Okay, when you think of Captain D’s, you have to think of fish, right?
Well, you probably don’t think of the same fish as this Captain D. While he does fish for just about every kind of fish at Lake Claiborne near Homer, the summer months tend to give “Captain D” Donny Hood tunnel vision — he sees stripers. Hybrid striped bass to be exact.
I was fortunate enough to spend a couple of hours chasing schooling striped bass around Lake Claiborne recently with Donny, who fishes just for fun and operates a guide service for the fiesty gamefish. He made two promises. One, that we would see some stripers schooling. Two, if we got in them, we’d catch a limit and it wouldn’t take long.
He was right on both counts. We rode around several areas of the lake, but ended up hemming up some of the schoolers about 30 minutes before dark. He had warned me about that too — they don’t do this all day, every day. When we did get in them, it was bam, bam, bam and we had two five-fish limits of stripers. We caught quite a few more and released them before going in. About a dozen other boats in the vicinity were all pulling fish in, too.
It was an amazing fishing trip, one that is repeated quite frequently on Claiborne this time of year all the way up through September or October, depending on the weather. In fact, you can catch stripers on Claiborne pretty much all year if you vary your techniques and lures to match what the fish are doing.
“I love fishing and I really love fishing for stripers,” he said. “Of course I like to take people out because that’s my business as a guide. But I don’t mind sharing information with anyone. Some fishermen are secretive, but I don’t mind helping people find the fish or learn how to catch them,” he says.
“Stripers are hardly ever in exactly the same place two days in a row, but if you go to the right areas and fish, pay attention and throw the right baits you can catch them. I like to help people catch fish, so I am always glad to help.”
Best baits this time of year are lures like small Hot Spots, Little Georges and Rooster Tail spinners for schoolers and shad colored deep diving baits for when the fish are down and you have to troll. Gold Rogues are a winner, too. Chugger topwaters will also catch fish on calmer days. Many of the fish are smaller 1-2 pounders, but they get up to 4-5 pounds and even bigger. They fight like they weigh ten times that.
Donny’s knowledge of the lake is pretty extensive. He’s been “on” the lake since before it even was a lake. His dad had property in the area where the lake would be formed and he has actually walked all the way across the lake area where he maintains a home now before there was water. He also fishes quite regularly, many times more than once a day.
To contact Donny about a trip, check out his site at http://www.striperfishing.la or give him a call at 318-754-7852. But don’t keep him too busy. I want him to have time to take me again, too.