New Yellow Bass Record From Caddo Lake

Discussion in 'LUKE CLAYTON' started by Whistler, Apr 3, 2007.

  1. Whistler

    Whistler Well-Known Member


    Luke Clayton

    I remember well the first time I intentionally fished for the scrappy little yellow bass or “barfish” as they are called in Texas. My buddy, guide Billy Carter at Caddo Lake in eastern Texas, called over a couple decades ago and said something like this, “Luke, the yellow bass are packed into the Little Cypress Channel and you can catch them until you wear yourself out. They are as tasty as crappie. Come on down and let’s catch some. Once you enjoy the battle on light tackle and enjoy eating them, you’ll be hooked just like me!” I took Billy up on his invation, way back in the eighties and have made several trips to Caddo every year since to catch the makings of many fish fries as well as enjoying the light tackle sport of hoisting these scrappy little battlers aboard.

    Lake Caddo is chock full of yellow bass and home to some of the largest of the species anywhere. It’s common to catch “barfish” that weigh a solid pound and 1.5 pounders are not uncommon. The largest I ever caught while fishing with Carter at Caddo weighed about 1.5 pounds. Kevin Gagna from Gilmer was recently enjoying his first “yellow bass” trip with Carter when his Ultra Light spinning rod bowed deeply toward the water and his little Shimano 2000R spinning real screamed! Gagna was hooked solid to what will probably soon become the new state record yellow bass; a scrappy little battler that tipped the certified scales at 2.61 pounds.

    Photo by Luke Clayton

    Gagna was using a baby crawfish for bait in water about 6 feet deep in an area of the lake known as Britts Gap near Ames Springs Basin on the north shore of the lake. “About the time we get our first late winter rains, yellow bass switch from a diet of shad and minnows to baby crawfish. Once they begin feeding on these little crustaceans, it’s tough to get them to hit minnows.” Tips Carter.

    December is one of the best months for catching large numbers of yellow bass at Caddo but Carter says they usually begin biting well with the onset of cool weather in the fall and the bite holds up until summer. Gagna’s recent catch was most likely a spawning female full of eggs.

    The existing state record yellow bass weighed 2.38 pounds and was caught from the Sabine River by Zach Wise on March 11, 2006.

    DNA from tissue samples of Gagna’s fish will be tested this week by Debra Wade at the Texas Freshwater fisheries Center in Athens, TX to determine of the fish is a yellow bass or hybrid. The state record for hybrid yellow bass is 4.75 pounds and was landed from Lake Fork by Curtis Campbell on March 12, 2005.

    In a recent telephone interview, Billy Carter says his clients are catching lots of “yellows”, using baby crawfish for bait. “We are having a fishing fest with light tackle these days. Bream have moved onto their beds and I’m expecting the next few weeks to provide some of the best bream fishing in recent years.” Tips Carter.

    Yellow bass might never achieve the recognition of species such as the black bass, catfish or crappie but once you’re enjoyed a big platter of crunchy yellow bass fillets with hush puppies and cold slaw, I’m betting you too will become addicted to catching them. On ultra light tackle, a 1 pound “barfish” fights like a 6 pound bass on conventional bait casting tackle.

    Contact guide Billy Carter at 903-789-3268 or

    Listen to Luke Clayton’s Outdoors Radio show at
  2. catgetter1

    catgetter1 New Member

    Congrats on the great fish, Love fishin Caddo and the barfish are fun ta catch year round, once again congrats...............

  3. catman george

    catman george New Member

    What is the yellow bass breeding with to become a hybrid? Is it a white bass /yellow bass cross? Please advise.

    catman george
  4. Luke Clayton

    Luke Clayton New Member

    I am told that occasionally white bass and yellow bass cross breed during the annual spawning run. They are so similar that it's easy to see how this can occur. I know one thing, these little critters are excellent eating and fun to catch on light tackle. There's no limit on them in Texas and more and more folks are learning to "sack em' up" for the freezer. Good fishing to you.. Luke Clayton