If you ever have the opportunity to go striper fishing on Lake Hartwell, I strongly encourage you to do it. There are many varieties of fish in the lake, but there is a lot of fun to be had fishing for striped bass.
Striped bass are strong fish that grab your bait and dart away, so reeling them in can be a big fight. And that’s part of what makes fishing for stripers so much fun! You need to know what you’re doing, though, because you’re not going to catch these fish accidentally.
That’s why I was so excited when Chris Youngblood of Ultimate Fishing and Outdoors offered to take us out striper fishing and give me a few tips to share with you today.
Why does everyone love striper fishing?
Striper fishing is an attractive sport because of the way the striped bass take a lure or live bait. They’re an aggressive biter that likes to run. That means you’ve got to act fast or your line and pole can be yanked into the water.
Stripers will also go into a feeding frenzy, so there can be a lot of action when you’ve set out bait all around your boat. When you go out fishing with a group, you can easily have every person on a pole at the same time.
Almost as fast as you can reel them in, you’ve got another striper on the line. All that action makes for a fun fishing trip, and that’s why it’s desirable to go out striper fishing with a guide service like Ultimate Fishing and Outdoors.
3 Tips For Fishing Stripers On Lake Hartwell
Like other sports, having the right gear and an experienced coach is the best way to get started. And fishing is no fun if you don’t know what you’re doing and the fish don’t bite.
So here are a few tips to help you get the best results.
Use a fishfinder to hover over groups of stripers
No matter how good you are at fishing, no human has x-ray vision. Using fish finding equipment is essential because location is everything. Position your boat right above a school of active stripers before you drop your bait.
Chris showed me how to use his fishfinder/chartplotter combo to identify the most active spots near Big Oaks ramp in Hartwell. On the screen, we soon saw a flush of golden arches that told us we were in the right place.
Stripers are opportunistic feeders meaning they aren’t going to come hunting your bait from afar. You have to get right on top of them to get their attention.
We used a trolling motor to keep the boat in the right location and dropped live bait over a very active group of stripers. We set out 6 rods around the boat and watched for the rods to bend straight down.
Drop live bait right above the thermocline
Striped bass, hybrid bass, and largemouth bass all have different behaviors. The way you fish, the bait you choose, and even the way they fight on the line is all different.
For striped bass in August, Chris said the fish go into deep water where it’s cooler. But there’s a sweet spot right above the cool water that is warmer and more oxygenated (known as the thermocline). That’s where the smaller fish that striped bass like to eat gather, and that’s where you want to drop your bait.
We used a weighted 20# line to drop our bait right down to the line Chris measured on the depth finder. Sure enough, we could see the fish get curious and start coming up toward our bait.
My son reeled in the first fish of the night within minutes of setting out our bait, but there were times throughout the evening when the fish were curious but not biting.
Try spooning to get the fish excited
To entice the stripers, Chris used a method called spooning to try to excite the fish into a feeding frenzy.
A spoon lure is a flat tear-shaped lure that mimics the action of fleeing prey when pulled through the water. Chris’ method was to drop the spoon lure down deeper into the water then reel in short but rapid spurts.
He said that if you can get one fish excited, the others will often follow suit, and the whole gang will start biting like crazy. It was using his method that caught us the biggest fish of the night!
Striper fishing with guide, Chris Youngblood
Spending several hours out on a fishing boat with a stranger can be kind of an awkward situation, but right from the start, I could tell I was going to like fishing with Chris. His calm demeanor and quiet confidence on the boat put us all at ease right away.
With 30 years of experience fishing on Lake Hartwell, Chris had plenty of tricks up his sleeve to make sure we got lots of bites on our trip on the lake. But he was also skilled at making sure we all had a good time.
Chris said he often takes out corporate groups, and I would recommend him for families and birthday parties as well. He has a great sense of humor and tons of patience for inexperienced fishers and chatty 12 year olds.
Book a trip with Chris
Chris is based in Anderson but can meet you at various boat ramps. When you call, make sure to let him know we sent you!