Fishing & Boating News

"Dam Striper" - Bustin' Hyper Striper at the Dam-

by: Ed Snyder, Ed Snyder Outdoors

(Thursday, February 25,1999 - Lake Sam Rayburn Dam, Texas.) "Umph", "scritch", "got-em", "snap", "oops", were the only sounds or "@*~!!?" words being heard, the early morning of February 24, as "break-of-dawn" anglers were slinging 2 oz slab spoons towards the Dam to "hook-up" with some of the awesome action which was occuring in front of the Dam. But it would take a 9' to 12' casting rod, with wide spooled casting reel loaded with 150 yds of line to make the distance cast it would take to reach the strike zone. And for those who could make the cast, it was "Katie Bar The Door" as each successful cast was immediately "thumped", as another large "Hyper Striper" slammed their baits.

Mix high water lake levels with a cooling cold fronts, blend in an early morning generation schedule at the Dam, add some hungry schools of Hybrid Striped Bass within the in-take pool, then activate the huge schools of shad by opening the flood gates to the turbines, and sprinkle a few "long-rodders"along the bank areas for good measure, then you've just prepared the receipe for having some "FUN".

Some people hate them, while others love them, but, for whatever your personal view may be, the Hybrid Striped Bass family of fish are definitely hard fighting, "bull-dogs" of a game-fish species, which will most certainly "friz" your ego as it "maxis-out" your adrenalin level.

Born within the hybrid society of cross-breeds, the Hybrid Striped Bass gets its DNA from the eggs of a female Striped Bass and its fiesty disposition from the milt of an ornery, male White Bass. Other variaties will switch to female White Bass and male Striped Bass (which are called Wypers-short for-"wipe-outs") But the standard Hybrid comes from the Female Striper-Male White blend. Referred to as "Hyper Striper" due to its "psychotic schizophrenia" of trying to mimic both its parents at the same time, the pugnacious brute will drive its "attached" anglers wacky, as they attempt to outwit the short tempered munchkin's of the Striper Clan.

Each year about this time, usually from late February thru the first two weeks of April, the Hybrids will be actively feeding within the intake pool of the generation Dam, as well as below the Dam, from the spillway area to the Angelina River bends. Both areas are fishermen friendly, as long as you obey the "No Tres-passing" signs. Parking lots are conveniently located on both sides of the Dam, "but caution" requires that the shore-bound anglers pay strict attention to the warning sirens, which alert for raising or lowering the discharge levels. A special set of bouy's block off the lake entrance to the intake pool, as well as the discharge canal, to all water-craft (for obvious safety reasons). And even though the Hybrids are usually an early morning item for the first 30 minutes of the day, they will extend their activity under overcasting skys, and will usually return for a late afternoon "romp", as long as the generators are running. Boaters will be able to extend their fishing time by running the open lake area after the Hybrids leave the pool to start feeding in the lake areas, "but", be prepared to run the lake as you chase the shadows of where they "aren't".

Texas Fish & Game rules give an 18" minimum size, with a 5 fish per day take home creel. As far as the eating quality of the Hybrids go, when cleaned properly, with the red meat areas cut out, they are "excellent" tablefare which have the texture & flavor of a saltwater fish, and when "blackened"or BBQ-ued whole, they taste just like a saltwater Redfish

Not many fishing guides specialize in these "Jeckyl & Hyde" critters, mainly due to the "uncertanty" of their feeding patterns, as they may pop-up over here for 5 seconds, pop-up over there for 10 seconds, then run 15 miles up-lake before popping-up again. Which makes the Dam area a better option for those who like to catch them, as all you have to do is contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-Rayburn Office at (409)-384-5716 to find out the generation schedules, then just plan to be there 30 minutes before it starts with plenty of white or chartreuce slabs, chrome rattle traps, or chrome CC-spoons, "AND", a lot of energy as you'll definitely will be needing it.

Directions; Hwy 255 between Hwy 63 and Hwy 96 north of Jasper TX. or south of Lufkin TX. Local tackle shops will have the prime casting baits as well as "the word" as to whats happenin' with those "Dam Stripers".