You can find them in different environments, including salt and freshwater. They’re fast swimmers that give anglers quite a rush. Discover the largest striped bass ever caught in North Carolina! It didn’t weigh quite as much as a Newfoundland but its length sure is impressive!
Striped Bass Overview
Striped bass are broken down into two categories: juveniles, which measure 12 to 24 inches long and are also known as “schoolies.” The others are adults that can grow much larger. As of 2023, they are known to grow up to 40 inches or more. On average, striped bass can weigh 15 to 20 pounds and can be up to 36 inches in length. Their size depends on where they are.
They normally spawn in freshwater rivers, which is where they fertilize their eggs. Later, they hatch, and the entire process takes about three weeks. The male’s job is to protect their nests. They use up three to four feet of space, and they fully take care of that area even after the female and the offspring have gone. Then, they return to the ocean. They normally live in the Atlantic Ocean from Florida to the Gulf of St. Lawrence, Canada.
Striped Bass Fishing Basics
You can find striped bass in different environments, from sandy beaches to freshwater rivers. They’re adaptable fish, changing their diet based on where they are. Low-light and nighttime are your best bets for finding striped bass. Unless it’s during the spring and fall migratory period. During these periods, their feeding time extends into daylight hours. You can catch this species all year long. But you have to understand their behavior.
Their preferred temperature is between 45 and 67 degrees Fahrenheit. They go out of their way to find depths suitable for the temperatures that they like. This is why you can find striped bass at various depths. Once you know how deep to go, it’s time to present the right bait! Choose bait such as sandworms, nightcrawlers bloodworms, and anchovies. You can use synthetic bait as well, like rubber, metal, wood, and plastic. But if you’re out fishing on a boat in the Mid-Atlantic up through Maine, try using bigger live baitfish (like mackerel or menhaden!).
An important factor to consider is the 10 to 20-pound line — braided is best. The hook you use should be sharp enough and should also have a minimum of 0.5 inches between the shank and the point to avoid catching smaller fish. To reach deeper water, you have to show up prepared to make sure you have enough line. Be sure to add enough weight to reach the lowest point desired.
Largest Striped Bass Ever Caught in North Carolina
The largest striped bass ever caught in North Carolina weighed 66.1 pounds and measured 47.5 inches long. A 17-year-old from Murphy, NC gets the credit for catching such a monster bass. Angler Tyler Shields caught it in Hiwassee Lake. Interestingly, the previous state record, a 54.2-pounder, was caught in the very same lake in 1991.
Largest Striped Bass Ever Caught in the World
Best Lakes for Striped Bass Fishing in North Carolina
Obviously, Lake Hiawassee in North Carolina has boded well for record-setting striped bass! But there are others in the state worth checking out, whether you’re headed out for a leisurely trip or you’re looking to snag a trophy fish.
For example, Lake Norman is a fantastic option for winter striper fishing. Head on over to the mid-lake area of the lake where stripers are focused on entire pods of baitfish. It’s a one-stop shop where you can stock up on live bait around the lake and head out to find striped bass. This is not a likely spot to find a trophy fish — but you can certainly expect to catch three to five-pounders.
Another option is Lake Hickory. It’s not as big as Lake Norman but if you head out during the pre-spawn and spawning periods, you may just catch a trophy fish! Grab your gizzards from the area and head over to the primary Catawba River channel. This environment calls for a light line. One last lake worth checking out is Badin Lake. January is the best time to head over since it’s typically quiet during this time.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © Kim Miller Media/Shutterstock.com
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