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ON FISHING

 

 

Popular hybrid striped bass have reputation for giving anglers challenging fight

 

 

 

MICHAEL ACOSTA

As a licensed professional fishing guide, Michael Acosta shows you how to find them. He has been fishing all of his life, and has been a licensed guide since 1998. michael.acosta@att.net

Many Texas lakes are stocked with hybrid striped bass as they can grow big — and they can and will control populations of shad in our Texas waters. In fact, over the years the hybrid, which is more tolerant of the Texas heat, has replaced the striped bass in many of our reservoirs. Pound for pound the hybrid striped bass is one of the hardest-fighting fish in fresh water and is great table fare.

The hybrid striped bass (technical name “palmetto bass”) are produced by artificially spawning a male white bass with a female striped bass, which is typically what you see in Texas. The “Sunshine Bass” is made with a female white bass and a male striped bass. A hybrid striped bass usually can be distinguished from a striped bass by its broken lateral stripes along the lower sides of the body (generally continuous on a striped bass) and a distinctively shorter, thicker, and deeper body form.

Hybrid striped bass and striped bass can be distinguished from white bass by its two tooth patches on the tongue as opposed to only one tooth patch on the white bass. As they grow older, hybrid bass become thicker and deeper-bodied, giving them a distinctive short and stocky appearance. In addition, the white bass usually has only one lateral line extending to the tail. The hybrid striped or striped bass usually has three lateral lines extending all the way to the tail.

The Texas Parks and Wildlife rules and regulations booklet has diagrams to help you tell the difference between these species. The legal-size limit for hybrid and/or striped bass is 18 inches and you are allowed five fish per person per day on most Texas lakes. Lake Texoma has different limits. Make sure you consult the TPWD Outdoor Annual for specifics.

Some of our area lakes with hybrid striped bass include Bridgeport, Proctor, Benbrook, Lewisville, Ray Hubbard, Graham and Belton. Lake Granbury has some hybrids that may have either washed down from Lake Graham through Possum Kingdom Lake or escaped from the hatchery below Possum Kingdom. The Brazos River lakes, namely Possum Kingdom, Granbury and Whitney, are stocked with the full-blooded striped bass species.

In Texas, hybrids commonly reach seven to 10 pounds or larger. The current world record is more than 27 pounds, caught in Arkansas.

During the majority of the year, hybrids can be located near the main lake point or near structure. Live bait (live shad or bream) during most of the year is a good choice. In the winter, soft plastics such as jerk baits and swim baits are extremely effective.

Late spring or early summer is a great time to look for these fish pushing bait fish to the surface. Action can be tremendous. As I mentioned earlier, pound for pound the hybrid striped bass will out-fight a striped bass. A big hybrid will bend the rod over in half and strip line from your reel like no other freshwater fish. That is the main reason most anglers seek this species.

FISHING REPORT

Lake Granbury water temperatures are rising into the middle 70s and above quickly with the recent heat wave. White bass fishing has improved on the main lake as the fish are returning to their post-spawn locations. White bass are good on slabs fished near humps and flats from The Shores to DeCordova. Striped bass action is slow to fair on live shad fished on the lower ends. Blue and yellow catfish continue to be good on cut shad on many areas of the lake. Crappie catches continue to be good to excellent on small minnows fished under docks over deeper water. Black bass reports are good to seven pounds in the shallows early and late on soft plastics and spinner baits.

Striped bass numbers continue to be caught on Lake Whitney on live shad. Possum Kingdom Lake striped bass to 18 pounds are possible down rigging jigs mid-lake to the lower ends.