Hybrid Striped Bass
Striped Bass (aka Striper,
Rockfish, and Linesides) were originally a saltwater exclusive species. They
spawned in freshwater streams and rivers, returning to the oceans after the
spawn was completed. It was this characteristic that caused the first landlocked
Stripers to come into existence. Upstream on the Cooper River in South Carolina,
a dam was built to form the Santee Cooper Reservoir in 1941. In the early
1950’s, fishery biologists were surprised to find that the trapped Striped Bass
had not only survived but they had thrived. This accidental knowledge led to
hatcheries for Stripers, with the fry being shipped to impoundments across the
country for stocking.
The Hybrid Striped Bass (aka
Wiper) got its start in 1965 when two fishery biologists crossed a female
Striper with a male White Bass. They also have thrived and have been stocked in
many impoundments. Though very similar to Stripers, the Hybrids have unique
characteristics all their own. They grow faster in the first few years than
Stripers, yet they do not get as large. Hybrids can survive higher water
temperatures and shallower waters than the Striper as a general rule.
Lake Hamilton is stocked with
both Striped Bass and Hybrid Striped Bass. Lake Ouachita is stocked with Striped
Bass. Both lakes produce nice sized Stripers on a regular basis.
Live Bait (Preferred)
Gizzard Shad, Threadfin Shad,
Shiners, and Bluegill are the favored food of the Striper with Shad being number
one by far.
J-Plugs, Spoons, Jigs, Redfins,
and most any other bait that resembles shad work well.
Rigging Live Bait
A simple 6 foot leader with a
3/0 hook and a heavy swivel with a slip sinker above the swivel, will work in
most seasons. The hook size and sinker weight is, of course, discretionary
depending on the size of bait you are using (4”-6” baitfish) and the depth you
are fishing at.
To work your bait away from the
boat, or to drift it in current away from shore, you can attach a balloon to the
line at the desired depth. The balloon is a standard child’s party balloon, and
it is tied around the line the same way you knot a balloon. Balloons work better
than factory made floats because they allow the bait to swim unfettered while
still maintaining a maximum depth range for the bait. They also allow you to
inflate to the size needed for the size of bait you are using.
This same setup without a weight
is used when the Stripers are in shallow cool water and is known as
Artificial Bait Rigging
When Stripers are breaking the
surface (schooling), Redfins and other floating stick-baits work very
well. Casting into the surfacing stripers and retrieving slowly generally does
Trolling with jigs tipped with
twister type tails, spoons or crank-baits can be very productive at certain
times of the year. Downriggers can be an asset to get these to the desired
depth, but caution must be observed when using downriggers near heavy sunken
Rods, Reels, Line, Hooks
My personal preference for the
rod is an “Okuma” boat rod, medium or medium light weight, and a
bait-casting/trolling reel that is rated for 15–30 pound mono line, with a line
The line I use is “Berkley Big
Game”. It is very inexpensive like the rod and reel, and it works quite well.
My choice of hook is the “Eagle
Claw Laser Sharp” Kahle style hook for live bait rigging. Hook size will vary from
3/0 to 7/0, depending on the size of the bait.
Experiment with what feels
comfortable to you and to your budget. Most of the medium to heavy outfits will
work just fine.
- When using balloons, always reel up the slack and then set the hook
- Hook live bait through the lips or nostrils for the best realistic live
- Check leaders and knots frequently. Re-rig if abrasions or bad knots are
- At least every other fishing trip, remove 10 or more yards of line from
your reel and re-rig the line.
- Sharpen or change out your hooks often.
- The Palomar knot is the easiest to tie and it is very strong.
- When dealing with backlash, fouled line, or any other time that you may
have your fingers tangled in the line, TAKE THE BAIT OUT
OF THE WATER. These fish are fast and very strong, your fingers are
- Boating safely requires awareness, common sense and practice.
- Use fishing ethics. Don’t crowd other fisherman! There is plenty of lake
- As always, wear your life vest when your boat is under way. Living people
catch more fish.Please, never litter in or around the lake (even cigarette butts). When
you see litter, please choose to be the one to pick it out of the lake or off
the shore. Clean water cannot stay that way unless we all work together.