Lake Nottely Record Striped Bass
On April 28, 2002, 13-year-old Christopher Hampton, of Blairsville, was fishing for striped bass on Lake Nottely with his dad Randy when he hooked-up with a huge striper. Even with the boat in hot pursuit with the trolling motor on high, the fish nearly stripped 240 yards of 12-lb. test line off Christopher’s reel.
The fish was finally boated and when it was weighed at a meat market, it weighed 54 pounds. Six hours later, when it was weighed at the DNR Fisheries office at Lake Burton for the WRD Angler’s Awards program, the fish weighed 53-lbs., 12-oz. The big-bellied lineside that measured 47 inches long was estimated to be 10 years old. The new Nottely lake record now stands as the fifth-heaviest striped bass ever caught in Georgia, and it has been submitted to the International Game Fish Association as a new Georgia line-class record for 12-lb. test line.
Amazingly, the fish is the sixth striper over 35 pounds caught from Nottely by Randy Hampton, his family and friends fishing with him.
On March 29, 2002, Randy boated a 41-lb. striper. On April 7, he took his secretary, Carrie Lynn, and her husband Jason, fishing and Carrie caught another monster striper, this one 48-inches long and weighing 45 pounds.
All the big ones haven’t made it to the boat. On one trip, Christopher hooked a 50-lb.- class striper on a Zoom Super Fluke. As Randy struggled over the side of the boat to get the fish in, he lost his footing and fell headlong into the lake on top of the fish, which broke loose. Another king-sized striper Randy hooked couldn’t be stopped or turned on light tackle and finally broke his line.
Randy fishes for Nottely’s trophy stripers with light line, small baits and stealth. He uses 12-lb. line, a 1/0 hook and 3- to 4-inch bass minnows.
“I break off more with a 12-lb. line,” he said, “but I get more strikes. The idea is to get the fish on, then run them down with the trolling motor.” He uses bass minnows because they are closer to the size bait that the stripers are feeding on than trout, shad or herring.”
When Randy sees the oversized arch of an especially large fish on his graph, he goes into the stealth mode. He moves on and gives the area 10 or 15 minutes to settle down, then he wind-drifts silently back through the area with live bait down. He doesn’t cast lures, and he keeps the boat as quiet as possible.
“You never know if the fish will still be there,” he said. “But it has worked on the two biggest fish.”
Randy has been targeting red-clay, main-lake points recently since the river has been muddier than he likes. He expects the fishing to hold up into the summer, and with good reason. Last year, on July 3, 15-year-old Brandon Duff, of Dahlonega, fishing with Christopher and Randy caught at 39.9-lb. Nottely striper (see GON, August 2001).
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