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A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) #14363190 05/09/22 12:35 PM
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Dennis Christian Online Content OP
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I thought I would take the time to share this story anew since many have joined the forum since I first shared it in 2009. Let me start by saying this is not an ego trip – God blessed me with a wonderful discovery of how to do my favorite sport – white bass fishing – in a much better way, and I want to share it with my fellow anglers. As evidence of its effectiveness, it was used to win the last two Tawakoni sand bass tournaments and a 2nd place, 3rd place, and big fish before that. The 2013 Lake Ray Hubbard white bass tournament was won using this method. Last year 1st and 2nd place in the Livingston white bass tournament were won using the technique. The last few Cedar Creek Lake white bass tournaments were won using the Mepps method. In 2009 the late Ray Sasser posted an article about it in the Dallas Morning News. There is also an article on the Mepps.com website describing the technique and how it was discovered. In the last few years, Bob Maindelle of Holding the Line guide service has his customers catching hundreds of white bass using the method, even working with the Mepps company to perfect a modification to make the #4 Mepps heavier and easier to cast.

A pic of my Mom's physical therapist and me with a catch of white bass we caught on #2 Mepps
[Linked Image]

Many who have started using this method will attest to its effectiveness. But, for many years after the discovery, I selfishly kept it to family and close friends. You see, it was in 1976 when it was discovered, yet I did not share it with the public until 2009. I am 80 years old now and God will call me home at some point. I love the outdoors and fishing and have viewed this discovery since 2009 as a gift from God that must be shared. Those of you who have learned this method – please weigh in on its effectiveness for you. My daughter teaches music, and she says music is for sharing. Well. a really good fishing method is for sharing too.

Below are pictures of #2 and #4 Mepps Aglia plain spinners. On the lighter #2, I put a 3/16 oz mash-on weight about 16 inches up the line to make it possible to cast with a bait-casting reel and to make it sink faster.

Pic of a #2 Mepps and a 3/16 oz mash-on weight I use with it
[Linked Image]

Pic of a silver plain #4 Mepps Aglia spinner
[Linked Image]


The technique described

Following is an updated copy of a previous post describing the technique:
First, locate a school of white bass down on structure and park the boat within a short casting distance. Cast into or beyond the fish so you can work the bait through them. After casting, let the spinner free-fall to the bottom. Then point the rod toward the line and take up the slack. Then raise the rod slightly and hold steady while cranking the reel at the same time. Crank from 3 to 6 turns for 5 to 1 gear ratio or higher reels. Keeping the rod as still as you can helps you feel the bite. Making sure all the slack is out of the line and raising the rod as you start cranking gets the blade spinning immediately. However, with a #4 Mepps, keeping the rod generally pointed toward the line will get you more strikes. Using a #2 or #3, moving the rod up or sideways suddenly to give the bait a jump start seems to work best. Most bites occur immediately after you start reeling. If you don't get a bite after cranking the reel 6 turns, stop, release the line, and let the spinner free-fall back to the bottom, then take up the slack and crank it 3 to 6 turns again, repeating this all the way back to the boat.

They strike it coming up from the bottom, so don't guess - make sure the Mepps gets back to the bottom. The bite can be sharp but is usually soft or you feel something pecking at the bait or a gentle tug. When you feel this raise the rod to set the hook. Try different speeds until you find what they want. The slowest speed to try is cranking barely fast enough to make the blade turn. (If the blade is spinning, you can feel the tension in the line. You definitely notice the lack of tension if the blade does not spin. The larger the spinner the greater the tension.) If that speed is a 1 and burning it up is a 10, I usually crank it about a 3. Use that as starting point and vary up/down if needed. Try both holding the rod in front of you and reeling more vertically, and try holding the rod to the side down toward the water and dragging the spinner more horizontally. When the bite is so lite it's hard to feel it, it helps to keep the rod pointed directly at the line. Sometimes when doing this, to help the blade start immediately, I'll extend my arms full length toward the line before starting to reel. Then ensure all slack is taken up and pull the butt of the rod back to my stomach or to my side as I start reeling - keeping the rod pointed toward the line. Novices sometimes don't reel fast enough to make the blade spin. I have to tell them to point the rod at the line and, when the bait is on the bottom and slack out of line, reel it up fast about 10 turns. They'll catch some and after a while, they develop a feel for how fast to crank.

I usually use a #4 unless I know the pattern is smaller (#2) - like it is in August and September here in Texas. #4 is easier to fish because you don't need a weight added to the line, and you can feel the blade spinning easier. But usually, in August and September they won't touch a #4 but eat up a #2. When using a 2 or 3, I use a mash-on 3/16 oz lead weight up the line about 16 inches. This makes it heavy enough to cast with a casting reel and gets the bait to the bottom faster. Putting the weight that far away from the lure helps prevent the lure from flipping back and catching the line - fouling up the retrieve. I use Berkley Vanish 100% fluorocarbon 10 lb line, smooth retrieving casting reels such as a Shimano Curado and Lew’s reels with 5:1or higher retrieve ratios and medium action 5'6" to 6 ft rods.

