We decided we’d take ourselves to stay at the house on Gaston Lake for Memorial Day this year and hang out with family and do some striped bass fishing as well.
The weather was supposed to be dry but hot, and there were calm to light west winds forecast for the entire weekend. Luckily, we did have cloudy periods each day that helped to keep us outdoors.
However, boat traffic was extremely heavy so we really only had four or five hours a day we could fish. So we opted for the mornings.
But when we got up Friday afternoon, we noted the lake looked calm enough as we crossed Eaton’s Ferry bridge, so I hooked the boat up to the truck as soon as we got to the house and we were on the water by 6:30 that evening. Not a lot of time, but we found the notorious Gaston Lake striped bass.
After maybe 20 or 30 minutes of searching, I handed the first wildly bouncing rod to Michelle, and she reeled down a striper double to start the trip. One was a keeper and the other just short so we put it on ice and started back through the area. Hooked up again on the second pass and I took the opportunity to crank in another nice keeper at about 24”. Unfortunately, both times the leaders on the the three-way swivels fouled, and I had to tie 4 knots to make sure we wouldn’t bust off fish. That was time consuming, and it was brutal to watch the marks on the sonar and not be able to fish. They were only hitting the chartreuse and white bucktails, and I only had enough with me to tie two rods. I changed that the next day and when I found them at a local bait shop, I cleaned them out!
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So it was pretty much dark after 3 passes and we headed in for the night with 2 keepers.
The next morning we were on the water before dawn.
However, Dominion wasn’t scheduled to pull water that day and the bite didn’t start til after 7am. But when it did, it was hot for the next 3 days.
We caught a ton of short striped bass, perch, largemouth bass and 3 or 4 keeper stripers every day, so I was able to leave my Dad with fish and brought some home, and we fried some up while we were there.
The fish were suspending in 40 to 60 feet of water and coming up periodically on humps and points to feed in water as shallow as 15 feet on out to 30. Speed was very important as well as bites only came when I was trolling at least 3 to 5 mph. Anything slower and the rods stayed straight.
Spinners, crankbaits, jigs and swim baits were useless on the striped bass, so I would suggest bucktails to anyone looking to hit Gaston Lake for the next few weeks.