I have had a lot of trips lately, and sometimes I forget to take photos with my camera. We have had a lot of great trips that haven't turned into a report. I did want to put together this blog post with a few pictures from recent trips. As of today all these trips are within the last week. That's right, all these big fish were caught very recently!
The Striper fishing shows no sign of stopping right now, I have been finding huge schools consistently every trip. There is the occasional trip where the fish are not chewing the paint off the boat, but persistence always pays off and I have a few tricks that help trigger a bite. Lake Travis is an incredible fishery! The bass fishing has also been good, but the Striper fishing is stealing the show lately.
A couple tips for y'all that may be reading this to try it in your own boat... first off, Striper are a schooling fish. They are constantly on the move and don't sit idle like a largemouth does. When you see a boat near you catch one, you DON'T need to move right next to him to catch one! Give each other some space and have fun!
Ok with that said, right now there are two rigs I would recommend, a dropper loop and a Carolina rig, its pretty self explanatory, but I do recommend using as light of a weight as you can get away with. When the Striper are eating everything this isn't important, but if they always did that why would you need my advice!? When the bite is tough, try downsizing leader sizes, 10-12# Flourocarbon will help, and a 2/0 octopus hook is perfect.
Most of the time I go with a 15# leader and a 6/0 hook, since the hook up ratio is better, but that is when I'm not having problems getting them to bite. Bluegill is still the bait of choice, however shad will work if you can get your hands on some large ones. We have also had success with cut bait, so don't throw away those dead bluegill after they get hit! Cut them in half and send them back down. I also like to cut the fins off the dead bait so that there are no spines sticking up that might deter the Striper.
Depth control is still the most important part of fishing for these fish. To be honest they are all over the water column, so use your graph. 65 feet is a good starting depth, but I have caught them anywhere between 20-100' so watch for marks on the graph and move your bait accordingly.
My typical set up for these fish is a heavy action rod with a Calcutta 400 reel. I like a reel that has a clicker, especially with new clients. It makes it easy to leave the reel in free spool without having to constantly pay attention to the reel and thumb it. Letting the fish eat the bait for 4-5 seconds seems to be the ideal wait time... too long and you gut hook them, not enough and you either pull the bait or end up not getting a solid hook set.
Don't be afraid to use a spinning rod though! I personally love fighting these big fish on a medium heavy spinning rod with 10# braid.... sounds crazy, but think about it. You are fishing in deep water with nothing around for them to break you off on. Take your time and loosen up your drag and fight them, that's what you're there for anyways!
I wish I could teach you all my tricks, but some things just don't translate into blog posts. If you think you could benefit from a one on one fishing lesson with me, give me a shout! My trips are reasonably priced and what's better than fishing all night when its cool out, then heading home and not having to back the boat into the garage, wash it, put your gear away... just go home and head to bed! Leave the dirty work to me and come out for a guided fishing trip and learn a thing or two.
My trips are family friendly and I'm great with children. Honestly there's no better way to get your kid hooked on fishing than this. They will catch something that probably pulls harder than anything they have every caught. Its cool out, you can bring a cooler with their favorite snacks, we can listen to music, and there is no stress to cast or pay close attention to the bait.
Its a great learning experience and a fun time on the water. If you are looking for a fishing guide in Austin, give me a call. Lake Travis is my speciality but I also guide on LBJ and Lake Bastrop. Feel free to email me if you have any questions!