Here is a noteworthy observation. Almost all who I try to teach this to who use an open-face spinning reel don’t do well. It just does not have anywhere near the feel of the smooth-retrieving casting reels. A very high-quality spin-cast reel does OK. The kids I teach have good success with these - much better feel of a bite than an open-face. One key factor, the reel handle is closer to the rod than the open-face so the rod does not shake as much when reeling. Keeping the rod as still as possible really helps to feel the lite bite.

All this may sound very complicated, but you quickly get the feel of it if you are on fish and catching some. I taught my grandsons, my mom, and my sisters, as well as guests I take out. Of course, none of this works if you are not over a concentration of fish down on the bottom.

The Mepps to get is the Aglia, plain, silver. Retail stores like Walmart or Academy usually have only "dressed" Mepps if they have them at all. They will work just as well as plain if you cut off the bucktail. I order mine online from BassPro, Cabelas, FishUSA, etc.


The discovery

In the summer of 1976, my father-in-law and I were fishing the Old 190 roadbed on Lake Livingston with slabs and were having only mild success. Another popular way to catch whites is to troll for them, and several trollers were out that day. They would troll up and down the roadbed swinging around the occasional anchored boats, which were slabbing for whites (as we were) or catfishing. Though I personally don't care for it (it seems boring), trolling for whites can be very effective. On this particular day, I noticed that every time this one boat trolled over the section of roadbed where we were slabbing they would catch a nice white. I would slab the section again after they were out of the way, and I wouldn't get a hit. Obviously, white bass were down there because the trollers kept catching them. But, working slabs in the same area produced little.

How could I cast a lure and emulate what the troller was doing? The trolling action must look like a shad or minnow swimming steadily through the water near the bottom. I opened my tackle box to see what I had that would look like a swimming minnow. My eye went to a silver #2 Mepps Aglia spinner I had bought for trout fishing in Wyoming. So, I tied it on and cast it to the area where the troller had been picking up fish. I took up the slack and cranked the spinner up from the bottom, and, sure enough, I immediately caught a nice white. A second cast produced another white. I searched my tackle box, found another Mepps, and put it on my father-in-law's line, and he too started catching whites. If we didn't get a fish after cranking the reel 6 to 8 turns we would stop, release the line, and let the spinner free-fall back to the bottom, then take up the slack and crank it 6 to 8 turns again, repeating this all the way back to the boat. We ended up with a nice bunch of fish that day, but more than that, I had made the fishing discovery of my lifetime.


Verification and effectiveness at other lakes

For months afterward on my fishing outings, I would rig one rod up with a slab or spoon and another with a Mepps spinner. I wanted to verify the new technique. There was no comparison. Sometimes I could catch fish with the slab, but I could always catch more and catch them faster with the Mepps spinner. Now convinced, I taught my relatives and friends the new technique. It became so reliable that we stopped chasing surface schooling whites altogether, preferring to find them on a structure, mark them, and anchor or use a trolling motor to stay on the fish. We discovered that with this approach we did not have to get up at the crack of dawn - we could locate fish any time of the day and catch them. Throughout the late 70's, the 80's, and 90's we primarily fished Lake Livingston, and many a day we'd be pulling fish in every cast and be surrounded by boats attracted by our success. They would all be slabbing but catching few if any.

I have taken the technique to other Texas lakes, and it is successful everywhere I try it. I have used it successfully on Eagle Mountain Lake, Lake Ray Hubbard, Lake Lewisville, Cedar Creek Lake, Richland Chambers Reservoir, Lake Palestine, Lake Limestone, Lake Whitney, Lake Buchanan, Lake Tawakoni, and Lake Waco.


Conclusion

I encourage you to give this method a try if you haven’t already. While I am still kicking, I am available to take people out in their boat or mine and demo the technique for them. Just PM me on this forum, and we’ll try to hook up. You can see links to a youtube demo and Ray Sasser’s article in my signature block below. Good luck!

Last edited by Dennis Christian; 05/09/22 12:41 PM.
Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363220 05/09/22 01:07 PM
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It just works. I went from slabs to Mepps myself and will testify 100% on this.

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363232 05/09/22 01:15 PM
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DC, I know you love the Lord, white bass fishing sport and the community too much to stay quiet. And age comes with wisdom too. Let me be first to say... DC fished on my boat many times and I fished on his as much also and DC always out catch everyone in the boat many many to 1 with the mepps technique, and it doesn't matter what lake.

You are a walking legend, Dennis, and THANK YOU for being very patient with me cuz I gave up a few times but now it's my main secret lure for white bass. king

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363235 05/09/22 01:15 PM
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Dam Larry beat me!

