Selective Striper Boils and the Fall Bait

Selective Striper Boils and the Fall Bait

The setting is late fall at Cherokee Lake, but this message is inconsequential to the location or time of year.

Do you see the dark spot in the water, a few yards in front of Troy Lindner? Do you know what it is? 

That’s right you guessed correctly, it’s a massive ball of bait fish.

They’re Threadfin Shad, which are all over the lake. Have you ever had a day fishing when there was so much bait everywhere, and the fish didn’t seem to be interested in your artificial lures?

The typical bait fish size

The typical bait fish size

The Situation

Striped bass were focused on the bait balls. Occasionally a school of bait would flush during a subsurface striper attack. There was also solitary surface boils too. Most often a single striper would hit bait on the surface and then go directly back down. Sustained strikes with more than one fish involved were not occurring. 

The scattered solitary boils were not easy to predict and getting your offering in front of a striped bass before that ‘busting’ fish went back down was practically impossible. These circumstances made catching these fish difficult until Troy was able put things together.

The Solution

I watched Troy tie on a Rapala Jigging Rap. The Jigging Rap originally designed as a vertical jigging bait associated with techniques familiar to winter and ice fishing. This unique bait is also versatile, and especially so in the hands of a competent bass angler.  

Rapala Jigging Rap W9 7/8 oz. 3.75"

Rapala Jigging Rap W9 7/8 oz. 3.75"

Troy was ready to cast, but he waited until a boil occurred. His plan was not to try a lighting fast reaction and meet the striper at the surface, but instead immediately follow the fish down directly after the top-water blow-up.

The Plan Pays Off

Excellent Cherokee Lake Striped Bass!

Excellent Cherokee Lake Striped Bass!

The Jigging Rap has a unique fall action. Moving down in a circular motion it stays in a flat horizontal body position. It’s also heavy and casts well. These particular attributes gave Troy the ability to place a lure directly on top of the feeding striper and quickly descend straight down with a convincing attitude.

Doing Something Different

So why am I showing this catch? Yes, it’s an excellent striped bass catch, but there is a better reason than that. Is this article a lake report of sorts, and I wanted to explain to the international BBZ audience that there is a harsh bite taking place at Cherokee Lake Tennessee? No, that isn’t going to ‘cut’ it either.

The reason is when you break down what Troy did to catch this fish it ‘SCREAMS’ BBZ. He was confronted with a difficult situation but was able to examine the condition, tie on a particular tool, and use it in a certain way that turned a problem into a solution. That is classic outside of the box thinking! 

Next time you find yourself in a similar situation, you may recall this lesson, not giving up, keep searching for positive results, and most importantly having an open mind. Sometimes we can become stuck in our methods. Never stop expanding your horizons!     

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