The smallest of temperature drops can make a big difference
Jerry Hill of Triad Fishing and Guide Service in Lexington, N.C., said the striper fishing at High Rock Lake is pretty slow for most of August. But a slight cool-down near the end of the month often triggers the bite.
“During the last week of August, water temperatures cool down some, and the striper action picks up,” said Hill (336-247-1265). “Last year, the bite didn’t really begin until early September. So fishermen need to keep checking for lower water temperatures.”
Hill said High Rock’s dingy water, caused in part by heavy rains, isn’t as much of a problem as some fishermen think.
“We’ve had persistent rains again this season. And High Rock has been muddy most of the time,” he said. “But stripers will hit in dirty water.”
When the late August cool-down arrives, Hill said stripers will be suspended 12 to 16 feet down in water 24 to 28 feet deep. Likely hangouts include the mouths of Sailboat Neck and Second Creek and the main channel in Abbotts Creek. Anglers should check these places for fish and forage.
Slow-trolling is the key
Hill slow-trolls at 2.3 to 2.5 mph with three colors of leadcore line out and downriggers set on 10 or 12. This makes his baits run 14 to 15 feet deep. He uses 30-pound line on the downriggers with a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader. His rigs employ 3/4- to 3/8-ounce green bucktail jigs with green plastic-worm trailers.
“Green on green has always worked best for me at High Rock, so why change?” Hill asked. “At times, I’ll try white on white. But I mostly stay with green.”
Hill said the fishing always improves when the lake is pulled and the water drops a couple of feet.
“I wish (they) would keep the water down so boats could always get under the bridges,” he said. “The striper activity is always better when the lake is down and the water is moving.”
Hill said stripers usually run from 8 to 12 pounds in the summer. But last year an unusual number of 5- to 8-pound fish were caught.
“For some crazy reason, not many small stripers are caught at High Rock,” Hill said. “High Rock’s not known for giving up numbers of stripers. But when you do catch one, you’re often battling a fish that weighs close to 10 pounds.”