Lanier Striper Tops 45 Pounds!

Pitching live bait around boat-dock lights produces big time for Dawsonville angler.

Daryl Kirby | May 8, 2013

A 45-lb., 4-oz. striper was caught from the north end of Lake Lanier the night of May 3, and the angler, Jody Pressley, of Dawsonville, was using an interesting and apparently very productive technique when the huge striped bass hit.

Jody said he grew up on Lake Lanier and has been fishing hard for stripers since 2003.

“I fish a little different. I go with live bait, but I flip docks—pitch it up underneath the lighted docks at night. I’m flipping blueback herring, native bluebacks from Lanier, not the store-bought ones. There’s a difference. The ones that come from Hartwell are 4- and 5-inch. The ones that are on Lanier are big—they’re 6 and 7 inches long.”

Jody Pressley, of Dawsonville, with the 45-lb., 4-oz. striper he caught at Lake Lanier on May 3.

Jody said lighted docks also produce his bait. He catches bluebacks by throwing a cast net at night around the dock lights.

The 45-pounder wasn’t the only striper boated.

“We caught about 12 stripers that night. Usually when I do best pitching docks is from October to the end of May,” Jody said. “But you know, it’s a hit or miss. One weekend we’ll catch 10, 12, 14, 18 stripers, and the next weekend we’ll catch 10 spots. We do real good with the largemouths around those docks. I’ve caught 6- and 8-pounders.”

Jody’s gear included a 420 Penn Slammer spinning reel, a 6-foot, 6-inch medium-action Okuma rod with 30-lb. Power Pro braid and a 40-lb. Seaguar fluorocarbon leader.

“Rather than using a split-shot, I use a big saltwater barrel swivel just to kind of get it down there a little bit. Those fish are skittish around those docks, so they’re down a little deeper. That blueback will swim around and act lively. I’ve pitched gizzard shad around those docks and caught some, but those bluebacks are the ticket.”

Jody said the striper wrapped up in the rigging for the light, which was one of those green lights that sit on the bottom and shine toward the surface.

“I’m 100 percent sure he would have broken monofilament. I could feel him sawing. My heart was just pounding,” he said.

Striped bass that get this heavy have been eating very well and put on some girth. This 45-pounder had a taste for blueback herring.

Jody’s striper is the third-biggest ever recorded from Lanier. The official GON lake record is a 47-lb., 12-oz. fish caught on April 3, 2010 by Ward Schanhals, of Michigan.

Ward was bass fishing with a chartreuse-pepper plastic lizard on 8-lb. test line when he caught the record striper near the mouth of Bald Ridge Creek on the south end of the main lake. Both Jody’s striper and the lake record were weighed on a certified scale at Hammonds.

Ward’s striper topped a Lanier lake record that had stood for almost 25 years, a 46-pounder caught by Roger Snipes.

The scale at Hammonds is where most potential lake-record stripers from Lanier are weighed.

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