Catch stripers, hybrids at Clarks Hill with these tips
For fishing guide Eddie Mason of Modoc, S.C., November brings sweet relief from heat, and also an improved bite from stripers and hybrids.
“We catch stripers and hybrids all summer and early fall. But we get a lot of them early in the morning before the sun gets up. But in November, we can catch them all day long,” said Mason (masonguideservice.com).
One thing that doesn’t change is Mason’s fishing strategy.
“Fishing live bait on down lines is the way to go, no matter what month it is,” he said.
The only thing that does change is where he finds the fish. That changes from week to week, and even from one day to the next. And that’s true in any month.
The trick, Mason said, is to stay on them day after day.
“When you fish several times a week, you will notice their subtle changes and how they move little by little to different parts of the lake. These are multiple schools of fish — some are really big schools. And they’ll come through in waves constantly looking for baitfish,” he said.
Mason (706-829-0428) has rod holders mounted all around both sides, the front and the back of his boat. He’ll watch his electronics until he sees the fish, or at least a school of bait, and he’ll bait up his rods, lower the bait to the proper depth, put the rods in rod holders, and wait.
Usually within a few minutes, he’s got at least one rod doubled over. More on some days. But on slow days, he’ll give it 15 minutes. If he hasn’t boated one by then, he’ll reel everything in, move to another spot, then repeat the process.
Keep it fresh
“They don’t have any favorite specific locations. They’re mostly just following bait. So each day is a little different,” he said.
In his decades of fishing, one thing has definitely changed for the better according to Mason. Years ago, he had to drop an anchor at every spot he wanted to fish. This was time-consuming and labor intensive. Now he just hits the Spot Lock feature on his trolling motor, which keeps his boat in place as long as he wants.
One mistake Mason said many anglers make is using the same bait for too long.
“These fish want the freshest bait possible. If a fish hits your bait but you don’t hook it, reel in and put a fresh bait on,” he said.
“Even if your bait looks okay, it’s probably not lively enough for the fish. Bait in your bait tank does you no good if you’re not using it. Fresh bait is the key to catching these fish, so don’t be stingy with it.”