Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wipers On Fire 10/27

Sunday, October 27th, I made my way to the OH River to try and find some Hybrid Striped Bass or wipers as many people call them. My target area was a warm water discharge. After years of fishing this discharge I have learned that it is hit or miss. Some days it can be amazing, some days you can get skunked. But the potential for amazing or even a decent day is always worth the risk of a skunk. So I made the 30 minute up and across the river. I had three rods with me. One rod with a Smack Tackle crankbait tied on which I had got at the BKFT Kiser Fish Off, Smack Tackle has become a new sponsor of the trail for 2014. One rod with a white swimbait, and the last rod with a small spoon. I alternated between throwing the three baits with little success. I found that the discharge was infested with baby gar. I managed to hook one of these baby gar (approximately 18") on the small spoon but it came off before I could lift it from the water. Two hours later and I still hadn't caught a fish. I snagged my spoon in a tree so I decided to switch to a small white grub on a 1/8oz jig. This ended up being a wise choice as shortly after I finally got a couple small hybrids to avoid the skunk. This was the bigger of the two at 12".

It was nearing dusk at this point and I had no intention of crossing the river after the sun set so I started making my way back. On my way back I took this picture of the power plant, I thought it turned out quite well, sort of reminds me of the Pink Floyd Animals album.

So that was my day.... wait... the blog is titled "Wipers On Fire"? Well, on my way back the fish must have decided, "Rylan, today is your lucky day".  Here I am minding my own business and then out of nowhere fish just started blowing up on the surface like crazy about 50ft from me. I immediately drop everything, grabbed my rod with the swimbait, and cast directly into the frenzy. Twitch... Twitch... Slam! Fish On! This was a decent fish I could tell, but with wipers its always hard to tell as they all fight so hard. Definitely one of the strongest pound for pound fighters I have ever fished for if not the strongest. Not only that but they are the most aggressive fish in and out of the water I have ever caught. A couple drag pulling runs later and I had the hybrid in my net. It weighed in at 2lbs 4oz and measured 19.25". My goal for the day was to catch a Kayak Wars qualifying hybrid which is 18" so I was pumped.
19.25" 2lb 4oz Hybrid Striped Bass
19.25" 2lb 4oz Hybrid Striped Bass
Now throughout the course of dealing with this fish, all I could think was, "I just want to get a bait back in the water and catch another". By the time I was done the surface blowups had ceased and my swimbait was destroyed. I didn't want to waste time retying so I grabbed the rod with the Smack Tackle crankbait. I made a cast near where the fish were. I couple cranks of the reel and another huge bite! This fish felt larger than the first and ripped drag several times before I finally landed it. This fish weighed in at 3lbs 10oz and measured 22.5".
22.5" 3lb 10oz Hybrid Striped Bass
22.5" 3lb 10oz Hybrid Striped Bass
22.5" 3lb 10oz Hybrid Striped Bass
The bite continued to be hot but the fish only got smaller from that point on. The longer I stayed the fish progressively got smaller. I ended up getting 3 around 17" and several more in the 12-16" range. Some of these fish were actually hitting the crankbait as I pulled it up to the surface next to my NuCanoe. I didn't try it but I don't doubt that a top water bait would have worked well too. By 8:30pm I was still catching fish but I decided to call it quits as I had work in the morning. I made good use of my Yak Attack Visi Carbon Pro as I made my way back to the boat ramp in the dark. Odds are I won't find the same bite in the same spot but I can't wait to go back for round 2 most likely this weekend.

At first I wasn't so sure that the two pictured fish were really Hybrid Stripers, I didn't rule out the possibility that they were full Stripers. In the past we haven't been so confident in distinguishing the two. So I went back and reviewed an old forum post Sean had made about distinguishing the two and this reassured me that these fish were hybrid striped bass. You can find that post here.

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