I've found a couple places here in Central Arkansas where I consistently catch Yellow Bass, and I was just wondering how many of you all fish for them. I hear very little about them, and one of the Arkansas State Recreation brochures that I have refers to them, but says that they are not considered sportfish by many people. They aren't real big, but they're as big or bigger than the blue gills I catch around here; and they have an odd style of fighting: they'll thrash around and pull pretty hard for about 15 seconds, and then they seem to just go belly up. But when you get a bigger one (the largest I've caught have been about 10 inches and pretty plump), I think they're a lot of fun to catch on a fly rod, and they seem to be pretty aggressive eaters (and I always outfish the bait-fishers! They seem to like small bits of food...)
I've noticed too that they tend (like their cousins the White Bass) to make a lot of surface noise--chasing shiners and flipping their tails up--but they don't seem to take surface flies much. Oddly (maybe somebody can explain this), even when they seem to be chasing minnows, I catch most of the with a Hare's Ear fished in slow twitches across the bottom--maybe some of the surface noise is their tails coming out of the water as they rummage around on the bottom for insects? I've also had luck catching them as I start to pull my nymph toward the top of the water--again, with the fly moving more like an insect than a minnow.
Anyway, I was hoping to hear from other people who have caught them, or even sought them out--what kind of strategies have you used? do you like to fish for them? etc... Also--how are they for eating, and do you have a favorite way of preparing them? I usually fish with my 6-month old daughter strapped to my chest, so I always catch and release because it's too much trouble to carry a cooler and kill the fish and so forth--but if they're good eating, I'm thinking I need to have a little fish fry in the next couple of weeks.
I know this is a lot of questions--but I'm really just looking to hear what other people's experience with this species is.