Originally Posted by Wipercrazy
Great Picks. I was wondering about what you learned on your local lake and if you could share. I posted a thread about Small Lake Wiper Strategy hoping to get a discussion going. I would love to know how big your lake is, whether there is generally current running through it, what type of structure, times of day, etc. I normally fish with live shad (only way to go imho) but I have been fishing two very small lakes close to the house out of a kayak. These are frustrating fish and hoping we can level the playing field a little more. Thanks, Lee.
I think one of the fundametal things about these fish that I've had to wrap my mind around is that they don't all behave the same. I think this is due to their mixed genetics. When I first started becoming obsessed with Hybrids, I read everything I could find on the Biology of them. What you'll find is a lot of studies showing how tolerant they are of poor water quality in the sense that they can handle low DO levels and high water temps. What you won't find, and what I believe, is that although they may not need the same enviroment as a striper, they may prefer it. This also applies to the traits they get from the White Bass. Not only do they exhibit preferences for enviroment, but they also feed and travel in sometimes a very contradictory manner. Hybrids in the lower 1/3 of the lake behave more like stripers. Roaming great distances, suspending over deep water adjacent to bait. Hybrids in the tributaries behave more like white bass, making great runs up the rivers and then falling back to become localized in the deeper holes as the water falls back out from the spring rains. Even when and how they feed-sometimes they behave like white bass, sometimes they behave like stripers.
So, that being said, the lake I fish is very large, but the water I fish on it is very small. People catch hybrids all over my local lake, but I personally have my best luck on them up the tributaries out of the lake. Why? Well, here's my take. There is usually current up the tributaries in all but the hottest summer months. Even then there will be some current if you travel far enough up out of the lake. These fish love current if they can find it. It even turns them on down lake when the dam releases water.
Most generally with light current I find them adjacent to the moving water but not directly in it. Think inside bend gravel bars, cut banks on outside bends and tailouts on the riffles-any type of gravel bar perpendicular to the current is also a great holding/ambush spot for them. In light current, I usually have better luck ballooning live shad. In heavier current I fish on the bottom concentrating on current breaks or seams adjacent to swifter water. There will always be a big deep slow pool or hole within easy reach of them too. Long story short - These fish like current of some type.
This water up the tributaries is also smaller. I like that because I don't have to eliminate as much water. Once i get a little feel for where they are relating to structure, it's fairly easy to move up the river looking for the same type of scenario and searching for more fish.
These fish can be very sharp eyed and finicky which is more like a striper, but they can also school and crash baits with reckless abandon which seems more like white bass to me. The reason I say that is because I have tried fishing agressively "running and gunning" with artificials and caught some fish. I have also tried tieing up and waiting on them for hours. I caught even less like that. My best approach is to spend about 15-30 minutes in each likely looking spot and then move on to the next one. Sometimes they will eat it as soon as you throw your first rod out, but other days they like to herd the shad around for 5 to 10 minutes before they finally decide to committ. It took a day of me really getting on a good school of fish in some extremely clear water for me to put two and two together on this, but now in murky water I can tell when there are some hybrids harassing my bait just by watching how the shad is swimming. Long story short - Don't spend all day on a spot if you aren't catching them, but give it long enough so that fish in the hole can get excited and commit to eating your shad if they aren't in attack mode when you get there. I really like the ballooned live shad for this because you can let the shad drift and swim all over the area to make sure that any stray schools of fish get a look at it.
Times of day? definitely for me it's the last 2 hrs before dark and the 1st hour of light in the morning, but that's not definitive. I've caught them all day long a few times and caught them at straight up noon a few times, but the first and last few hours of light are definitley the best. I'll say this too, I've caught more deep, looking down towards the bottom in the mid day, but early and late they like to look up at the surface for meals. There's been a few times that I will have a rod on the bottom for 30-40 minutes with no action and as soon as i throw a ballooned shad out, right next to it, I catch one. Long story short - they like to look up and down to feed at different times so try both.
Trust me, I could talk Hybrid striped bass theory all day long. I've been obsessed with them for about 4 years now and for a few of those years all I had was a theory. It's very hard to find information on angling specifically for Hybrids. Luckily I've finally been able to prove a little bit of it to myself by catching some or I might have gone crazy.
I'll quit for now. Good Luck!