Those Big Stripers

Discussion in 'Striper Fishing' started by john catfish young, Aug 14, 2008.

  1. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Many years ago in a lake not too far away.....there was a massive population of Giant Stripers. The lake I'm talking about is Old Hickory Lake in Gallatin Tennessee. The place to be at ( nov-feb) was the Gallatin Steamplant.
    In the 1980's and early 90's, this place was a rare phenomenon. Where anybody with a good rod & reel and some warm clothes and a little patience, could sit and catch Giant Stripers weighing from 20-60 lbs...from the bank.
    I fished 7 days a week, anytime I wasn't working, you could find me on the bank here. I only lived about 10 miles from here, and I was usually the first one there and the last one to leave. I fished in temps down to -49 degrees, wind chill factor! Nothing deterred me from my passion of catching these monsters.
    On a typical fishing trip, I was heading out at 4:00 am. Upon arriving at said destination....first thing to do was catch a good skipjack about 10"-12" long. Hook him on the eagle claw 8/0 hook with a 8 oz. sinker and make a short cast only out about 10-15'. Secure the rod in the rocks and go after skipjack # 2. If the skips were running" BIG"...say 3 or 4 lbs........I would just cut off the head and fish with it. Then several back up baits were caught for cut-baits.
    In the 70's, 80's, 90's I seen 100's of big Stripers caught and CPR wasn't a big issue back then, so not very many of these massive fish were ever released. They were good eating and most people kept what they caught. At one time I had over 250 lbs of striper fillets in the freezer.
    Over time.....the fishing began to become a little tougher and larger fish were beginning to be a rare thing. There would still be a good one caught every now and then, but not like it was.
    Boats began to show up from all over the state and surrounding states and these fish were being hunted by sonar and graphs and 100's of people were the norm.
    By the late 90's this place was just about dead. After the 9/11 attacks on our nation, this place shutdown public access. No longer could you drive in and only if you had a boat, you could go part way up the channel, but not all the way in. My 12 year (reign of terror) on Stripers ended in 92 when I moved from Gallatin Tn.- To Cadiz Ky.
    In the 12 years I fished for these Monsters, I landed 45 Stripers over 25 lbs. My personal best was 45 lbs.....with one fish lost at the bank that could've weighed 60+lbs. But , thats a different adventure all together. Maybe I'll share that one later. I can only think back about the memories now and I still look at the pictures from time to time and remember how my blood use to boil to go after Giant Stripers on Old Hickory.
    I wish we had let some of the big ones go. It takes a long time to grow Big fish. This fishery went from a "10" to a "0" in just a couple of decades.
    I now have a new Giant fish that I hunt for and he is now being hunted by the thousands.... He is the Catfish....how will he be rated in another decade or two? Will there be any Big Catfish left in say 20 years? Not if we don't educate people on the importance of CPR. I now CPR just about everything I catch. I may keep a few channels or smaller Blues for the table, but gone are the days of 250 lbs of fillets in the freezer. Dont get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with keeping your catches. Just don't get greedy, its easy to do! I know because I was. I hope that I've managed to reach someone with this post because that was my intention! Its a sad thing to look back at what we had after it is gone...................Good fishing to all who venture out!!!:sad2:
     
  2. lilgriz

    lilgriz New Member

    Messages:
    436
    State:
    Aurora, KY
    Good post man! I agree in CPR, but if I got a hankering for some fish, I will keep a few 10 pounds and under.
     

  3. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    My point excactly............Thanks David:big_smile:
     
  4. lforet2002

    lforet2002 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,534
    State:
    Tennessee
    I concur great post!!!I hear those stories too around here all the time about Old Hick..I live just outside of Gallatin in Hartsville and fish Old Hick quit often..My buddy tells me all the time "one day you gonna be throwing that little jig trying to catch skipjack and a big stripers gonna hit it and you aint gonna know what to do"...I've learned my lesson years ago though..It may look like light year but that spiderwire I use is 30lb test with 8lb diameter..But anyways I CPR just about everything I catch except bait..In fact of all the fish I've caught this year I only kept 4 fish and I've caught the heck out of some fish this year..Thats one sad story though and I've seen the same thing down where I come from with the redfish..Back in the days redfish(also referred to as a red drum)was a plentiful species that also came in large sizes 30-40lbs but was considered a trash fish and people rarely kept them for table fare..Till a famous chef came up with this recipe called "blackened redfish"..After that redfish became nearly extinct in Louisiana till finally the state got smart and fixed that..The population of red fish now seems to be bouncing back good for about the last 8 years down there now..Thats good..Hopefully the striper population will bounce back in Old Hick..I haven't caught any with any size outa there at all but the regs. there seem to be pretty stiff to me..I've caught some huge crappie outa there and some huge largemouth too,but no stripers..Anyways thanks again for that great post.
     
