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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
If you've seen my posts this summer you know that I've been focusing on the Yadkin primarily, with less than great results. Last Thursday I met up with stripes and really learned a lot. I missed a couple fish and he caught a couple, but I had a great time and learned a lot. I ran late and probably kept him from some fish, but he was nothing but nice about it. Real nice guy and I highly recommend fishing with him or hitting him up before fishing the river he seems to have mastered. He'll get you on some fish.

I wanted to get a couple more trips in this week before I move back to NCSU on Saturday, but with all the rain the Yadkin clearly wasn't going to be an option, so I decided to try something different!

I wound up going to Salem Lake. I usually go and mess around about once a year, but never with any luck. Today I just wanted to catch a catfish since I never had before. I told myself if I caught just one then it'd be a good day.

I probably got there around 1 or so. I got up relatively early, but moved pretty slowly and got on the water late. My plan was to work the legendary airlines for cats on the bottom and troll for whatever else, but when I asked at the office for the word on the fishing, I was told the airlines were out of order and had been for a couple months. Anyone going to Salem Lake, plan on no airlines.

I paddled around a little bit looking for decent spots and settled down at the railroad trestle and neighboring cove. I fought the wind for a while, but got myself out of it and dropped a line with my newly set up Abu Ambassadeur. I had never used a baitcaster, but figured I might try it for a fish I had never caught. I got bites right away and finally caught a small channel cat; my first ever catfish.

Shortly afterwards I brought in a small hybrid bass. I knew they were in there, but I chalked it up as a fluke and wondered what it would be like to catch a bigger one. Regardless, I was happy to check a second fish off my bucket list in one day.

Shortly afterwards I hooked into something that had my line dancing! It was a decent sized hybrid! I wound up catching about 4 or 5 on the day. Very fun fish to catch.

I finished with 6 catfish, each smaller than the one before it. Not gonna complain though as it was 6 more catfish than I had ever caught before. All channels I believe, no flatheads.

There was a bunch of activity on the surface, especially towards the end of the day, but I didn't really focus on it. Did manage a decent bluegill on a flyrod popper before I put it away. Worked a bank with a buzzbait on the way out but didn't bother much.

Interestingly enough the lake cuts off water activities at 7:30. I was already loading my car by that point, but it seems a little early for the summer.

Overall a good way to finish off the summer and my fishing season, as I may or may not be bringing a rod back to school.

Tight lines!
 

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The airlines have been there almost forever. They are there to pump oxygen into the lake I assume, but have always been a place to catch fish. There are scattered about on main channel close to pier. I haven't fished there since they replaced the dam a few years ago, but I guess they are still in about same place.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Reelpure - There were tons of people out there yesterday. It was a beautiful day. You should try fishing there if you haven't, and head to the railroad trestle if possible.

When the airlines are running they're pretty easy to see. Just lines of bubbles across the lake. Fish supposedly stack up there in the warmer months, but they're out of order for the foreseeable future. Someone actually just posted a link to a map of them the other day.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yeah the bigger one fought pretty hard. I can't imagine what one around 5 pounds would be like. I know Salem Lake and Oak Hollow have them, but I'm not sure of the full list. I did see a couple fish a year or so ago on the Hiwassee River in Tennessee that were either giant whites, or decent sized hybrids. Someone had caught them and then just left them rotting on the ank, which was a shame.

My buddy posted a picture once of one he caught below Idols dam that would have been a clear state record. And I've seen Ramond Wells' catches out of Kerr Scott that were pretty awesome.

Thanks a lot guys!
 

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Red X Angler
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That sounds like a pretty fun day.

Hybrids are terrific fighters. I hooked this one last week at Oak Hollow - there was something making wakes running shad up in a cove and I though it was a big bass. Got my wacky senko spit out too fast to get the hookset, which was odd for a bass, so when I saw the same activity about 20 min later I lobbed a Flash Mob Jr in there and got about a 5 or so lb hybrid:

Water Smile Fisherman Fish Lake


I used to catch these at OH when I was a teenager, but in recent years I'd heard rumors there weren't many left. Dunno about numbers but this was a fun catch. Thought I had an 8lb bass on the line when it hit! They tend to like moving baits if you're throwing artificials, a little faster than you would retrieve for bass fishing.

The air lines are hoses with holes in them, and they pump air through them to make bubble lines ... basically a giant aerator line. Most of the munincipal lakes installed them a couple decades ago. I remember around 1988 or so they were not there, but they've been in place in High Point lakes since at least 2004 or so. The shad will bunch up around the bubble columns like it's cover... you can throw a cast net over a bubble line and catch shad by the 100's. I guess the fish like to lurk those lines to pick off shad for an easy meal, so they become popular to fish for cats and hybrids.

Congrats on your personal firsts and a great day of fishing!
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Nice fish and thanks for the reply!

I've heard they were in Oak Hollow but had also heard they weren't caught very often. I think that was also the story with Salem Lake, but it seems like people have been catching them more since they built the new dam a couple years ago.

Hopefully next time I go to Salem Lake they'll have the lines running again and I can focus on them.

I'm glad to have a couple new species under my belt and look forward to targeting them more in the future.
 

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Red X Angler
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Personally, lines running or not, I tend to ignore them. I fish topography and bottom features mainly. There is no harm in targeting the lines, and that's probably not a bad call for hybrids or cats. I am after bass, though, so I focus on the structure typically.

That fish I saw running shad and hooked at Oak Hollow was probably 150 yards away from the nearest bubble line, just fyi.
 
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Why would you not us structure as your guide?

The air lines are productive for many when they are working, especially for fish that tend to be in more open water, and if you fish where the actual lines cross or contact channels or other "normal" structure, they generally produce running or not.

A carolina rig or bottom bumping crankbait will let you know soon enough if there is an active Largemouth in these areas, but to each their own.

Adult Black Bass hold tighter to structure than any freshwater game fish I can think of, but if they can take advantage of a food supply close to structure they are holding on, they will.

Fishscalz
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
Fishscalz - I wasn't really after largemouth this trip so I was going to try the lines because I've heard they're good for schools of cats and hybrids in the summer. Obviously structure is something you always look for, especially with largemouth, but I had just heard the bubbles can be the ticket in this lake.

Since they weren't running I just looked for areas that normally hold fish. Trolling along the airlines was just something I wanted to try.
 

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I did a quick read of this report, nice job! What did you catch the hybrids on? I've been trying to get to that lake for quite some time now. Thank you.

P.S. If you included what you caught them on in the report, I'm sorry for missing it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Believe it or not, most were caught on the chicken livers. Apparently they're raised on chicken products in the hatchery so they have quite the taste for it (at least that's what I was told.) I caught a couple on a small bucktail. I figured they were in the area so I'd try getting them on a lure.
 

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Believe it or not, most were caught on the chicken livers. Apparently they're raised on chicken products in the hatchery so they have quite the taste for it (at least that's what I was told.) I caught a couple on a small bucktail. I figured they were in the area so I'd try getting them on a lure.
Not only will hybrids hit livers, stripers will too. Thanks


Sent from my kayak...
 

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Red X Angler
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I have heard the younger fish focus on the chicken livers because that's what they are raised on, and the larger / older fish will start to gravitate more towards shad-type baits and live bait like minnows and shad. I'm no expert, though. I've just caught a few over the years. :D
 
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