Guide Jerry Hill of Lexington, N.C., has swapped striper boats three or four times in recent years, and he’s back on the water in his latest vessel just in time for some of the best striper fishing that High Rock Lake has to offer.
“Most of the stripers caught at High Rock run from 8 to 12 pounds,” said Hill, who runs Triad Fishing and Guide Service (336-247-1265). “That can’t compare with those 20- to 40-pound monsters from other southern impoundments, but for the Yadkin chain, those are quality stripers. The funny thing is, not many small stripers are caught at High Rock like at Badin Lake. If you hang one at the Rock, it’s going to be big.”
This is one of Hill’s best months for big High Rock stripers.
“The fish are through with their false spawning run upriver and are headed back into the main lake, and they’re hungry,” said Hill. “It’s a good time to catch a big striper on the main body from Crane Creek to Second Creek.”
Hill uses big baits when trolling for big stripers, favoring white or green bucktail jigs in 3/4 to 11/2 ounces with green, white or chartreuse plastic worm trailers.
“No little Sassy Shads in June,” said Hill, who has a fondness for those smaller plastics at other times of the year. “I want a big bait; I’ve occasionally tied on a 2-ounce bucktail in late May and early June.”
Hill employs a spread of five rods, with three 8-foot rods paired with Penn 320 reels holding 36-pound leadcore line connected to a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader culminating in a double rig with bucktails. He mounts a rod on each side of his boat with another rod out the back.
“I let out three colors to probe the water column from 14 to 18 feet, which is the most-productive depth range,” said Hill, whose other two rods are paired with Penn 320 reels and rigged with downriggers, one on each side of the boat. The reels are spooled with 30-pound monofilament, followed by a 20-pound test fluorocarbon leader connected to double-rigged bucktails.
“I hate fluorocarbon line because it has no stretch, but I catch more fish with fluorocarbon leaders,” said Hill, who targets channel edges, humps and points along the main body, frequently trolling in a zig-zag fashion and crisscrossing channel edges.
“There are no birds in June to help me find forage; I have to use my electronics,” Hill said. “Once I find a concentration of forage and mark fish, I’ll begin slow-trolling. Unfortunately, High Rock has so much forage that finding baitfish doesn’t always translate into catching fish.”