July 12, 2012 Share

Striper Fishing Report


By Captain Jim Durham – StriperFun Guide Service
Staff Writer for fishin.com

DATE OF REPORT: July 11th, 2012


• Latest water temperature: 87.2° F surface (Halfway out Fishing Creek) July 10th, 2012
• Latest water temperature: 86.9° F surface (White Oak Creek) July 9th, 2012
• Latest water temperature: 86.5° F surface (Main Lake) July 10th, 2012
• Current lake level is Lake Level: 682.75 feet.

Currently, the lake level is right at 682.75 feet above sea level. This is about 3 feet ABOVE the normal (working on the dam) elevation of 680.00 feet above sea level. The lake is now about 42 feet below the tree line, which is 725' above sea level. I will keep you posted.

Greetings to my readers! I hope the world finds you and your family doing well!
As a former United States Air Force Airman – military veteran and as a current U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol Coxswain (Captain), I understand the great importance that our brave service men and women play in our society. Their service is why you speak English, can vote and can enjoy the freedoms you do! 
We also cannot forget the duty and service provided by our policemen and firemen.
STRIPERFUN OFFERS A 10% DISCOUNT on all charters to currently active Policemen and Firemen as well as to active military AND retired military veterans (with proper verification ID provided by the person booking the trip).
This is our way of saying “THANKS” for your service to these important groups.
You can now purchase all of the StriperFun – Captain Jim Lures and products (hair jigs, blade baits, umbrella rigs and multi lure casting rigs, DVDS and more!!) directly at StriperFun headquarters at Lee’s Ford Resort Marina on Fishing Creek in Somerset Kentucky!  Ask to speak with Bobby Maynard or Hunt Prather at the marina ship store down on the water!
It has been 3 weeks since my last report.   
Same Bat Time – Same Bat Channel (same great fishing)!!!!!
The fishing continues to be extremely strong for all StriperFun guides! 
See above the photo of the Tony “AJ” Johnson group who fished with me personally and nailed a limit of 8 fat Stripers!  These guys are true American heroes, being fire fighters out of Lexington.  It was my honor and great pleasure to take them and it was so much fun to put them on big fish!
I was on vacation over the 4th holiday and caught limits 8 days in a row.  I also nailed another huge Striper down rigging one of my chartreuse Captain Jim Special Hair Jigs with a green “Tiger tail grub”.   See above the photo of this newest “huge” monster Striper caught fishing a main lake hump!   
I teach main lake “hump” fishing on my instructional DVD Striper Fish like a Pro – Volume # 2, if you want to learn this summer technique!
In brief, a “hump” is the raising of the land (under water) off the flat bottom that has deep water running along both sides of it.  Imagine driving down the highway looking at a flat field and all the sudden there is a big hump maybe 40 feet high right in the middle of the field with a creek on one side of it and a ditch on the other (like an Indian mound for example).  It is just out there.  The same type of humps are under water, usually adjacent to the river channel.
This is what we are fishing, “humps”! 
They are like neighborhood gathering places and the bait (and fish) really stack up on these humps!  Most of these humps are only a ¼ to a ½ mile long and are maybe 40 yards across, so they are tricky to fish. 
There is a true “art” to fishing them, so if you want me to show you this cool technique then book a trip and we can spend a day doing it!
I am also catching a ton of fish down rigging (Captain Jim Special Hair Jigs) on long shallow mud flats.  I am moving the boat really fast 3.5 MPH fishing 35 feet of water 20 feet deep.  The fish are about yanking the rods out of their rod holders!
We continue to catch good numbers of Stripers and solid numbers of 20 pound plus fish (even 30 pound fish!)!   I am so very pleased to see the “big fish” bite maintaining!  We have been catching lots of numbers this summer and some huge trophy fish too!  On almost every day it is Kapow!  Kapow and “Wham” with many times limits for all StriperFun guides, lots of fish overall and several huge monster Stripers to boot!  
As always, every now and then the weather will shut the bite down for a day or so. But generally, we continue to be “tearing them up” with rod tips getting “yanked hard” into the water with fish after fish!  I, Captain Dave, Captain Larry and Captain Jared have all been “blistering” the fish. 
Check the StriperFun website under “recent catches” for “photo after photo after photo” of nice limits StriperFun is delivering for other clients as well.  The fishing this time of year can be absolutely spectacular!  You can find massive schools of Stripers and big Smallmouth (that have trapped huge herds of bait fish1) suddenly show up on the graph and “Kabom” down the rods go!  
Yee Hiii !!!!!!  You live for this type of fishing!!
As a formal notice, the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife has lowered the size limit on Stripers from 24 to 22 inches.  The creel count of two keepers a day remains the same.
We begin to catch a lot of nice Walleye this time of year as well!  BOOK YOUR AUGUST “WALLEYE” TRIP NOW!
Many times our customers do not initially realize that the Striper fishing is 365 days year round.  However, as the largest guide service in Kentucky, all of our boats are covered and heated and we virtually fish almost every day.  Do not worry about the weather or let it keep you away!
The big Stripers are really moving fast around the lake now and you need to cover a lot of ground to locate them.  You need really good electronics to help you do this!
Consider sonar to be essential equipment.  Sonar helps determine the depth at which the lure should be presented by identifying the depth at which fish are located and helps you locate the schools of bait and fish. 
Humminbird fish finders are the highest quality fish finders on the market!  They have great features like built in GPS lake map contouring for navigation and can be upgraded to add  radar for night navigation!.  They have super cool “side imaging” (to locate fish and schools of bait out to the side of your boat!) and “down imaging” (for “photo like clarity” of what is under your boat).  For down rigging, the Humminbird units also mate up with Cannon down riggers with a “cannon link” controller that allows you to lower and raise your down riggers directly from your fish finder (you can sit in your chair and do it!).
With their new 360 feature that allows you to see out to several hundred feet in a 360 degree circle all the way around your boat (locating fish and schools of bait), Humminbird is an ultra valuable tool for the professional fisherman as well as the weekend warrior! 
So, you need to fish deep and follow the edge of the river channel to find the big Striper schools.  What can you do to cover a lot of ground yet still fish for big Stripers when you have to move around a lot to find the Stripers in deep water?
The answer is down rigging!  A downrigger is the most effective tool for precise, controlled-depth trolling of lures at virtually any depth.
A downrigger set-up consists of a strong base mounted to the boat transom (or other location near the back of a boat), onto which a spool of heavy (usually ultra thin metal) cable is attached. The cable is placed through the downrigger arm with a pulley system and descends straight down into the water below the boat. Heavy weights, called “cannon balls,” are attached to the cable to anchor it at a precise depth, determined by how much cable is released from the spool.  There is a release attached to the cannonball by wire and your line (with the lure already deployed) attaches to the release.
The most common lures trolled for Stripers are hair jigs, spoons, hard body thin stick baits and swim baits.  For most of my lines I down rig, I personally prefer using my own brand of Captain Jim Special  ½ ounce white or chartreuse hair jigs with small 4 inch swim bodies or Striper grub tails. 
However, an extremely effective combination I always run on at least one line is a Captain Jim Special “mini” umbrella rig.  It is light enough to not “pull out” of the clip, yet has five ½ ounce spinner jigs that create a “ton” of vibration and flash.  Even if they do not try to eat the mini umbrella (they usually do!), it also draws attention to your other deployed jigs!
You can order these lures right off the StriperFun website (click the link above).

