TOPWATER TIME FOR HUGE STRIPED BASS

With the possible exception of a musky or a huge northern pike, no freshwater fish attacks a surface lure as viciously as the landlocked striped bass. Though the remainder of the battle is always at or below the surface, when attacking a lure from below, a striper may emerge completely from its watery confines. At times, an aggressive striper may even leap into the air prior to pouncing on the plastic bait from above. Regardless of the way it happens, when one of these linesided monsters engulfs a topwater lure, one has to experience heart flutter from the rush of adrenaline!

Armed with the proper lures, tackle, and know-how, such experiences and trophy fish can be more than a dream for anglers at Lake Lanier. Catching big striped bass, however, can be very hard work. When using artificial lures, dedication and hundreds of casts are required, but one monster striper is worth all the effort!

The best chance to catch striped bass on artificial lures is during June when they cruise the shallows. The accepted method for catching big stripers is by working large top-water lures near points or underwater islands. The hours near sunset or sunrise seem to be the most productive, but many are caught during the middle of the day.

In lieu of the larger baitcasting rods and reels and heavy monofilament line preferred by many striper fishermen, the lighter baitcasting, spincasting, or spinning rod and reels with 10 to 12 pound line, similar to those used for casting for bass, are more suited to making the hundreds of casts that are sometimes necessary to get a strike. The lighter rods and reels, however, are still ideal for casting the larger plugs.
Trailing live bait behind one’s boat while casting with topwater lures is another way to catch an occasional striper, and during June, store-bought shiners seem to work as well as natural shad or blueback herring. Since the bait is usually being moved by the wind or an electric trolling motor, they should be hooked in the mouth.

Thanks to an excellent stocking program and several great year classes of fish, Lake Lanier is definitely the best overall striper lake in Georgia. It is loaded with striped bass that average between 10 and 20 pounds. In the past year, however, numerous stripers have been caught that weighed more than 30 pounds. During the next couple of months, we could once again see the huge stripers that were common in the 1980’s, like the 46 pound lake record caught by Roger Snipes.

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