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John's Journal... Entry 150, Day 1


What to Expect From a Day at Weiss

EDITOR'S NOTE: Steve Pope from Centre, Alabama, guides for crappie from February through the middle of May. During May through the hot time of the summer, Pope guides for stripers or bluegills. I've discovered on this striper trip with Pope at Weiss Lake that you'll have exciting, fun fishing for stripers. On Friday of this week, Pope will give you the secret to cleaning, storing and cooking stripers that will make you leave your crappie poles at home and go out and buy striper tackle for these delicious stripers.

QUESTION: In an hour and six minutes, we caught 12 stripers that would weigh from what, Steve?
ANSWER: 4 1/2 to 12 pounds. And, I know we've missed a bunch. We've probably missed as many as we've caught.

QUESTION: What's the best day of striper fishing you've ever had at Weiss Lake?
ANSWER: Sixty-four striper in one day was our best total. However, we only kept 15. Three people legally can keep 90 striper, however, not in my boat.

QUESTION: Why are there so many striper in Weiss Lake here on the Georgia/Alabama/Tennessee border?
ANSWER: Striper naturally reproduce in Weiss. The biologists aren't sure how and when they are naturally reproducing. There is a professor in Georgia doing a study on striper reproduction, and his study involves one of those tagged fish I've caught. Scientists are trying to figure out where the striper are going, what they are doing, and why they are doing it. Right now they believe the striper are going up Brushy Branch and spawning in that shallow, swift, cold water. Others are spawning in the Chattooga River, but you can't get to them because the water's not waist-deep, and it's rocky.

QUESTION: So Weiss has a natural spawn of saltwater striper that is not supposed to occur, is it? And as far as I know, this lake and Neely Henry near Gadsden, Alabama, are the only lakes where you can catch and keep 30-saltwater striper, correct?
ANSWER: To answer your first question, no, the natural spawn is not supposed to occur. Lake Weiss is probably the only lake in the country that has it. To answer your second question, the reason Neely Henry, the lake below Weiss on the Coosa chain, has so many striper is because 90% of Neely Henry's striper and saltwater striper come from Weiss.

QUESTION: How did you first start striper fishing?
ANSWER: Well, I started in J. Percy Priest Lake outside of Nashville, Tennessee, 30 or 40 years ago. Striper fishing was a novelty back then because nobody had ever done it. The stripers I was catching were 12 and 18 pounders, and I just got bit with the striper-fishing bug. I loved it.

QUESTION: How long does striper season run?
ANSWER: You can catch them here at Weiss Lake year-round. But around the first of July, the weather gets too hot to stay out here with the temperature hovering around 110 degrees with no wind and no shade. However, I fish for striper until I can't stand the weather. Before that, I'll be crappie fishing or bream fishing because I'm a guide and that's what most people like to do. I start striper fishing around the middle to the last of May.

QUESTION: What's the biggest striper you've seen come out of Weiss Lake?
ANSWER: I have him on my wall, and he weighed 38 pounds. But, I've seen bigger. I guess there's probably some 50 or 60 pounders in Weiss.

QUESTION: What does an average fisherman expect to catch if he comes up here striper fishing?
ANSWER: I call a trip a good one if we catch 10 striper; a great trip 15; and anything more than that is just a celebration because you usually miss so many. At times, you can catch 10 to 15 in an hour or two. But during slick- water times, striper don't seem to bite at all. The ideal condition to catch striper is when the water is a little choppy.

For more information about striper fishing, call Steve Pope at (256) 927-6617, e-mail him at
clp-pope@tds.net, or visit his Web site, lakeweissguideservice.com. His Web site has up-to-date weather for the lake as well as a photo gallery of what Pope is catching at Weiss each day.




Check back each day this week for more FISHING FOR SALTWATER STRIPER AT WEISS LAKE WITH STEVE POPE ...

Day 1 - What to Expect From a Day at Weiss
Day 2 - The Key to a Perfect Day at Weiss Lake
Day 3 - How to Reel In the King
Day 4 - Why a Fishing Buddy is Imperative
Day 5 - The Steps to an Unforgettable Recipe

John's Journal