Time was, if you wanted to catch a hybrid striped bass, a hard-fighting cross between a striper and white bass, you had to travel to Tennessee or beyond. Virginia didn't want anything to do with them.
So a bunch of us from the Roanoke Valley did just that; we'd leave during the wee hours before daylight and drive to Tennessee to join the crowds of natives casting for this prized fish that was developed in the mid-60s by biologists from South Carolina, with help from Tennessee.
The natives in Tennessee called them "mules," not so much for their genetic makeup, but because they had more pull than a Tennessee mule when they hit a bucktail.
There were strong requests from Virginia anglers to have the state stock hybrids in Smith Mountain Lake, but biologists then didn't want them anywhere near the Roanoke River drainage. They said the rare, self-sustaining population of stripers that enjoyed a successful spawning run up the Roanoke River from Kerr Lake should be protected at all cost.
I reflected on this Sunday when I read Mark Taylor's Outdoor Page account about the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries stocking hybrids last week in Carvins Cove, the 630-acre Western Virginia Water Authority impoundment near Roanoke. Approximately 5,000 fingerlings were released. Follow-up stockings in subsequent years are anticipated.
That is good news on two fronts:
- DGIF biologists are back in the business of managing the Cove after a two-decade absence. They left when Roanoke City officials made fishing rules so rigid and exclusive that the DGIF said the impoundment had become a private lake and it was unlawful for them to manage.
- The choice of the hybrids as an additional predator in the lake appears to be a good one. Officials also considered walleye and stripers, which had been stocked in the lake during previous years.
Hybrids grow rapidly and generally are easier to catch than their bigger cousin, the striped bass. They tend to feed closer to the surface and can provide exciting top-water action.
They utilize a diverse forage base that includes crayfish, sunfish and rough fish. If they prove to be harmful in any way-some anglers are concerned they will be detrimental to native bass populations--the threat could be removed by simply discontinuing stockings. Hybrids don't reproduce.
This species has been stocked in Claytor Lake and Flannagan Reservoir.
Marlin fishing offering tight lines off Virginia coast
"Red hot!" "Epic!" That's how the marlin bite is being described off the coast of Virginia.
The recent Virginia Beach Billfish Tournament resulted in 69 boats catching 483 billfish.
"This is a grand time to be fishing our offshore water and I am very fortunate to live here," said Dr. Ken Neill, an associate commissioner of the Virginia Marine Resources Commission.
Neil and his companions landed nine white marlin Sunday and had a blue marlin look at their baits.
Marlin have produced excellent catches during recent Septembers, and this year should be no different.
- Denny Martin, retired bear biologist for the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries died last week at the age of 72. Martin lived in Swoope where for a time he operated a Christmas tree farm. He was respected as a professional who was instrumental in building the bear population in Virginia. A memorial is scheduled Sept 14 in Waynesboro.
- Salem bass fishing pro John Crews has a new sponsor, Vicious Vision, a maker of polarized eyewear. The company praised Crew's recent seventh-place finish in the B.A.S.S. Angler of the Year standings and the fact he is heading to the Bassmaster Classic for the eighth time.
- The Potomac River Fisheries Commission has shut down all menhaden fishing in the river in compliance with a new catch limit mandated by the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission. Menhaden are an important food source for striped bass and other saltwater species. The commission said it determined that over fishing was taking place. Virginia commercial fishermen packed up their equipment and left quietly, according to the Westmoreland News, but those in Maryland are threatening a law suit.
- FLW has announced that umbrella rigs, commonly called Alabama or A-rigs, will be prohibited on the FLW Tournament Tour in 2014. The rigs allow an angler to cast a multitude of lures at one time. FLW Cup Champion Randall Tharp said at one lake people were casting 20 baits on one rig.
- Bass Pro Shops will be offering their catalogues in interactive digital from for the iPad. They will be available free of charge at the App Store. The digital offerings include videos, graphics and tips from pros.
Events, seasons, dates
- Meeting of Smith Mountain Striper Club, 7 p.m., Friday, Moneta Community Center, round-table discussion on artificial lure techniques and a presentation by Department of Game and Inland Fisheries biologist Dan Wilson. Visitors welcome.
- Hunters for the Hungry banquet, Sept. 14, Moose Lodge on Virginia 311 in Roanoke County, tickets $25 for a single; $40 for a couple, tickets and information from Ralph and Lois Graybill, 540-427-5125, and John and Wanda Reed, 540-427-4788 or Sportsman's Warehouse in Roanoke.
- Western Region Big Game Show, Sept. 14 and 15, Rockingham County Fairgrounds, Harrisonburg, this is the show that measures for the Virginia record book deer, bear and turkey killed the past season. Awards ceremony 3 p.m. Sept. 15. Information from Jon Ritenour, 540-434-8028 or check www.VPSA,org. State Championship Sept. 28 & 29 (see below).
- Sherwood Archers Bowhunter's Jamboree, Sept. 14 and 15, range near Hanging Rock, 3-D and other shoots, directions and other information www.sherwoodarchersroanoke.com
- New River Valley Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation will sponsor a Sept. 20 fund-raising banquet at Custom Catering, 902 Patrick Henry Drive in Blacksburg. Doors open 5:30 p.m., dinner at 7:30 p.m. Tickets $65 for a single; $80 for a couple. Contact Edsel Frame, 540-639-0212 or email@example.com.
- Jakes event sponsored by Botetourt County Longbeards Chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation, Sept. 21, registration at noon, activities 1 to 6 p.m., seven rotating stations set up to teach youngsters about turkey hunting, no charge, but for $10 you can become a member of the NWTF Jakes program, door prizes, information from Richard Pauley, 540-992-1883 or Pauleyr@nationwide.com. Earlier this year, the Botetourt chapter won the NWTF's top award for its Jakes program.
- Triangle Archers 3D tournament, Sept. 22, on club range between Christiansburg and Blacksburg, $12, $25 per family, cub and pee wee $6, information from Jim Overfelt, 540-552-8023.
- Quail habitat tour, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sept. 27, Halifax County, sponsored by the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries, Quail Forever, Virginia Department of Forestry, NRCS and Virginia Soil and Water Conservation Districts, catered lunch, meet at Reese Farm Fresh Products in Scottsburg, more information from Jason Fisher, firstname.lastname@example.org, register by calling DGIF office in Forest, 434-525-7522.
- Youth deer hunting day, Sept. 28.
- Eastern Regional Championship and State Championship Virginia Big Game Show, Sept. 28 & 29, Southampton County Fairground, Franklin, information from www.VPSA.org or Kenneth Pickin, 804-633-0275.
- Meeting of the Roanoke Branch of the Quality Deer Management Association, Oct. 3, 6:30 p.m., Hollins Branch of the Roanoke County Library.
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