This month I will focus on two species of fish I have found to be extremely exciting and absolutely the most frustrating species to harvest.
In our lakes and rivers, we have two types of bass that are without question two of the strongest-fighting, line-breaking, lure-crushing types of bass. They are the striped and hybrid bass. The stories of crappie fishers encountering these brutes on their light tackle usually end with the bass breaking their tackle and swimming off. If you are going to attempt to catch these fish, you will need to understand the techniques and tackle it takes to subdue these “linebackers” of the water. Let’s take each one and look at the how to of catching these fish.
The first one we will examine is the hybrid bass, a cross between a white bass and a striper. These fish are produced locally at a hatchery in Holt. These fish do not spawn, therefore stocking in our area waters is a necessity. They range in size from 2 to 15 pounds and their forage is usually minnows and shrimp. I have caught a few small ones on earthworms, but most are caught on live bait.
My biggest hybrid bass was in the 10-pound range and smashed a jerk bait that I was catching speckled trout with in the delta. Many people target these fish in the lakes and rivers using medium-sized fishing gear. Spinning tackle or bait casters will work; the choice is yours.
A friend of mine caught a hybrid in the river delta last winter that was 9.5 pounds. The interesting thing was that this fish had four, 5-inch finger mullet in its mouth when it bit his lure. These fish will bite lures during their feeding frenzy, but live bait will get you more bites. The table fare of the hybrid is excellent, and you can cook it any way that you desire.
Now for the heavy weight champion of fresh/brackish water: the striped bass is the beast of the river as it applies to freshwater fish. It is common to see stripers in the 20 to 30-pound range coming to the boat docks during the winter months. The lures and bait are the same as its cousin the hybrid, but your gear needs to be equivalent to catching bull redfish at the Destin bridge. Don’t go bear hunting with a switch!
The problem I have is that my bass tackle is the same gear I use for speckled trout fishing. I usually end up getting broken off by one of these beasts each season. I keep a big rod with a topwater bait at the ready for the early dawn and late afternoon feeding frenzy. They prefer low light conditions when they put on the feed bag. These fish are fast, strong, beautiful, and very tasty.
Until next time, good fishing and God bless.