Topwater striper action has kicked into high gear on the lower end of Lake Murray, and it's prime time for anglers to take advantage of action very early and late in the day.

Guide Chris Heinning said that the action has been excellent using "walk-the-dog" type artificial lures, among others, and said this is a prime time for consistently catching stripers on topwater baits.


"I'm getting the best topwater action very early and late in the day," Heinning said. "A great deal of the enjoyment to this type of fishing is that fishermen can use basic black bass tackle to catch stripers. The feeding activity is strong in the early morning, late in the evening and even throughout the day on windy, overcast days. They are feeding heavily on blueback herring, but using walk-the-dog or popping hard baits, as well as hard or soft jerkbaits and swimbaits will enable fishermen to hook into a number of these big fish in short order."


Heinning (803-236-1257) said the key is to get out early if going in the morning, well before dawn.


"I get out on the lake before dawn, and I am catching fish from Shull Island down to the dam," Heinning said. "Each morning is different in terms of best places because of the wind and where the forage will be found. I key my efforts to windblown points and humps where the blueback herring are pushed into clusters in the shallow water early and late in the day.


"I also use my electronics to help me pinpoint these areas. Forage is the key to the successful topwater fishing, and that's where I'm finding the actively feeding stripers. Main-lake points and underwater humps near deeper channels are key areas to fish. I focus on areas that range in the 5- to 15-foot depth range early in the morning since I'm using primarily topwater or shallow-working artificial lures in fairly shallow water.


"I'll often hear and see fish breaking into the forage just as it's getting light, and a quick cast to such a target often results in a hookup. If a fisherman works quickly, it's likely they can hook and land several stripers in short period of time. The fishing is excellent, but the productive artificial lure fishing doesn't last long. Once the sun gets up and starts to beat down, the best method will be to use live bait in deeper water. But the early morning topwater action is sensational and worth the effort."