Flatline Trolling for Hybrid Striped Bass Feb 2, 2019 20:03:07 GMT
Post by Virginia Striper©® on Feb 2, 2019 20:03:07 GMT
Flatline Trolling for Hybrid Striped Bass
by Eric Spangler @ www.fishohio.wordpress.com
The pole’s tip and midsection suddenly snapped toward the back of the boat and the reel’s drag screamed its notice that a hybrid striped bass had eaten the wobbling crank bait.
The boat’s engine was put in neutral – but not turned off in case the fish was big enough to start stripping more line off the reel – as the angler grabbed the pole out of its holder and started the fight.
Ten minutes of forearm-sapping battle later the 11-pound hybrid striped bass – also known as wipers or just plain hybrids – finally relented and headed toward the net.
Trolling for hybrid striped bass in East Fork State Park’s lake in southwest Ohio is an effective way to find and catch fish.
It would be the first of many hybrids landed that evening before the sun sank behind the ridge in a brilliant apricot haze.
The secret to the successful fishing trip that fall evening is the secret many experienced hybrid fishermen have discovered – trolling.
The pelagic, or open-water, nature of hybrids lend themselves perfectly to multiple trolling tactics, especially crank baits that imitate the hybrid’s favorite meal on southwest Ohio’s East Fork State Park lake – gizzard shad.
A No. 5 Rapala Shad Rap is one of my favorite trolling baits for hybrids. It’s got great action and runs the perfect depth for late spring and early fall action.
Another crank bait that work well at East Fork in the spring and fall is the No. 6 Berkley Flicker Shad. It runs a little deeper than the the No. 5 Shad Rap and it also has a great action that calls in the hybrids.
Good color combinations include white, orange, chartreuse, chrome (gold and silver), firetiger and blue.
During spring and fall flatline trolling crank baits behind a boat is the simplest way to effectively find and catch large hybrids. Simply let the crank bait out with about 75 yards of line behind the boat with the pole in a rod holder or in your hands (but hang on if you’re holding your pole because hybrid striped bass – a cross between a white bass and a striped bass – are one of the hardest fighting fish and their initial strikes can rip the pole out of your hands if you’re not paying attention!).
During the spring and fall I like to target shallow flats in 8-15 feet of water. Many of the best flats have small channels that run perpendicular to the shore.
Trolling in a zig-zag pattern is my preferred method of flatline trolling. This not only increases your chances of finding schools of shad and the hybrids feeding on them, it also serves as an important change of speed and direction for the lures which can trigger more fish to bite.
Other trolling techniques include using downriggers or lead-core line during the summer months, to get the baits deeper, or planer boards, to get the baits out and away from the boat when fish are shallow.
In addition to East Fork lake, the state currently is stocking hybrids in Buckeye, Charles Mill, Dillon, Griggs, Kiser and O’Shaugnessy lakes, and the Ohio River, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife. Hybrid striped bass can grow considerably larger than a white bass and are more tolerant of Ohio’s warm water than striped bass, according to the Ohio Division of Wildlife.
So if you’re looking for a great way to catch some trophy hybrids in Ohio this fall use these tips and give flatline trolling a shot.
Just be sure to hang on to your pole!