Gaston Lake Striped Bass

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Good luck!

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Winter Fishing Report – Jordan Lake, Gaston Lake, Kerr and Shearon Harris

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The fishing has been very good on three North Carolina lakes this winter. Jordan Lake, Gaston Lake and Shearon Harris Lake have all been steadily producing quality fish.

After Christmas, we got on Gaston Lake and reproduced nearly the same results as in November. Striped bass were still chasing baits trolled slowly in twenty plus foot of water. We had success with sassy shads, swimbaits and Bama rigs. Four colors of leadcore and we were in the zone. We just had to stay under two miles per hour.

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Then, in early January, we got on Jordan Lake and started catching striped bass in lots of different areas. Fish are hitting slowly trolled artificials, swimbaits and also are taking metal jigged vertically. The mix of fish has been good as well with nice largemouth bass, white bass, white perch, crappie, yellow perch, catfish and even carp. Small baits are again producing far more fish than anything bigger than the small shad on the lake in abundance right now.

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Just use stout hooks.

Harris lake is fishing very similar to Jordan lake. Main lake points and current breaks anywhere adjacent to baitfish and deep suspended target fish. Fish slowly and patiently; you could be waiting for 1 or 2 bites a day, but they could be giants. Bass are present and feeding early and late in the day in twenty feet of water.

Kerr lake was fishing really good last fall and early winter. I got on the lake in late December, and we caught fish, but they were all shorts. I haven’t been back or heard much from locals there in weeks.

Here are a few from this morning on Jordan lake. I was on the water three hours and caught my personal best largemouth and a very big striped bass minutes later.

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The winter bite is the same as it usually is this time of year each year. You just have to fish steady and believe the bite is coming. And when it does be ready. Use your electronics and don’t fish areas without bait and marks on your sonar. Make note of the depths you’re in when you catch and stay in those depths.

Good luck!