The Striped Bass, or “striper,” are one of the most avidly pursued fish on Lake Texoma. They can live up to 40 years and reach weights greater than 100 lbs., although those larger than 50 lbs. are very rare. They are highly prized for their size, strength and fight on the line. This time of the year in north Texas, gizzard and threadfin shad, the striper’s favorite food, are swimming shallow, and each morning at first light, the big striped bass wake up and hunt in large numbers. This is the time of the year when there is a chill in the air and the stripers are feeding heavily in anticipation of winter.
A few of my fly fishing buddies have told me that the first time they hooked a striped bass on a fly rod, it felt like they hooked a shark. One of my goals this year was to land a Texoma striper on my fly rod. After several attempts and some very close calls, I unfortunately returned to land empty-handed.
Striped bass are big, bruising fighters – so if you know you’re going to be targeting them, consider an 8 to 10 weight fly rod with a strong backbone. You may even want to bump up to a 10 to 12 weight rod depending on the size of the fish and conditions you’re facing. The stronger the rod, the more leverage you’ll have during the fight and more likely you’ll be able to land the trophy of a lifetime.
Most of the time, I fish sink-tip or sinking head fly lines and use rather heavy and/or bulky flies that mimic shad. These larger flies can be difficult to cast, especially in windy conditions.
Your fly reel is equally as important. Choose one that will hold the needed fly line and backing. Be sure it’s heavy enough to properly balance your fly rod and be sure it has an adequate quality disc drag system. Stripers aren’t fast but they can run a good distance. Your reel should have the capacity to hold your fly line and at least 150 yards of either 20 or 30# backing.
As mentioned, striped bass feed mostly on baitfish, which greatly narrows down the basic types of flies you’ll need for success. It makes it really simple.
A variety of fly patterns include the following:
- Clouser Minnow
- Crease Fly
- Bucktail Deceiver
- Lefty’s Deceiver
- Large Streamers
- Topwater Popper
Any of these color combinations will produce:
- Black/Chartreuse (for dark and muddy water)
- All White
- All Tan
I’ve learned a lot about striper fishing from my good friend Roger Brown. He’s consistently hunting for striper out of his Hobie Pro Angler kayak, usually launching out of Highport Marina. Rightfully dubbed “Mr. Texoma” he is the most successful striper angler I know. Somehow, someway, he’s always landing the big girls. I honestly believe he’d be a great striper guide on Lake Texoma.
Here’s “Mr. Texoma” with a healthy Lake Texoma striper caught last month. This gal measured 34″ and even snapped his Hawg Trough in half.
Roger goofing off with a very smelly striper.
Our matching banana Hobie fishing vessels.
The plastic Navy out early one morning on Lake Texoma.
My buddy Steve with a nice one.
Along the way, Roger introduced me to Joe McKlemurry. Joe is known as “Axman” in the Pottsboro, Texas area. Having played guitar for many years, he was led to the inner city of Fort Worth to do street ministry. Since his guitar is known as “ax”, folks began calling him Axman, and it has stuck now for close to 20 years.
Joe started modifying lures when he was 12 years old and he’s been doing it ever since. He has never met a commercial lure he didn’t tweak. Today, Joe is the owner and operator of ReAxtion Lures. His lures catch striper. If you want to be successful on Lake Texoma, be sure and reach out to Joe on his website or on his Facebook page.
Joe with a Texoma striper caught on his very own ReAxtion lures electric chicken bubble bellies.
Joe started striper fishing 17 years ago on Lake Texoma. His first trip was easy, almost too easy. For the next month, he fished the lake 4 or 5 times and never got a strike. The challenge was on.
He hired a striper guide. The guide provided him with a list of lures most commonly used on the lake. Having fished the Matagorda Bay area for redfish and speckled trout, he immediately saw the similarities in the species.
In 1995, Joe began selling lures. His line of lure offerings have expanded from slabs, sassy shads to cocoahoe minnows, to include lures for trolling, casting and dead sticking.
His love for Lake Texoma drove him and his wife to buy a lot at Mill Creek Marina. In 2012, they built a home and moved to Pottsboro full-time.
In 2013, Joe retired and is now 100% focused on fishing and lure making.
ReAxtion Lures strives to make quality lures that will catch striper. Joe fishes year-round and keeps his lures organized by season. On his website, you can find a page that shows which lures work best throughout the year. Special orders are not a problem. He can paint whatever colors you need.
He provides on the water service, which is a rarity in today’s commercial lure business. He can be found at the marina before sun up and hand delivering lures to customers. Now that’s service!
The fly angler in search of some pole bending – line stripping action, be sure to check out the striped bass fishing on Lake Texoma. Have fun!