When choosing your downrigger, remember that the boom length must be long enough to effectively clear your cable and lines from your prop while making tight turns. Other important features to consider are an accurate line counter. If you are considering a manual downrigger some offer a 2 foot per crank option. This is an important feature when you are fishing deep.
Electric downriggers are a must if you intend to spend a lot of time doing this (manual cranks can wear you out on a hot day)!  Proper placement on your boat is crucial. Mount your downriggers as far to the stern of your boat as possible, allow room for basic operation, setting the release and clearing debris.
I only use Cannon Downriggers from Johnson Outdoors and so should you! I love my Cannon Down riggers!”  For smooth operation and ease of use, you cannot beat Cannon down riggers.  My electric "Digi Troll 5" down riggers deliver for me – Striper after Striper!  All StriperFun guides run only CANNON DOWNRIGGERS!


I have found that at speeds above 2.5 MPH or depths nearing 100 feet, a minimum of a 10 or 12 lb. weight is a must.  Smaller weights simply swing up too high behind the boat at fast speed to gauge an accurate depth the lures are actually running.


There are many different styles of releases on the market today. I highly recommend choosing a pinch type release. Releases are generally sold as light, medium or heavy. I prefer the medium release.  If the release is too light it will release while you are letting down your presentation, if it is too heavy it won’t release properly when the fish is hooked. The ideal release will hold tight until the fish strikes and hooks itself, then release immediately when the fish begins to fight.


The downrigger does all of the work to get your presentation down to and hook the fish. You need to use really flexible rods and reels (preferably with line counters) with at least 20 pound test line. Another important feature I have found is a “line out” alarm/clicker. Engaging this feature prevents backlashes when you are lowering down your weight quickly to get it to your desired depth.


With the boat moving forward at trolling speed (2.5 to 3.5 MPH is average), you let the lure go out behind the boat.  Let it out at least 150 feet for shallower applications or 100 feet for 40 feet deep or below.  Then, attach your line to the clip on the down rigger cannonball. 
At this stage, be sure your clicker is on so you do not back lash your reel.  You then open the bail on your reel and then lower your downrigger ball into the water and let the weight go down until stop it at the desired depth. 
You then put your rod in the rod holder and tighten the line until the rod bends in a gentle arc. Be cautious, over tightening the line will cause a premature release and you will have to start the whole process again.  To prevent tangles, never completely stop your boat while trolling with downriggers.
Once a fish strikes the lure, the line is pulled free from the clip, allowing the angler to fight the fish directly.  Then, once you land the Striper, you reel the cannonball back up and redeploy the entire process. 
Many downriggers can accommodate up to six individual lines, which gives anglers the ability to spread lures over a variety of depths and distances.  I prefer personally to only putting out 2 lines per down rigger.  I say this, not because I do not want to “flood” the strike zone with lures but because too many lines will frequently “catch each other” underwater and foul.  Then you are dragging around “fouled” lures and do not even know it.  When you finally bring one of them up to check it and find all your lures together in a wad, it is aggravating to say the least. There is nothing worse than having all your lures all fouled up and caught together 60 feet below the boat and 150 feet behind it! 

