Lakecaster Online

"Hyper Striper" -Bully's On The Block
By Ed Snyder

October- 1999- Somewhere Betwixt Plum & Sandy Ridges, Lake Sam Rayburn, TX.

"Geeesh,..only 15 minutes, man that's not enough time to brush & flush, let alone to be grabbin' clothes, gear, and "stuff" to go fishing with. "But, 15 minutes later I was verbalizing my discomforts to deaf ears as we launched into the "crack" betwixt the dark and the dawn. This was October, and a chance meeting with Eddie Carpenter, a Pro/Guide for Rayburn Tackle, found me fumble, stumbling my 5:15am wake-up call as I tried to make the 5:30am ramp-off. Seems that Eddie knew of some "Hyper" activity that was "happening" during the pre-dawn hours on Lake Sam Rayburn, and as our Ranger slowly neared a shadowy clump of a clay Island, Eddie suddenly yelped, "there they are"!!

Grabbin' rods already rigged and ready for action, Pro/Guide Eddie Carpenter, Raburn Tackle owner Carl Wright, and myself, began casting to some "pocking" swirls that pinpointed where the feeding fish were. Eddie was the first to hook-up as his 7' medium/heavy bass rod bowed to a savage strike of a ghostly fish, and with baitcasting reels screamin' drag, Eddie, Carl, and myself suddenly found ourselves "toe to toe" with one of freshwater fishings strongest fighters.

Known officially as Hybrid Striped Bass, a "Jeckyl & Hyde" subspecies of a Striped Bass/White Bass parentage, the Hybrid, or "Hyper Striper, "Whyper, or "Rock Bass, as they are otherwise known, give a strong accounting of their tenacity as a fighter. Although not fairing well as a tabled food fish, the Hybrid Striper attracts a busy interest from anglers who like to have their fishing gear stressed and their bubbling egos popped.

"This is just plain fun, excited Eddie Carpenter, as he landed a 5 lb fish, our first "Hyper" of the morning, "Yeah, I second that remark interjects Carl Wright, who was busy with our 2nd fish of the day. And before Carl could land his fish, and before Eddie even had a chance to re-cast for another, the calm waters around our boat suddenly "exploded" into a flurry of feeding frenzies as schools of surface feeding Hybrids began to slash through fleeing pods of button shad. Feeling much like a wagon train being surrounded by a gang of bandito's, our rods, poised for action, only waivered in confusion as so many targets of feeding fish comfronted our ability to commit, but every time we finally did commit, our casts usually connected with 5 or 8 lb Hybrid that fought like 20 pounders. Every now and then one of us would connect with a White Bass, a bonus fish which are often intermingled with the Hybrids. These Whites, or sandbass, were strong and chunky 2 to 3 lb fish which also give a strong account of their fighting skills as well as excellent repast for the supper table..

White Bass are a common species within the Rayburn Lake system, which spawn up-river during the early Spring months, are governed with gamefish status regulations which allow 25 fish per daily creel at 12" minimum lengths.. But the Hybrid Striper are strictly a put and take fishery which harbor a 5 fish per day creel with an 18" minimum size limit. Although Rayburn has some pretty incredable Hybrid action during the months of February, March, and April, when they concentrate heavily within the intake pool above of the Dam, as well as the discharge gates below the dam during power generation schedules, the Hybrids are also a strong sportfishing item for the "October-Fest" anglers who enjoy having a final flurry of fishing activity before the hunting season begins. The only difference between the two primetimes are that the Spring angling offers bank anglers a better opportunity for "hookin-up", where as the Fall angling requires boats to be able to reach the "frantic" schooling activities which usually occurs out on the mainlake areas.

These fish are strong swimmers, advised a TP&W Fisheries Biologist, explaining that you could find them schooling down at the dam at 6:am, then that same school of fish could be found feeding in the Shirley Creek Marina area by high noon, some 68 miles up-lake...... "Awesome!!" Good 6 & 1/2' to 7' medium to medium/heavy bass rods with high retrieve ratio baitcasting reels, spooled with "at least" 17# line, are a must for these critters, advises Carpenter, further explaining that the top baits should be bone/white, chrome/blue, or shad colored medium diving crankbaits, white/chartreuce or white tail-spinners, hammered chrome CC spoons, or chrome, chartreuce, or white, slab spoons. "Some people troll for them, some will drift-fish them with live baits, and some will fish for them when they're schooling on top, informs Carl, "but, he extends, whichever way you choose to have your fun with these "jeckyl & hyde" species of the striper family, you can count on having your fishing skills tested.

"Because of their rather short, but "wild & crazy" early morning action, Eddie Carpenter advises, we usually use them as an ice breaker before heading out for a day of Bass fishing on Big Sam. "Sometimes the action will last an hour, or two, or it might not last more than 15 minutes, Eddie informs, "But, believe me when I say that 15 minutes of messin' with these "bullies on the block" is more than enough time to get your adrenaline HYPED to the MAX!!

"Although we book "Hyper" trips when they are most active, states Carl Wright, we also book guide trips for Black Bass, Kentucky Bass, White Bass, Crappie, and Catfish for 1/2 day and full day trips, as well as offer special company, family, or corporate packages. Our pro/guides are highly experienced on Lake Sam Rayburn and Lake Toledo Bend, which includes National B.A.S.S. Champion, and Rayburn legend, David Wharton.

"These Hybrids are a fantastic fish to test your sporting blood on, grits Eddie Carpenter as his 7' medium/heavy bass rod suddenly "stresses" out to the bullish weight of a 10 lb class "Hyper" that quickly digs in for a long run up-lake........"geeeesh", Eddie complains with a smile, "we've only been here for 15 minutes and my arms are already worn out!

For more information on how to book a "Hyper" trip for the Fall or Spring season, contact Rayburn Tackle at (409)-698-8343-days- or-(409)698-9644-nights- or just clic to<www.fishingworld.com/rayburntackle>

(writers alert- Hybrid Stripers are found to be excellent table fare when cleaned properly and prepared in much of the same recipe's that saltwater fish, such as Redfish, are prepared)-


Carl Wright displays a solid Rayburn White

Eddie Carpenter with a "Bully on the Block"
< photos by Ed Snyder >

"GEEEESH"

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