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How To Catch More and Bigger Stripers

Brad Wiegmann
Written by Brad Wiegmann October 27, 2014

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Stripers are fast growing, voracious predators always searching for the next meal. Often schooling in packs, stripers can be caught with live bait and artificial lures. In forage rich reservoirs stripers flourish and large populations thrive while growing quickly to trophy size.

The only way to catch more or bigger stripers often depends on the reservoir you are fishing. Anglers wanting to catch numbers of stripers should go to Lake Texoma. It's renowned for a large population of modest sized stripers. 

pencil popper

On the other hand, anglers wanting to catch trophy sized stripers need to fish reservoirs like Lake Ouachita or Beaver Lake in Arkansas. Both of these lakes are regulated to produce stripers in the 30-, 40- to 50-pound plus range over the years."Over the years, my clients have landed big stripers up to 50 pounds. Personally, I have also caught a 50 pound striper and Beaver lake consistently produces big stripers every year," said Ed Chapko (www.striperguides.net) who has guided on Beaver Lake for 25 years. Chapko noted Beaver Lake is not known for numbers of stripers, but for size. 

Beaver Lake striper guide Ed ChapkoBeaver Lake has 487 miles of shoreline and covers 28,370 acres. The deep, gin-clear water has an abundant population of shad making it the perfect trophy striped bass lake. Stripers are stocked annually on Beaver Lake with over 160,000 striper fry and 60,000 hybrid striper fry stocked this year into Beaver Lake. 

"Currently on Beaver Lake you can expect to catch stripers in the summer ranging from 8- to 12-pounds or in the winter and spring 12- to 16-pounds. However, Beaver Lake does have a population of trophy sized stripers that are caught every year," said Chapko.  

Where you can expect to catch a striper on Beaver Lake depends on the time of year. Chapko noted stripers will move according to water temperature and dissolved oxygen levels. In the spring, Chapko will fish mud lines created by heavy rainfall from the river arms to the midlake area.  


Once summer arrives, Chapko will move down lake and fish from the midlake to the dam area. As the lake starts its fall turnover, Chapko follows schools of stripers as they head into submerged trees moving in the direction of the midlake to river arms section away from the dam area. As winter sets in Chapko starts fishing anywhere on the lake where he locates large schools of baitfish because the stripers will be nearby. "Find the shad in the winter and you will find the stripers," said Chapko. 

To catch more stripers on a guide trip, Chapko will often shift from using big gizzard shad and huge striper lures to a downsized live bait, smaller lure or leader line size on his reels. "When you are fishing for a trophy striper it takes a different approach and mind set. You are not expecting to get lots of big bites compared to when you are fishing to catch lots of stripers," said Chapko. 

DH 4000z and DH 3000z Downsizing to a medium sized reel makes sense when fishing smaller live bait. DH 3000z WaveSpin Reel was designed to handle smaller diameter braid and monofilament fishing line yet have the smooth drag to keep line from catching. It's rated for 6- to 10-pound test making it perfect for rigging with a lightweight live bait rig or casting downsized lures long distances with the exclusive WaveSpin Spool. 

It's a completely different approach when Chapko is targeting trophy sized stripers. Chapko likes to use big gizzard shad from 8- to 10-inches in length or during the summer months down rig with 8- to 12-inch long lures. "Trophy sized stripers love eating a big live bait or lure," said Chapko.  

Upsizing to a magnum sized lure requires a larger reel ready to take on the abuse stripers will inflect. DH 4000z WaveSpin Reel is not only the next size reel up, but was built with the purpose of conquering large, super powerful gamefish like stripers. It's rated for 8- to 12-pound test fishing line, but can accommodate larger diameter if an angler wants to increase line strength.  

Both WaveSpin Reels (www.wavespinreel.com) come with the exclusive No Tangle Technology and WaveSpin spool for Gizzard shadlonger casts. Along with featuring infinite anti-reverse oversized bail roller, synthetic paddle grip handle, eight stainless steel ball bearings and an advanced 10-disc front drag system. 

Submerged timber makes a big difference when striper fishing many areas of Beaver Lake especially in the lower area from Prairie Creek to the dam. It takes a super smooth drag system like the WaveSpin Reels with its 10-disc front drag system for casting lures to stripers that doesn't catch, but can stand up to punishing long runs. To check drag tension on a reel when striper fishing, Chapko will pull on the line about two foot from the rod tip to test how hard the resistance is and adjust it accordingly. 

As for lures when striper fishing, Chapko loves to fish Rat-L-Traps with a chrome and blue color finish. "The best time for fishing Rat-L-Traps is in the spring and fall at night. I use the 1/2-ounce size in the spring and change to a larger 1-ounce size in the fall," said Chapko. 

Chapko switches to a Cotton Cordell C-10 in a trout pattern when fishing for stripers that are suspending. "The large wake bait is a calling card for big stripers," said Chapko. One other lure Chapko likes to fish for stripers with on Beaver Lake is a Cotton Cordell Pencil Popper. "It's a great lure for catching actively feeding stripers anywhere on Beaver Lake," said Chapko.  

When it comes to catching numbers of stripers size matter does make a difference in striper fishing. Anglers using smaller live bait or lures may catch more, but if an angler wants to catch a trophy sized striper it's best to use big live bait or lures.  




About The Author

Outdoor Writer

Brad Wiegmann just wants to fish, but his wife told him to get a job so he works as a freelance outdoor writer and photographer when not fishing. Brad has written for countless magazines and websites. Besides being a freelance outdoor writer and photographer, Brad also has his own award winning website www.BradWiegmann.com.


Brad is well-known for his photographic skills. His photographs have appeared in numerous product catalogs, magazines and websites. He specializes in nature and fish above or below the surface.

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Brad Wiegmann Outdoors can produce content for your company’s website. We specialize in outdoors or fishing content and photography. All content and photos are original designed especially for your company.

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