Equipment for fresh water hybrids? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Equipment for fresh water hybrids?

01-15-2002, 12:21 PM
I am gearing up to focus my fly fishing efforts this year on learning to catch hybrid stripes in a lake close by. It was stocked with hybrids some years ago and they have flourished. Fish in the 10# to 20# range are not uncommon and the lake record is currently a little over 55#. Although most of you probably fish salt, I figure the equipment would be similar. So ...

If you found out this afternoon that a game show was going to send you to a fly fishing competition this weekend and all you knew was that you were going to be fishing for hybrid stripes in a big, deep, clear southern lake that has comparatively little structure, which two rod, reel, and line combinations would you pack?

Any information you are able to offer will be greatly appreciated.

01-15-2002, 12:37 PM

I assume that you're talking about Salt Water Striped Bass that have been transplanted to Large Fresh Water Lakes?

I saw a TV show once where they were fishing for Transplants on some Huge Lake (Tenn I think?). Note that this was not a FlyFishing Show. They were fishing Very Deep & even used down-riggers.

With this in mind I would Think Deep; Full Sink Lines 350+ grain weight (400, 450, 500). Also, 10#-30# Stripers are a lot of fun on 8-9 weight flyrods, but if your doing to be throwing these heavy lines & hooking 50+# fish, I'd think 10-11 weight rods. Also, Big fish eat big baits, so I'd think large (& wide profile) patterns & colors that look good down deep.

Your best bet for catching these fish Higher Up in the water Column would be during the Colder Months. Stripers will avoid water above 68+ F.

As an analogy, I'd fish for them like you would for Very Large Lakers?

01-15-2002, 05:31 PM

Actually they are a cross between a salt water Striped Bass and a fresh water White Bass. The Alabama Fish & Game Department crossed them and put them in Smith Lake which is a big, deep, cold (for Alabama) lake.

I would bet that then fishing program you saw about catching Stripes in Tennessee was filmed at Tim's Ford. It has had a good population of Stripes for years and was stocked before Smith Lake was.

Thanks for the info, particularly the water temp. That will be a good number to keep in mind as the water heats up during the summer.

Do you use an overhead cast or one of the spey casts. How far do you typically cast? Are stripes particularly wary fish?

01-15-2002, 06:06 PM
flyrod -

Welcome to the Forum!

As a seasonal striper guide the best advise I could offer is to understand the striper's habits and play along. They are creatures of habit, as many in striper country will tell you. You can all but set your watch by their behavior at times (although nothing in fishing is clockwork and no phase of behavior lasts through the whole season). When you tune into them you will score.

I'd find out where they hunt; when is pre/post spawn gathering, and where? What is their forage? What shoals, points, inlets or outlets do they frequent? Are there visible signs? Birds? Of course you don't have tides there but if you did...

Along the northeastern shoreline, flyfishermen hold their own verses other methods by learning more about the fish than they need to for other fishing methods (e.g. bait) in order to overcome the limitations of flygear. You can't cast as far. You can't throw as much weight. You can't overcome as much wind. You can't, you can't, you can't - but oh you CAN! Stripers love the teasing action of a fly and what the machinery can't give you your instincts can. Once you tune in, that is.

Without any real knowledge of AL lakes I would say that you're probably talkin' about shad as a forage fish. Stripers are opportunists and will eat crawfish, chubs, just about anything that the lake has to offer. Look in the archives for patterns that might imitate what they eat, not only in looks but also behavior.

I would also target the wee hours - dawn and dusk, looking for surface commotion and casting topwater bangers and slabsided deceiver type flies into the fray. Eyes on the flies are important, they are reacting to the same distress signals that real baitfish flash as they flee. You can find them mid-day but they will be more wary and less prone to be in a feeding frenzy.

Stripers are just ideal for flyfishing. Good luck and please let us know how you do!

01-15-2002, 06:43 PM
Thanks for the good information. There is a full time Striper guide who fishes Smith Lake exclusively that I plan to fish with two or three times beginning the end of February and into March so I can pick his brain and hopefully catch some fish.

However, you were correct in that he and most others who fish for Stripes use shad or big shiners. I'll just have to learn what I can and as much as I hate it, spend lots of time on the water.

What length, wt, rods, line types, and/or reels would you suggest?

