Jerry Hill of Triad Fishing and Guide Service in Lexington, N.C., hopes the striper fishing at High Rock Lake this September resembles last fall’s action.
“I started catching quality stripers last September just as soon as the water temperatures cooled,” said Hill, who guides on High Rock and Badin lakes. “I caught the fish at the mouth of Crane Creek, and they lingered there for several weeks.”
After that, Hill (336-247-1265) said he followed the stripers as they moved down the lake. From Crane, the fish went to the mouth of Second Creek, and by October, they were at the mouth of Abbotts Creek.
Wherever they moved, Hill caught the majority of his fish trolling the channel in 12 to 14 feet of water with 3/4- and 3/8-ounce green bucktails and green plastic worm trailers.
“In September, stripers hit bigger baits,” Hill said. “Later, I’ll switch to smaller bucktails and Sassy Shad plastics.”
Hill dislikes live bait because he doesn’t want to waste time tossing a casting net.
“I want to go fishing, not chase after live bait,” he said.
Hill uses his outboard motor for trolling; his spread consists of three outfits spooled with 36-pound lead-core line, and two carrying 30-pound line with double-rigged bucktails dropped behind downriggers,
The double rig consists of a 3-way swivel tied to the main line and two leaders of different lengths holding the baits.
“I let out 21/2 colors of lead-core line and set the downriggers so all the baits are covering 12 to 14 feet of water,” said Hill, who is not influenced by water color and current, two factors considered important by some striper fishermen. Nor does the water level matter.
“Many fishermen say stripers won’t hit in stained or muddy water,” Hill said. “That may be true at Badin, which holds deep, clear water, but High Rock has mostly stained water. Stripers acclimate themselves to it. I’ve caught stripers at High Rock in some pretty muddy water by switching from green bucktails to white bucktails with white plastic trailers.”
Hill said current improves the bite by stirring up the forage, but finding forage in conjunction with stripers with your electronics is the key.
“When forage resembles clouds on your electronics, you’re not likely to catch many fish,” said Hill. “The forage must be broken up, which indicates feeding stripers.”
At High Rock, Hill prefers sunny days to cloudy ones, while the reverse holds true at Badin.
Hill said most stripers this month will range from 10 to 14 pounds, with about four bites an outing.
“High Rock is known for its big stripers, not its number of fish,” he said.