and cut out the little red streak down their back and well, they aren’t good, but they aren’t bad… Just ask anybody that eats goo…
This time of year, yellow bass are very active in lakes like D’Arbonne and they often think crappie jigs are yellow bass jigs, biting them frequently and knocking the yellow bass nibbles right off the hook. They give yo yo fishermen fits. On a few lonely days, I’ve been saved from being skunked by catching a handful of yellow bass. If my friend is still reading, he just passed out to know that I admitted that. But on to the real story.
Here’s some fish facts. Both yellow bass and crappie are native fish species and co-inhabitants of D’Arbonne Lake since it’s impoundment 50 years ago. Both species have the same relationship in waters that we consider to be pretty good for crappie (i.e. Toledo Bend, Caney & Larto Lake). They share the same types of forage items (shad, silversides, invertebrates). I expect that a young crappie should be careful to avoid becoming yellow bass forage… and vice versa.
There are some that think the yellow bass will take over crappie lakes on day. It could happen but isn’t likely. However, there isn’t much out there to keep them from growing in numbers.
Both species (and channel catfish) are becoming more abundant in D’Arbonne Lake because of the slow, but sure habitat trend toward more open water habitat. Here’s something that is interesting. Yellow bass are not bottom nesting fish. Their eggs stick to vegetation, woody material, etc. I think they particularly like the wood poles that my boat dock are mounted on. As such, they do not share the same risks as nest building fish with regards to water level fluctuation.
In the event that crappie production were to become limited for some reason, my inside sources at fishbiology.com tell me that yellow bass could be expected to become more abundant to fill the vacant niche in nature. Oh my. Now I’ve gone and done it. If my friend was able to read to the end of this, he won’t be able to get any pure sleep tonight….