01-15-2002, 10:22 PM
Dave Whitlock wrote an article about this 1 or 2 yrs ago in Flyfisherman and I think that you might find the answers you seek.

01-16-2002, 06:41 AM

One important question: will you be fishing from a boat?

If not, and if the water that you are fishing will not be very deep 60 feet from the shoreline, then you need to watch out when fishing the 400 and 500 grain lines - especially if there is an abundance of weedy or rocky structure on the bottom of the lake.

I amagine that this will not be a problem for you but it is just something to consider. The best bet would be to use an intermediate line and a 350, 400 or 500 grain sink tip/head line. You can switch lines as conditions change.

I would use a 9 or a 10 weight rod. I have both weights for saltwater stripers and I fish the 9 weight most of the time. Without any tidal currents to affect the effective strength of a fish I usually use the 9 weight. But, as Grego says, casting huge flies can be easier with the 10 weight. I would also use a 10 weight if you decide to go for the 400 grain line or above.

Good luck.


01-16-2002, 08:59 AM
Bruce - Thanks for the heads-up on the article by Dave Whitlock. I'll see if I can't dig it up.

Mike - I will be fishing out of a boat. I wish that the problem of getting hung up in weeds, wood, etc. was more prevelant. Smith Lake has comparitivley little structure and it's not unusual for the water to be 60 to 100 feet deep five feet from the bank. It's a tough lake to fish. But what makes it so hard to fish for bass, crappie, and bream makes it great for the stripe.

A full time guide on Cape Code (Randy Jones, suggested a 14', two handed Orvis Trident to handle the distance and big flies. Others have suggested 9' 9wt. one handed rods. Any particular pros or cons that you see?

01-16-2002, 09:46 AM
Randy is one of our top-gun sponsors and a highly respected professional who really knows his stuff. We share the very same flats thru the summer in fact.

I am a big fan of twohands on a flyrod but this applies salmon and steelhead rivers most, then to certain shoreline ocean conditions for gamefish second IMHO. If your boat is 16 ft you don't need to mess with a 14' rod. If you are in a boat, distance is not your biggest concern. I can't see the point of using a really long rod, whether single or double handed, from a boat - but that's my personal preference.

Try 'em both for yourself!

Note: a Spey rod is NOT the same as a two-handed overhand rod! Different actions, you want the latter.

On the topic of the previous reply, sites like this offer some "keys to the kingdom" with respect to the specific environment you are targeting...

Sounds to me like the shallow water seasons are all about flyfishing! :smokin:

Apparently there are those who think they are the scourge of the lake!.... :(

(note the reference to night fishing by the lights!)

01-16-2002, 03:22 PM

It seems to me there would be two advantages to long casts, even from a boat. One is that you would be able to work more water when hunting them in 10' or shallower water. The other is that when they are deeper, which I think will be most of the year, a longer cast will allow you to stay at a productive depth longer on each cast. Does that make sense?

I think you're right about wanting a rod to cast overhead as opposed to spey casting. What little I have picked up about spey casting in the last few days if you don't have moving water to take the fly by fish the benefit are lost (i.e., you have to work the line back out with multiple casts). Although the idea of being able to fish 100' +/- all the way around the boat is intriguing!

What length two-handed overhead rod would you (anybody) suggest to cast big flies and 350+ grain line? I'm beginning to think that grego is right about moving up to a 10/11 wt rod.

01-16-2002, 03:29 PM

Dale Welch is the guide I plan to fish with and learn from, this spring. He's got a great reputation and has been at it a long time.

Yea, the bass fishermen, in particular, hate the stripes. Smith is just such a tough lake to fish and it can't be that the techniques and patterns that are productive on other lakes don't work well on Smith. So it must be that the stripes are eating all of the fish.

Happy Fishing

01-16-2002, 04:08 PM
Interesting Thread.

A few more comments.

I agree wit Juro that a Two-hander (Not Spey) can be a great Shore Casting tool, but they can be quite combersome on a boat eg, 14' Rod on a 16' Boat!

If shad is the prey, look at our fly pattern archieve for large, wide profile & big-eye patterns. Also do a web search for more saltwater patterns, such as:

Also as other mentioned, dawn, dusk & overcast days.

Also as other mentioned, you don't have tides. Up here in the NE, Stripers Love Moving water. So, I'd look for non-tidal moving waters, eg, channels, narrows, outlets, etc.

Good Luck & let us know what & how you're doing!