I don’t know all the details to this yet, but hope to find out more soon. The story is that a fisherman down on Bull Shoals Lake was fishing from the bank with regular fishing line and a spin-casting reel with a plastic worm for bait and he hooked a 58-pound Missouri state record striper.

I don’t know all the details to this yet, but hope to find out more soon. The story is that a fisherman down on Bull Shoals Lake was fishing from the bank with regular fishing line and a spin-casting reel with a plastic worm for bait and he hooked a 58-pound Missouri state record striper.

There are those who might be skeptical. I have seen stripers half that size take all the line off a reel from someone in an anchored boat, and I never ever heard of a striper being caught on a plastic worm. However, knowing as I do that no one can be trusted to be more honest and upright than a bank fisherman, I am inclined to believe the whole story. I just think the FBI should investigate…

Would you like to know more about the striped bass in the Ozarks? Well, I dug up something I wrote about 15 or 20 years ago. Things have indeed changed. They have already reported 60-pound plus stripers in Arkansas’ Beaver Lake. Here is my run-down on the striper, from many years back…..

“He's a prisoner, held behind steel and concrete barriers far from his native haunts. But Morone Saxatalis has adapted well to the Ozarks. And why not? He's the biggest fish in the pond.

Morone Saxatalis; known in these parts as striped bass or striper, wasn't even thought of when the Corps of Engineers began damming rivers a few decades ago. And there was a time, shortly after he was unleashed in the region, when fishermen feared that he would wreak havoc on other game fish. But he didn't. He's made the best of his imprisonment to become the hardest fighter an Ozark angler can tie into. And the biggest ones are surely yet to be caught.

The stripers' story began in 1941, when the famed Santee-Cooper reservoir system was constructed in South Carolina. The freshwater rivers there flowed into the Atlantic, and the dams which sealed them off trapped thousands of migrating stripers.

For centuries upon centuries, striped bass had lived in the Atlantic, migrating into freshwater streams to spawn each spring, then finding their ways back into the ocean.

In the late 1800s, stripers were transplanted off the Pacific coast, and they took hold and thrived, again using freshwater streams to spawn, then moving back into the ocean.

I suppose most biologists assumed that stripers couldn't survive unless they returned to the salt water. But those fish trapped inside the Santee-Cooper reservoirs thrived and reproduced, surprising everyone. In the '50s, stripers were transported to North Carolina and Virginia.

About that time it was determined that the “rockfish” (another name for saltwater stripers) were growing about twice as fast in freshwater reservoirs as they were in the ocean. After two years of growth in the Santee-Cooper system, the stripers were nearly 20 inches long, and a fatter fish despite their imprisonment. It became obvious that stripers were not wiping out crappie and bass, but gorging themselves on shad. Why go back to the ocean?

As the years passed, stripers were stocked throughout the southeastern states. But it was apparent they would not spawn everywhere with the degree of success they enjoyed in Santee-Cooper.

It was thought that even where stripers would not spawn they could be propagated in hatcheries and released in such large numbers that the natural spawn would not be necessary. That became a possibility in 1965; when biologists learned to induce hatchery spawning by a hormone injection. A five-pound striper would yield 50,000 eggs. Twenty- to 30-pound females would yield up to two million.

With the idea that stripers would probably always have to be stocked, they were introduced into most of the midwest states in the 1960s. Missouri released the fish into Lake of the Ozarks in 1967. Arkansas stocked stripers in Norfork, Ouachita, Beaver Lake, and the Arkansas River. Initially they stocked Bull Shoals as well, but discontinued that when it was feared that stripers would prey upon the trout stocked there annually.

Even though the Bull Shoals stocking ended, for the past five or six years fish initially stocked have been caught, weighing from 30 to 45 pounds.

Many 40-pound stripers have been taken in southern and midwestern waters, with Beaver, Ouachita, and Bull Shoals surrendering their share. Over in Oklahoma, the 46-pound state record was taken on an Arkansas River Impoundment, Kerr Reservoir, at the mouth of the Illinois River tributary.

But the largest landlocked striper taken to date was a 59-pound, twelve-ounce fish caught in 1977 from the Colorado River in Arizona. In 1981, a saltwater striper was landed off the coast of New York that weighed 76 pounds. Off the coast of North Carolina, a commercial fisherman netted a 125-pound striper. So who knows how big the fish can get? Fisheries biologists won't venture a guess, but the chances of a 60-pound striper being taken in the Ozarks someday seem pretty good.”

…..Yes, that’s what I wrote, way back then. Now there’s a 58-pound fish taken on a plastic worm by a bank fisherman? I have to find out more about this…maybe he hit that plastic worm because he was choking on a trout or something of that sort. Maybe he was too close to dead to fight really hard! 

Well, the August-September issue of the Lightnin’Ridge Outdoor Journal will be out this coming week, and it is the best one we have put out yet, the 27th issue in five years. I hope you can find an issue somewhere, but if you can’t e-mail me at lightninridge@ windstream.net and I’ll let you know where there might be one close to you.

You can see the new one on my website, www.larrydablemontoutdoors. blogspot.com this week. Or you can write to me at Box 22, Bolivar, Mo. 65613 and I can send information on it. We did a scientific poll of 12 of our readers, and all of them said it was the best outdoor magazine ever, so that pretty much is conclusive evidence. I notice the political polls give an error ratio of plus or minus so many percent. We don’t know how to do that. I am pretty sure we’re 100 percent certain that our magazine is the best one ever.