  5. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,243
    State:
    North Caro
    The same thing happen on my home lake. In the 90's we always had a shot at a 18 to 35 pound striper. Now a big striper on LKN is 6 to 8 pounds. CPR in the summer time does not work for us due to the hot water temps and thus the State DNR folks want us to keep what we catch in the summer time, because they will just die if we release them. I have quit guiding and fishing for stripers under hot weather conditions. CPR works just fine in the winter time. We only have ourselves to blame for the demise of the big striper, which most likely will never return.

    Catfisherpersons can learn from the striper folks how to lose a trophy fisheries.

    Thanks for starting this thread.
     
  6. germanmudfish

    germanmudfish New Member

    Messages:
    492
    State:
    Gray, GA
    sad story though. Reps to you for keeping the CPR example on top of the board. Thanks, Ronnie
     
  7. willcat

    willcat New Member

    Messages:
    2,463
    State:
    texas
    now that was a good story, thanks. That's the best example I've seen probably to date about CPR. It's education like that which will get it across to so many people. Not just heavy preaching about how "the big ones should be let go", "it's not right", "you shouldn't have done that", "that fish should be swimming still" and so on and so on....When you tell people in those words i think it just makes them do what they were doing that much more, and posting more about it than they would if they had some education and examples like this one..IMO
    Thanks John for posting this, says i gotta spread it around 1st, so I'll just say reps to you....
     
  8. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Thanks Will...........sad story ,but true.
     
  9. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    I just wanted to add that the TWRA continues to stock this body of water with 100,000's fingerlings a year....so hopefully with current regulations and limited winter time access....the Giant Stripers might one day return!!!!:big_smile:
     
  10. germanmudfish

    germanmudfish New Member

    Messages:
    492
    State:
    Gray, GA
    I hope so. Sounds like it used to be a blast. Maybe one day it will be again.:wink:
     
  11. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,243
    State:
    North Caro
    John, our state DNR folks allocate 165,000 fingerlins each year to LKN and have done so since they were first introduced stripers to our lake in the late 70's. It appears that the fishing pressure is too great on our lake for us to every get back to the good old days of catching a trophy striper, I hope I'm wrong, but I don't think I will see it in my lifetime.
     
  12. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    Mac, how big is LKN? Old Hickory has 97 miles of shore line. It is a fairly good sized lake....and finding the stripers in the summer time takes someone with good Striper knowledge. Not just anyone can find them in the summer which is a big help for the stripers to reach bigger weights. I was thinking that on this lake , the striper is most vulnerable in the winter time at this steamplant where they are gathering to feast on the shad in the warm water discharge. I've seen dozens caught in one good morning. So I was thinking maybe since access to this place has been restricted somewhat....that maybe the stripers can make a good recovery. Or at least that is what I'm hoping anyway.:big_smile:
     
  13. Mac-b

    Mac-b Moderator Staff Member Supporting Member

    Messages:
    19,243
    State:
    North Caro
    JCY, Lake Norman has 520 miles of shoreline and 35,000 plus acres. No small pond, nope she ain't.
     
  14. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    I just wanted to share another Giant Striper story. It was late october at the Gallatin Steamplant in 1989. I had spent most of the day fishing at the discharge in the warm water. There wasn't much of anything happening at all. So I decided to go around to the intake side of the plant. There is a skimmer wall that runs over the intake channel and is approx. 100 yrds wide here. I would drive to the skimmer wall and park and walk across the skimmer wall and down the bank until I reached a spot that was only 30 yrds wide. I had caught several smaller fish here in the summer and just wanted to try it for some bigguns. As night began to come on.....the pouring rains came down. I had good rain gear and was managing to stay fairly dry. I saw headlights come to the parking area and soon was joined by two of my striper fishing buddies.So there we sat in the rain , fishing with cut-bait and hoping to catch a good one. It was around 7:00pm when my rod bent over violently towards the water. I rared back and set the hook on what would turn out to be the biggest striper I ever had on a hook. The fish was gaining an aweful amount of line and in the darkness I could see the line that went around the bend and out of sight. I believe this fish had almost 100 yrds of line before I got him stopped. I dont know if my drag was a bit too lose or what. I always fished with 20 lb mono and kept my drag set accordingly. I fished with an 8' oceanside series rod by Zebco topped with a Penn 650 salt water spinning reel. When I finally got the fish stopped , I heard him thrash the top of the water and then the pumping back in began. I fought this fish for nearly 15 minutes and when he came into the bank he was wooped, belly up. One of my friends asked do you want me to get him and I said no I got him. Just as I was reaching down to get him, the hook slapped me in the face twice. I looked at the size of the striper and seen how big it was and I saw the fish began to float off in the strong current and it began to regain its composer. I never used a net and up to this point, never needed one.
    In the heat of the moment...... I leaped off of the 3' imbankment and landed directly on top of the big striper. I hit on top of him and immediately we went under water. I had wrapped my arms around him and his dorsal fins had pierced my forearm and was stuck in me. The fish freaked out and began to buck and I felt him shoot out from my arms. In the darkness of being under water, I reached out in the water and grabbed him by the front of the tail and I still had a grip on him. After a couple of tail whips, the big fish was gone. I finally came to the top of the water coughing and gagging and spewing out water. I made it to the waters edge in the strong current and just layed at the waters edge, half in and half out of the water. I just layed there for a few moments. I got out of the water and made my way back some 10 yrds to where I had been sitting and I sat down. My friends and I sat there in total silence....no one said a word for a couple minutes. When finally one spoke up and said what in the H#ll just happened? I spoke and said he got away! The other friend asked......Is it just me or is that the biggest fish I've ever seen? I replied...its the biggest fish I've ever had on. So as we began to talk about it and continued to fish.....we had one of the best Laughs that I can ever remember having....We laughed so hard that it was hard to breathe. I reached in my pocket for a cigarette and found a pack floating in water. I took out the pack and looked at it and asked for a dry smoke and that started the insane laughing all over again. To this day whenever I talk to these guys...this trip always come back to haunt me!!! What was I thinking? I guess I wasn't thinking too straight at all! I now always have a net at the ready when fishing for any kind of big fish!!!!!
    Do you have any good fishing stories???? Share them here!!!!:smile2:
     
