Smells Like Spring along the Sidewalk

| April 21, 2014

striper fishing on fly texas fishing lake texoma

I had dropped out of college in the 1980’s, and was mowing lawns for extra money to supplement a heavy tennis habit. Garlic grows wildly all over Denton, and we had this one yard where the back was gnarled with garlic and grass, and we followed the General’s orders and mowed like good conscripts – with no discretion. At the end of that yard job, my clothes, shoes and socks green, had the smell of garlic deeply embeded.

Driving home from an Easter Day photo shoot Sunday, I had the windows down, and was cranking up the Muse on the radio … when in came that smell … fresh mowed garlic. I don’t know the research, but smell is the trigger to the wasteland of forgotten things in my particular brain. I wish some of that wasteland could be plowed under and reseeded, but that one is a good memory made green almost every spring here in Denton, Texas.

michelle with texoma hybrid
Michelle HOLDING a hybrid she caught near the shoreline on the OK side of Texoma on Good Friday.


I hit Texoma very hard Good Friday with CK, spending sunup to sundown finding stripers and beating on them until, they finally gave up just before dark. What we do is “prospect” for stripers we see on the electronics (TV) with conventional tackle until we get a good bite on, and then really confuse the matter with dropping flies on them in the 15-30′ depth range. It strains the credulity of fly in our minds, but it is extremely easy to rationalize the legitimacy of the process. I won’t bore you with the rationalizations, but think sailfish on fly or coffee bean fly (for carp), and we are way in bounds.

The drawback is when you catch a monster striper on conventional but the fly does nothing but send the stripers back into a coma. And so far, that is exactly what we’re getting – a few heavy hits on conventional, and a sleep-fest on fly.


Finding striper on Lake Texoma, Texas, has become the talk of the lake. With a combination of extremely low lake levels and a healthy zebra mussel population, the old ways as best as I can tell, aren’t working. The talk at the ramp, the High Point marina restaurant, on the docks, on the internet; the talk is all about how this year’s striper behavior (pattern) is virtually unprecedented.

When it comes to THE SEEK, you have to remember that guides (last I heard there were 400+ guides) on Texoma, are extremely content to drive a Thunderbird (aka. WATER BUS) full of folks across from the marina and prospect along the islands where the old Red River channel swings by. And we did see that Good Friday. Why? Gasoline, of course.

Our SEEK, takes us almost from one end of the lake to the other, although one end has been better than the other for weeks now. The way I see it, with the Texoma at this level, we’re seeing the bones of the lake. Fish may have exponentially less water to be found in, but they are also confused by that same fact. Perceived advantage of less water – the lake showing its bones – is offset by some very lost fish who don’t really seem to know what to do with themselves, or the opposite sex.

texoma striper
A fun striper caught while prospecting for a good bite on Lake Texoma, Texas. This momma showed thirteen on the Boga, and was released quickly.


Once we FIND them in serious numbers on the TV, we use a combination of dead drift and trolling motor to take us over the marks and throw different combinations of lures and plastics to judge the bite.

If we FIND a legitimate bite, with multiple fish on more than one rod, we switch to fly, drop them down – with weight or long sinking tips – to see if we can switch on the fly bite. I caught a hybrid on the fly Good Friday, but that big striper you see is Fool’s Gold, a prospecting striper. It’s hard to explain, but the feeling of catching such a nice fish on conventional tackle is slightly more rewarding than the frustration of wishing it were on the fly.

hybrid lake texoma texas
CK with a nice hybrid caught on Good Friday. Lake Texoma, TexaHoma.

We finally got the bite on the FIND, it was about two hours before dark in an area of the lake far away from guide boats and people onshore. We had three kayaks pull in line with us, but they didn’t seem to catch anything on our same drift (almost windless at that time). They bit just enough to keep us interested until near dark. I did catch one hybrid on the fly, but the prospecting showed us that this isn’t the bite needed for a fly. Hint; the Texas record for Texoma striper on fly is only 11.38 pounds, upped earlier this year from a long-standing record in the 8 pound range, and looks like a pretty vulnerable record to us – as we learn more about how Texoma fishes.

Back at the Highpoint Marina, about the only thing worth talking about was the car that came within a foot of going all the way off the ramp and into the lake. Talk about a comedy with a front row seat, this was it. The water on these guys Toyota Camry car was a few inches from going through the back windows. Hollering and screaming ensued. When the stalled car finally started and pulled out – a Good Friday Miracle, water was running out the back doors from inside the car. The scene was so bad, I couldn’t even laugh. Culture on the Skids, baby, Culture – on – the – Skids.

NOTE – Even if you fish from kayak, or are pounding the shore near Highpoint; the restaurant serves good food and has a great atmosphere. Slow service can happen at any time, but the view over the marina is worth the stop.

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Category: Adventure, Culture on the Skids, Eating and Drinking, Fishing Reports, North Texas, On The Road, TIPS

About the Author () is where to find my other day job. I write and photograph fish stories professionally, and for free here! Journalist by training. This site is for telling true fishing news stories, unless otherwise noted.

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