Striper swiping on Lake Murray

Jacob Reome shows off an early morning Lake Murray striper. (Picture by Brian Cope)

Lake Murray’s stripers feed heavily in May

For Jacob Reome of Gaffney, SC, catching stripers on Lake Murray is usually not a problem this month, even though they aren’t his usual target species.

“In May, the first hour or two of morning sunlight is prime time for catching stripers on topwater lures. I learned this years ago while targeting largemouth bass,” said Reome.

Most of his time on this lake has been during bass fishing tournaments, so he couldn’t always enjoy those striper bites as much as he’d liked to.

“It starts off as kind of a letdown when you’re competing in a tournament for largemouth. You feel that really good bite, then you realize it’s the wrong species. But it really helps keep the fun in fishing, because these fish are a blast to catch,” he said.

Reome said fishing in small coves with topwater plugs is a good way to catch stripers right now, even though anglers who are specifically targeting them are often looking for big schools of stripers in open water.

“Especially first thing in the morning, the stripers are just patrolling all over, looking for baitfish. So when big schools of baitfish are in these small coves, the stripers are chasing them aggressively. It’s a great place to target largemouth, but when the stripers are there, they’re going to crush your lure,” he said.

A little bit of wind is a big help.

“When you have some wind, it’s a little easier to find the schools of baitfish. They’ll be concentrated along the windblown banks, and the stripers chase them constantly,” he said.

Buzzbaits will draw strikes. On some days, anything you work across the surface will. But for the most part, stripers seem to like lures that either pause or stop completely during the retrieve.

Sammys, Spooks , Pop-R’s and other lures that work with a “walk-the-dog” retrieve are tough to beat.

Not just on top

Stripers will also crash spinnerbaits, flukes and other lures that run below the surface

“Stripers are really aggressive this month. So if you put just about any type of lure around them, they’re going to crush it, especially first thing in the morning,” Reome said.

And when anglers find a cove that is absent of stripers, they’ll get rewarded by largemouth bass.

“The largemouth are pretty aggressive this time of year too, and even when stripers are present, you can usually catch a mix of both species. But when you find a cove that the stripers have left, you can get on a consistent largemouth bite,” he said.

But Reome doesn’t mind when he’s in the mix.

“You can’t help but smile when you’re catching stripers. Even during a bass tournament, when you feel like you’re wasting time weeding through the wrong species, it’s tough to be disappointed when a striper gets ahold of your lure. Sometimes when you see a striper, you’ll find yourself casting to them, hoping they’ll bite your lure, even though you’re still chasing a limit of largemouth with little time to spare.

“They just fight so hard. They’re a lot of fun to catch,” he said.

About Brian Cope 2762 Articles
Brian Cope is the editor of Carolina Sportsman. He has won numerous awards for his writing, photography, and videography. He is a retired Air Force combat communications technician, and has a B.A. in English Literature from the University of South Carolina. You can reach him at

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