  15. Scott Daw

    Scott Daw New Member

    Messages:
    2,002
    State:
    Allentown, Pennsylvania
    A similar situation is occuring here in PA with doe hunting in the north central region of the state. The game commission gave alot of doe tags out & people filled them & were good at it. Now Doe are hard to find and in fewer #'s and the hunters are blaming the game commission when it was the hunter that took the shot. Its not the PGC's fault entirely. They have a management plan they have to follow. We are all responsible for managing our resources. It's a shame alot of times we learn this leason in hind sight when we lose what we valued most.
     
  16. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    You are right Scott, it " IS " up to each one of us to do our part for the future of the sports we love. You can't always rely on harvest limits and regulations to properly manage. Even with these regulations and harvest limits......some very good fishing and hunting has been lost possibly forever!!!:sad2:
     
  17. john catfish young

    john catfish young New Member

    Messages:
    3,070
    State:
    Kentucky
    The fishing was so good in the 80's at this steamplant. I remember one time when my grandfather and uncle were still alive and fishing....they left their dock one cold and frosty morning with the snow falling at a heavy rate. They made the 6 mile trip by river and within an hour of fishing...they left with 4 stripers that totalled 125 lbs. I still remember that day, Wow what a catch!!!!:big_smile:
     
  18. jolie

    jolie New Member

    Messages:
    828
    State:
    PA

    and from another Pennsylvanian who has watched the deer hunting go from good to few and far between.. do you know what's interesting bout that? our game commission is stubbornly insisting that deer numbers are yet high; that further heavy harvesting is needed to keep the population from being crowded, yada, yada, yada. I'm boycotting deer hunting this year And I do hope other people do it as well, to give them guys in harrisburgh a Clue.

    my point Here is that you CAN'T always count on you STATE's conservation organization to set REASONABLE limits on wildlife resources. Certainly catfish limits in PA is not reasonalbe...
    Is it reasonable to allow an angler to bring home 50 catfish, even 50 trophy catfish each and every day??

    BTW, I love the post. its not too preachy, but it makes a point and people can muse on it; and even a stubborn anarchist like myself might question the wisdom of people taking home every trophy cat they catch...
     
  19. woodchucker

    woodchucker New Member

    Messages:
    128
    State:
    La Quinta,Ca
    John,
    Exelent post.Unfortunatly the same senario happend/happening at a nearby fishery in nevada/arizona.Large stripers where the lake records are upper 60,s.About 10 years ago people were killing way too much fish,like the #,s you descrided,stringers with mulitiple 40#lbers.Now days there are still some fish over 40 every year caught but not like before....And still today the norm is to kill the fish so you can have it wieghed at the marina.And people wonder why the fishery is being over run with 12" stripers and no big ones when everbody keeps the big ones and releases the small ones.Its tuff when me and a few other try and practice cpr and the majority cant see the largeer picture.

    Here is a 30#(my biggest striper to date) that I released to fight another day.

    http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v370/woodchucker/666777359110_0_ALB.jpg?t=1220824904
     
  20. Yakdawg

    Yakdawg New Member

    Messages:
    146
    State:
    Cumming, GA
    Great post!

    I fish am an avid striper fisher! I have yet to put one on the wall, my biggest is the 20 pounder in my avatar! I have landed many 15-20 pounders(from a kayak I might add)! Every one I have caught over 10# has been released.

    I catch a bunch in the 5 pound range, and have kept a few, they are very good eating! If you catch one 15-20 it is a pretty old fish(8 to 12 years!) These are the fish that will grow into the 30 pounders!