Stripers on video

Rich King, who has devoted his fishing efforts toward catching Lake Russell’s trophy stripers, has produced a DVD about the history of landlocked striped bass.

Fishing stories always seem to be about the one that got away, Rich King says.

But the story of the freshwater striped bass is different.

“This is one story that is true, and you can document it,” King said.

And so he did.

King, an Anderson native who discovered the fun of fishing for striped bass about 13 years ago, became so enamored by the species and its history that he took his passion to another level, producing a DVD devoted to the fish.

“Landlocked,” the story of the striped bass, was released last year at the Southeastern Wildlife Exposition in Charleston. It has since appeared on The Documentary Channel and ETV and can be found in the International Game Fish Association’s library.

It was, quite simply, a labor of love for the Media Arts major.

“My wife still asks me why I did it,” King said. “I probably will not get my money back, but that’s not the reason I did it. I did it because I love to fish for them.”

King’s 38-minute DVD chronicles how the freshwater striped bass came to be, beginning with the construction of the Santee Cooper Dam a little more than 70 years ago.

“It was all unintentional — when they built the dam these stripers had come in from saltwater and were trapped,” King said. “Nobody ever thought about it until suddenly fishermen started having rods jerked out of their hands.”

Eventually, fisheries biologists began spawning the fish in hatcheries, and the freshwater fever for striped bass was born. Today “landlocked” striped bass are found in 36 states.

“This was my passion project,” King said. “Fishermen think it’s great, but it’s not just for fishing people. It’s for anyone who appreciates history.”

The DVD costs $14.99 and is available at Five percent of the proceeds from sales of the DVD benefit the South Carolina Department of Natural Resources’ Striped Bass Program.