Episode at Texas’ Lake Ray Hubbard Almost Too Hard to Believe
By Ken Schultz
The American fishing tackle industry holds an annual trade show every summer. I went to it for several decades representing Field & Stream. In 1986 it was in Dallas, and I arrived a day early to join Larry Columbo, who worked for Humminbird Electronics, fishing on Lake Ray Hubbard with guide Johnny Procell for hybrid stripers. An excellent angler, Procell may have been one of Humminbird’s pro staffers, and was specializing in catching these then-somewhat-new fish.
A Good Sportfish in Many Ways
Hybrids, as these fish are often simply called, are a cross between pure-strain striped bass and pure-strain white bass. They don’t get as large as the parent stripers, and they’re sterile. Like other sterile species, they grow quickly because all of their energy is devoted to foraging and none to reproduction. Being sterile, their numbers are maintained by stocking and their population can be controlled based on the need (or lack thereof) to control baitfish populations.
The prodigious appetite of hybrids for baitfish (threadfin and gizzard shad at Hubbard) produces fish that have smallish heads and deep bodies, resulting in a specimen that has a lot of pulling power. Anglers love hybrid stripers because of their aggressiveness and energy, and the species has been stocked widely around the country, mostly in impoundments.
Procell introduced us to speed jigging for hybrids on deepwater humps (he calls it “smokin’”). These mounds exist
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