Winter Blues have you down? Cabin fever perhaps, bored to tear whilst searching for crappie? Or do want a greater reward for enduring cold runs and dank weather? Chasing trophy striper might just be the poison to pick.
“Bait makes the world go round”, in the striper world at least, and my customers hear me say this a dozen times a day. Tiny threadfin, gizzard shad of various size, and skipjack are all top priority. If there is no food available there will be no striper available. Generally if you find the bait whether it is visible on the surface or marking on your graph there will be host of predators close by.
Avoid being a one trick pony and switch it up. Big live baits are a lot of fun to fish but are not always on the menu, smaller baits under 6 inches can be much more realistic to digest when the water temps dip into the low 50s. Artificials also have a place in your winter arsenal, Alabama rigs and spooks are a great starting point when the fish key on small baits. For the fly angler a gurgler or clouser minnow should cover most situations but only if you want to make a difficult task more difficult.
AVOID THE CROWDS! Truly big fish, specifically trophy striper, are sensitive to pressure. following other anglers around the lake will do nothing but hurt you and the guy you follow. There is no one magical location to catch the big ones, honestly they are more prevalent and spread out than many may think. That being said there are popular fishing locales with room for multiple anglers, keep a good distance between you and the other angler, be as quiet as possible, and mind your manners.
I wish you the best of luck if you choose to tackle the big fish challenge but if you can’t make the big time and gear commitment to chase the trophies we are more than willing to give you the opportunity to tangle with the fish of a lifetime. Feel free to contact Tennessee Valley Anglers anytime via phone or email. (865-363-8180) or firstname.lastname@example.org