To fish two rods on one downrigger simply follow the same process as above. Stop your first rod when it reaches 10 feet down and add a second stacker release system clip to the steel line. Let the line out on your second lure to the desired length behind your boat and attach it to the 2nd release. Be sure your clicker is on the second reel as well as the first reel so you do not back lash your reels.  Release the spool and let both rods (the reels will be clicking noisily) down to the desired depth. 
I generally will stop one cannonball at 50 feet deep.  This means I have a jig running at 50 feet deep (the same depth as the cannonball) and one jig running at 40 feet deep).
Then, on the other down rigger, I will stop the other cannonball at 40 feet deep.  This means I have a jig running at 40 feet deep (the same depth as the cannonball) and one jig running at 30 feet deep).
In doing this, you are then covering a wide range of depths and you will also know which lure is running at which depth!
Naturally, if one particular depth or color keeps getting hit, then you will switch all lures to that general depth and color scheme!
By down rigging, you can cover a lot of water quickly as you hunt for schools of bait and fish, but can also be fishing at the same time!  I equate it to a “search and destroy” mission.  Being, that once I begin to hammer the fish on the down riggers (I have found the fish!), I can then go back and drop live bait on them!  Many days, I will just stay with the down riggers if they are producing well. 
Fishing down riggers also gives you the added advantage of not having to get up at 2:00 am to catch bait.  Additionally, some of the best Striper fishing with down riggers is in the heat of the middle of the day!  The big Stripers, once the morning bite has subsided and the sun is up and hot, many times will simply lie on the bottom on the edge of the temperature variance zone and will wait for a nice meal to come to them.  When you run a set of jigs right over their head down rigging they get “excited” and it is “kabam” and “kapow” as the jigs get nailed!
If you are a beginner, you may just want to put out one line per downrigger until you figure it all out and get comfortable.  If you are currently trolling deep with trolling weights, planer devices, or lead core line, you may seriously want to consider stepping up to downriggers.  Feel free to call me with any questions.
I demonstrate these techniques on “STRIPER FISH LIKE A PRO” Volume One you can buy on line at www.striperfun.com, at Lee’s Ford resort or at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Lexington. 
You should also be casting lures while you are fishing the above pattern.  You can read more on surface techniques below. We throw the Captain Jim Lures line of Little Friend vibrating blade baits, Dominator hair jigs and the new multi lure in one casting rig series of Kentucky & Tennessee “Thumper” baits and the new Striper Mugger and Walleye Dazzler lures. 
You can buy these on line at www.striperfun.com, at Lee’s Ford resort or at Sportsman’s Warehouse in Lexington. 
When surface fishing, the above described Captain Jim lures will deliver for you!
If you see a school of Stripers on the surface feeding, be sure to not run your boat directly into the school.  Come down off of plane at least 150 feet away then approach by trolling motor on high speed.  Be patient as well, do not throw until your lure can reach the edges of the school (that is mentally “hard” to do).
Be respective of other boaters as well.  Unfortunately, you will rarely get the same treatment.
The reality is that the fish usually will not stay up long.  However, check the time on your watch and stay in the general area.  My experience this time of year is that they re-surface every 6 to 8 minutes as they “herd” the large schools of shad to the surface (like any predators herd their pray).   Many times, I find that if I “run” over towards them when I see them come up, by the time I get there they are “back down”!  Then, when I look over, they are coming up “right where I just came from”!  This is a technique you just have to learn (to be at the right place at the right time). 
Truthfully, sometimes it is just “luck”.
As I reported in the last few months, Captain Jim Lures, a Division of Striperfun.com, has recently released new Striper lures!  They are the “Striper Mugger”, the "Kentucky Thumper" the “Tennessee Thumper” and the “Walleye Dazzler”!  These lures have been heavily field tested, are super easy to cast (or troll) and absolutely wear out the Large Mouth, Spots, Walleye and Small Mouth!  Email me and I can email you the last few reports that explain these new lures in depth.
