Summertime striper fishing
One Man's Passion
This is one of the great times of the year to be at any of Southern California’s premier lakes that hold large quantities of striper. Castaic, Pyramid and Silver wood, to name a few, are great for catching the feisty hard fighting fish. If you have never chased after and caught Stripers you have missed some of the most exciting fishing Southern California has to offer. During summer the “line sides” feed very aggressively on lake shade, small bass and perch. During summer–Stripers are fish on the move; they are chasing schools of Shad all over the lake from morning until evening. If you can chase them from a boat you will certainly have a great advantage in hooking up.
Lots of folks catch them from shore and to help you succeed, I will share a few tricks with you. First–is finding areas that are more promising than others. That comes with time and experience; however, one of the easiest ways is to watch where others are heading. Whether from shore or boat, observation is key. If you have the advantage of a boat, move around the lake looking for breaking fish, meaning Stripers chasing Shad to the surface. The water will erupt and look like a washing machine. Once you have spotted the fish move quickly and be ready to cast. One note about this, do not move into the fish, stay 15 to 25 yards from where the fish blew up.
If the school of Shad is large enough the Stripers may feed from a few seconds to minutes, one is never sure how long it will last. Be ready to move again after the fish sound; they will reappear somewhere near where they last came up. Gear for this type of fishing can vary from spinning rods with 6lb test to ocean type rods with 80lb braid and large trout lures. I keep at least 6 rods on the deck with different lures ready to go at a moments notice. From top water to Rattle Traps, it just depends on the size of the fish and the number. If shore fishing is your choice, look for points with cuts. Cuts are a narrow V shape in the shore line structure. Stripers are notorious for pushing Shad right up on the bank, condensing the school of shade as tight as they can. Longer rods are a big plus for shore fishing when the stripers break further out from the shore line. If you can’t reach them, you can’t catch them!
Besides Stripers there is a good chance you will also catch Largemouth and Smallmouth Bass. They have adapted over the years to assimilate how Stripers feed. Stripe Bass are much more aggressive then “Largies” and “Smallies” and have figured out how to compete with them. More times than not the Largemouth and Smallmouth will be closer to shore so you have a better chance to catch multiple species in one place. Lure choices are not too varied in Striper fishing. When they are on the Shad, Shad imitations are the best choice. The size of the lure is the real issue here. If you see dead Shad floating on the surface take note of the size and try to duplicate it. Sometimes a simple Kast Master is a great choice in chrome. I add feathers to the hooks and eyes to make them more real looking. Small changes can make for more hook-ups.
As most of you may know from reading my past articles, I am a great advocate of catch and release. However, if there is one fish that I will take for a meal, Stripers are it. They reproduce in great numbers and really taste good! Stripers in lakes can grow to 40 plus pounds and make for great sport so be ready to hang on. Once bit, they will tear line from your reel and smoke a drag in no time. This is the great fun of Striper fishing; you never know what’s lurking below the surface!