West Point Lake Striped Bass Sets New Record At 40 Pounds

Mike Bolton | April 5, 2024

Mike Steele has been fishing West Point Lake since the 1980s, and he recently set the striped bass record with this 40-pounder.

The day of striper fishing on West Point for Mike Steele, of Dallas, was pretty-danged boring until it wasn’t. It ended with him landing a 40-lb. striper that’s a new lake record. He has his buddy Mike Bartlett to thank, and Bartlett wasn’t even the net man.

“My buddy and I had fished from daylight to 3 p.m., and I decided I had had enough,” he said. “There was a northeast wind, and the fish weren’t doing anything. We loaded the boat on the trailer, and we decided to take it on back home.”

The duo returned to their campsite, threw a little deer meat on the skillet for a late lunch before packing.

“On the way back, Mike (Bartlett) said he wanted to try another place mid-river, but I said no,” Steele said. “I was ready to go home.”

Bartlett insisted, and Steele finally gave in. When they put the boat back in, they found that things had changed.

“The wind had laid down, and the wind was now out of the southwest,” he said.

The two put out homemade planer boards and trolled 7- to 8-inch gizzard shad along the river channel that was 35 feet deep adjacent to a ridge that came up to 10 feet.

A day of fishing that had been so boring suddenly provided all the action they could handle.

West Point’s Springtime Linesides Techniques 

“We hadn’t been there five minutes when we got three fish on at once,” Steele said. “I was fighting one, and my buddy was trying to fight the other two. After four minutes, my arms were aching, but I got him in the net. I hear people telling stories of fighting stripers for an hour or so, and I just don’t believe it. I don’t believe anyone’s arms could last that long. I don’t believe a striper would live that long.”

Forced to handle the net duties by himself as his buddy fought the other two fish, he was relieved when the fish slid into the net. Then in disbelief, he was shocked when the fish jumped out of the net.

“Thank goodness he was still hooked, and I got him back in the net in a few seconds,” he said.

Meanwhile, his buddy got his two fish in, and they weighed 17 and 22 pounds.

Steele started to release the fish, but he had made that mistake before.

“I caught one on West Point five or six years ago, and I believe it would have gone 50 pounds,” he said. “It was 46 inches long and had a girth of 32 inches. That comes out to better than 50 pounds. I didn’t have scales, so I let it go.”

This time, Steele called WRD. A biologist drove up from Columbus and had scales. The scales were official but only weighed in pounds.

“He said it showed that it weighed a little more than 40 pounds and we’d call it 40 pounds, and that was fine by me,” he said. “The fish was still alive, and we tried to release it. We pulled it around with the trolling motor to get some water over its gills, but it just kept floating on its side. I decided to keep it and get it mounted.”

Steele said he began fishing West Point in the late 1990s, and he now fishes for stripers there from November until the second week in April. He said fishing for stripers is all he does, and he doesn’t mind traveling. He also fishes in Tennessee and Alabama.

Steele’s striped bass topped a Lake West Point record that had stood since 2019 when Mike Bradford caught a striper certified at 36-lbs., 2.72-ozs.


GON’s Official West Point Record Fish

Largemouth Bass14-lbs., 2-ozs.Richard Little04/15/1988
Spotted Bass6-lbs., 9-ozs.Wendell Young02/07/1990
White Crappie3-lbs., 14-ozs.Willie Arnold02/15/1989
Black Crappie3-lbs., 6-ozs.Edward Cagle03/14/1996
Hybrid Bass14-lbs., 12.75-ozs.Dustin Pate03/13/2009
Shoal Bass3-lbs., 7-ozs.Danny Swafford08/02/1997
Blue Catfish61-lbs.Jerrimie Tolbert10/22/2022
Flathead Catfish48-lbs.Mike Felter08/22/2020
Yellow Perch1-lb., 2.4-ozs.Toney Booker11/18/2017
Channel Catfish16-lbs., 7.5-ozs.Owen Knabe4/22/2018
Striped Bass40-lbs.Mike Steele3/24/2024
Shellcracker12.64-ozs.Todd Garner05/06/2023
Longnose Gar23-lbs.April Waldrop07/21/2023


Catch A Lake or River Record? Requirements For Record Fish

• Fish must be caught legally by rod and reel in a manner consistent with WRD fish regulations.

• Catch must be weighed on accurate Georgia DOA certified scales with at least two witnesses present.

• Witnesses to the weighing must be at least 18 years old, and they must not be members of the angler’s immediate family nor have a close personal relationship with the angler.

• Catch must be positively identified by qualified DNR personnel. GON can correspond with DNR when high-quality, multiple photos are taken of the fish and emailed to GON. All record submissions and photos must be sent to [email protected].

GON’s records are compiled and maintained by GON, to be awarded at GON’s discretion. Additional steps may be required for record consideration.

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