Night fishing for striped bass is one of my favorite methods of fishing in the spring. Every year around mid March the striped bass, hybrid bass and walleye move up to the shore lines after dark to feed. I have fished the last two nights with success each night. Two nights ago the big fish were up tight on the banks. I landed 3 nice fish, one walleye, two stripers and had quite a few other missed opportunities. I guess I am a little rusty and did not get good hook sets. My last fish of the night, around 9:30PM, just exploded on my bait in about 2 feet of water. I could actually see the fish come out of the water (amazing with these old eyes) roll over on the line and then, you guessed it, the line broke. Last evening was a good bite but the fish were on the smaller size, keeper size, but not big enough for me to keep. I had a blast both nights and hope to get out again this evening if the rain holds off.
The method I use to fish for these Norfork Lake monsters is to cast a 5 to 6 inch suspending jerk bait. There are many brands and many different prices, but all will work. I have used Smithwick Rogues as well as Spro's. I seem to get a little better action on the Spro's in colder water and the hooks are stronger. If you go with the Rogues you do need to change out the hooks and split ring to stronger ones or you will get very disappointed when both bend out and you lose that big fish. There are two different views on where to position your boat. The first is to get your boat close to the shore line and cast parallel along the shoreline. The thinking here is that you will keep your bait in the strike zone longer for those feeding fish. The second is to keep your boat as far away from the shore as possible and still be able to cast to the shore. I typically keep my boat away from the shore and cast into it. My belief is that I won't spook the fish with my boat and I have also found that the fish will follow the bait and hit it in deeper water and not always on the banks. Cast your bait as close to the rocks of the shoreline as you can. The retrieval method is simple, reel as slow as possible. If you think you are reeling slow, reel slower. Color choice of your bait is a personal preference, but I typically go with dark backs and light bottoms on overcast and new moon nights and lighter tops and darker bottoms on full moon nights. I have caught many fish on various colors, greens, blues, purples, orange, you name it. If your not getting hits on one color change out until you find the color they are looking for. We have a good selection of both baits for sale at Hummingbird Hideaway Resort.
Where to find these Norfork Lake monsters is the next question. I have recently been fishing part way back in major creeks. I start on secondary points and work both sides of the point along the shore line. Typically you will find the fish on long shallow points close to flats, but over the last two days I have also found the fish on deep bluff line points. Once the water warms up a little more they will move out to the main lake points and typically be feeding on the long shallow points. I find stripers and walleye all over at different times, but usually have to look a little. I have also found stripers in the backs of small creeks in very shallow water. I will usually mark fish and bait in the area that is active.
Norfork Lake water level is rising slowly with the rain and snow we have had over the last week or so and currently sits at 550.04. The surface water temperature is also on the rise and was at 46 - 47 degrees last evening. The water is turning very clear with stained water in the backs of creeks and coves.
We have cabins available for these prime spring weeks and week ends. I'll be happy to show you where I'm fishing and what I'm using. I really enjoy helping folks catch fish.
Happy fishing and see you on the lake.