I am mentioning these lures again as I have just made “several improvements” to these new lures simplify casting that that I am sure you will enjoy!
The stripers are simply “inhaling” them!!!
The “Striper Mugger”, the "Kentucky Thumper", the “Tennessee Thumper” and the “Walleye Dazzler lures are all “higher quality” products that sells for much less than the competition AND THEY COME FULLY RIGGED where the competition’s rigs do not!
Go to the StriperFun website and watch the new lures as their photos will appear in the middle of the top of the screen on the first page.  Click any photo to go in and read more about the newly designed lures and to see enhanced photos! 
You can also watch them in action on YouTube!
Captain Jim Lures are always in stock and ready for delivery! 
I (and ALL StriperFun guides!) only use the Minn Kota “Rip Tide” trolling motors from Johnson Outdoors and so should you! As a professional fishing charter Captain, my livelihood depends on my trolling motor working every time – every day!  For 15 years I have used Minn Kota trolling motors and my “Rip Tide” trolling motor never lets me down!
With “cool” features like the hands free “Auto Pilot and “I” Pilot functions, I can set my motor and turn my back to deploy lines and have full confidence it will stay on course no matter the weather conditions!  My new trolling motor also allows me to automatically “hover” over top of feeding fish automatically without having to touch the trolling motor.  This makes “down line” fishing a lot easier!
I would never consider using anything else but a Minn Kota trolling motor!
The gift of a weekend package trip (or even a one day Striper fishing trip) with StriperFun makes a great Father’s day present for Dad, a brother or for the family and kids, or can make a great bonus for an employee or a promotion for a customer! We fish year round and our trips are very popular and our booking dates fill up fast!
Fishing is family friendly and wholesome. So if you are interested in catching “trophy Stripers” or giving the perfect gift to that special someone, order a StriperFun Guide Service gift certificate today! 
StriperFun also offers an extensive variety of products that make great gifts, including numerous types of fishing lures, Super bait tanks, Hydro Glow bait lights and much more!
We take VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards!
Call me for details toll free at 866-575-3770 or click my photo above to go to the StriperFun website to send me an email! 
I get lots of calls about catching bait.  For years I have been using the “Hydro Glow Bait Light” to catch bait and so should you!  It allows me to be “mobile” and catch bait on the main lake as well as at the dock!
The "NEW" Hydro Glow Fish Light (JUST RELEASED!) is actually an "LED".  IT IS TWICE AS BRIGHT BUT IS HALF THE SIZE (and is less expensive than the older models!). It is designed to use 12 vdc low amperage fluorescents to produce a green glow similar to that emitted by chemical light sticks in widespread use by divers to lure fish. It will work all night on one battery! 
The patented design utilizes the green light technology for improving your fishing activities during the night time hours. The light is designed to vertically submerge with only the top 3 to 5 inches of the light above the water level. This insures the entire illumination of the light is in the water where to fish are, not the bugs!
Boy, does it ever draw in the bait fish!
You will need to put your live bait you catch in a bait tank. To really hit the “monster” Stripers, you need to use the freshest live shad. Not only can catching fresh shad be tough, keeping them alive used to be virtually impossible!  Not any longer!
The SUPER BAIT TANK has a triple filtration system, a built in oxygen infuser, a built in light for night use and is insulated.  This system has been tested to hold gizzard shad & blue black herring for up to one week.
I use only the SUPER BAIT TANK.  Every guide I know uses it and so should you! StriperFun is the exclusive NATIONAL "on line" dealer of the SUPER BAIT TANK
All StriperFun fishing products are carried by Sportsman’s Warehouse!  Sportsman’s Warehouse is America’s fastest growing “Premier Outfitter” national chain of sporting goods stores! They carry everything you need for your hunting and fishing needs!