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363431 05/09/22 04:27 PM
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Count me as a Mepps convert because of the very detailed articles you have posted over the years, Dennis. Though not open-minded and patient enough at first to follow your directions exactly, when I finally "got it", the Mepps has now become my primary lure for white bass (hybrids too!). For those that haven't tried the Mepps, to get the hang of it, wait for a day when you can see lots of fish below the boat and to the side. Tie a Mepps on and use the (exact) techniques Dennis has outlined. You'll be amazed!
I fish with my wife a lot these days, and just last Friday, the light finally came on for her. She had been a reluctant adopter of this technique, trying it for a few casts, then going back to slabbing. Both with my experience, and watching her struggle with learning - maybe because of "overcoaching" on my part - it simply comes down to following directions!

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363447 05/09/22 04:41 PM
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The Mepps technique works. Plain and simple. That's all I use on white bass now.


[Linked Image] Light Blue 19 CPX
Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363613 05/09/22 07:16 PM
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Thanks for posting. I'm going to get some Mepps Aglia spinner and give method a try.


God does not charge time spent fishing against a man’s allotted life span. “Fishing is much more than fish. It is the great occasion when we may return to the fine simplicity of our forefathers,” Herbert Hoover. “I spent most of my money on fishing. The rest I wasted,” Author Unknown.
Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363645 05/09/22 07:53 PM
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Thank for sharing this technique Mr. DC! I have been very successful on sand bass and striper with it. Thanks for all the great knowledge you have share!


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Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363706 05/09/22 08:43 PM
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After many times of reading his posts here on the forum in disbelief, and reluctant to ask, (and glad I did), I had the pleasure of Mr. Christian going with me in my boat one evening to show me the Mepps technique several years ago. Needless to say, my disbelief turned into 100% belief. That evening is when I took to the Mepps technique like a duck to water, and have never looked back. I can not count the number of times I have watched others slabbing and not catching any fish, while I was steadily catching them. Not bragging, just stating facts. I have since introduced several people to the Mepps technique, and although not successful at first, finally got it down enough to start cathing fish. Nobody is going to be the Mepps master like Mr. Christian, but I, and others, have learned it enough to put fish in the boat just about every outing. I can not give enough thanks to him for taking a little bit of his time that evening to show an average joe like me, his technique. I will be forever grateful, and will continue to teach or tell everyone who ask me about the Mepps technique. Thank you Mr. Christian for all you do. On a side note, VanDam Warehouse is another great place to oder the Mepps as well.

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14363737 05/09/22 09:16 PM
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It is a touchy feely kind of fishing and I have not got it yet. But I will continue to try until I do. Most of the time SB are hugging the bottom, you have to keep the lure in the strike zone. I resort to slabs because that is what I am confortable with. I fished with Dennis on Cedar Creek trying to do the same thing with the same lure and he outfished me 5 to 1.

Last edited by SteveStrasemeier; 05/09/22 09:22 PM.
Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14364058 05/10/22 04:36 AM
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Dennis, I started using this method in 2013 after reading your articles. I found it way more fun and interesting than slabbing. In 2015, I starting making my own version of the Mepps #4, I made it heavier so that it would sink faster and I could cast it further. I wanted to be able to cast it further for two reasons, one so that I could cover more water, and two so I could reach those surfacing fish with a long cast. Below is a pic of my first fish with my homemade bait. There is just something about making your own bait and being able to catch with it.

Fast forward to today and in true DC fashion, I continue to share the method with other TFFers and I also share my baits that I make. I have also sent people the parts list so that they can make their own. I’m so thankful that you were willing to share this method and God blessed you (and us) with it.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Windbreaker; 05/10/22 04:37 AM.

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Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14364334 05/10/22 04:15 PM
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Had a trip out with Dennis last year, and that's the first time I'm aware of these techniques. I am a jig guy, I can catch here and there. But, like Dennis mentioned it catches Inactive fish more and faster. I've tried a few times after that and it just works!

-Patrick

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14364915 05/11/22 01:11 PM
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I know the technique works, even on PK ! The technique requires a specific area to toss . There is so much cedar open the bottom in PK, one must find ambush spots first, usually long sand bars extending toward deeper water. Find one that bends to the south , load the boat.
Dennis is and has been a true " ambassador " to the sport of catching sand bass ! A generous , honest and caring person . I for one would like GOD to not take him home just yet !

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14374672 05/23/22 12:17 PM
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I’m a believer! I used to be a slab guy, but Dennis converted me to Mepps a few years ago and I have never looked back. It’s an easy technique for beginners and kids to learn and I have taught many this technique with consistent success. Thanks again Dennis for sharing your knowledge! In fact this weekend we were fishing next to a guy that was using slabs. After we caught about 75 fish to his two, I tossed him a Mepps spinner which he tied on and started catching fish. I think we have a new Mepps fisherman!

Re: A History of the Mepps Method for catching white bass on structure in big lakes (1976 – present day) [Re: Dennis Christian] #14375276 05/24/22 02:16 AM
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Dennis Christian Online Content OP
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That's what it's about, Book - sharing goodness!

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