The closest Sportsman’s Warehouse to Lake Cumberland is in Lexington KY off of Interstate 75 – exit # 10.  Their address is:


You will not find better Striper lures than the Captain Jim Special brand! Captain Jim gets his equipment at Sportsman’s Warehouse and so should you!  Ask for Duke or Dean in fishing!
StriperFun Guide Service now has four (4) guides to serve your charter needs. We can handle large group and corporate outings!

My Captains and I are all Federal Coast Guard Certified and State licensed, insured and are well trained with well over 100 years of combined experience! If you want to catch Monster Stripers this summer, then you better book soon! The prime late spring and summer dates are already booking up, so do not wait too long to lock in your weekend trip! All of StriperFun’s guide boats are covered as well, so come see us at beautiful Lee’s Ford Resort!

Lee’s Ford Resort Marina is StriperFun Guide Service “Headquarters”!
As one of the most comprehensive recreation, entertainment and dining experiences on Lake Cumberland, Lee’s Ford Resort Marina offers fantastic dining at the Harbor Restaurant, great lodging in beautiful cottages, condos and rentals on boat slips, personal watercraft and boats of various sizes.  It is also the closest marina to visitors from Lexington and Ohio!


Be sure to listen in to the "Outdoors with Jim Strader" show that airs weekly on Sunday Evenings from 6-8 pm on 84 WHAS-AM, a 50,000 watt Clear Channel radio station in Louisville Kentucky (you can listen in on line!). Tune in and catch Captain Jim’s Lake Cumberland Striper Fishing Report on Sunday night to see how the prior week’s fishing went!

If you have any other ideas, techniques or subjects you want me to write about, drop me a line!

I am many times asked “What are the advantages to hiring a guide”? In essence, you hire a guide to utilize the guide’s many years of experience and lake knowledge, to learn new tactics and techniques to increase your chance of “landing the big one”. Guides use top of the line equipment and the freshest live bait. Also, if you cannot afford your own boat, it is a very cost effective way for you or your group to fish (cost per fisherman). Even professional fishermen hire guides to learn a lake and new techniques!

We are now into the full blown summer season.  We are at summer solstice. “Twilight” now rolls around just a little earlier each night.  I look forward to seeing all of you this year on the water. 
Count your blessings each day and live “in the moment”, not in the future and always remember to stop and shake the hand of a person in uniform or wearing garb that shows they are a veteran!  Their service is why you speak English, can vote and can enjoy the freedoms you do! 
Please also remember to thank the policemen and firemen who also protect us. 
Until next time, blue skies and tight lines!
Captain Jim Durham
Toll Free 866-575-3770
United States Coast Guard
Merchant Marine Officer license No. 1037731
Kentucky State License # 007

Specializing in "Trophy" Striper fishing as the owner of StriperFun Fishing Guide Service and Captain Jim Marine Electronics, Captain Jim Durham is a Kentucky State licensed guide who has fished Lake Cumberland year round for over 45 years. Captain Jim is a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Captain and is the creator of the “Striper Fish like a Pro” instructional DVD series as well as his own line of fishing lures.  Licensed and insured, Captain Jim and Striperfun Guide Service can take you on a safe, fun and unforgettable fishing trip to catch a "Trophy Striper" of a lifetime!  Check out the StriperFun Guide Service website at: www.striperfun.com, or call Captain Jim toll free 1-866-575-3770 or email Captain Jim at:  captainjim@striperfun.com