Yuletide Greetings Include 35 Stripers, Hybrids, 9-Pounder Included

An unseasonably hot Christmas day in LaGrange meant two things.

Santa Claus needed more sunblock, and it was time to go fishing. Such was the case for more than a few outdoorsmen and one lady angler. There was some heated action alright on West Point Lake on Sunday morning and afternoon.

With the temperature soaring to 77 degrees, the anglers suddenly had the urge to get out on the water and drop their lines. Most everyone caught fish, too, especially Jay Jones and Doug Victer.

“It was all about the birds,” said Victer.

He and Jones followed the West Point Lake birds, who were fast on the trail of the bait fish. Mostly shad. The larger fish of the lake were feeding on the shad. Jones and Victer took the hint.

They made a nice Christmas haul with 35 stripers and hybrids. Victer and Jones caught stripers as large as nine pounds. They also reeled in some eight-pound stripers.

“We were using artificial (lures). But we can’t say what kind,” Victer said.

Every fisherman has his secrets and hidden gems. Victer and Jones are a little superstitious. Meanwhile the fishing continued for a total of three hours. Santa Claus gave his blessing.

Jones and Victer caught everything that they hooked, including some hybrids as big as six pounds.

“The lake was beautiful and calm. We like fishing any day (Christmas included). But we had never fished on Christmas before. We always have good luck (on this lake),” said Jones.

He and Victer had a fishy kind of Christmas. And it was the best kind of Christmas for Jones and Victer. Their stockings were full of stripers and hybrids. Who needs candy canes and peanuts?

“The fish were bending our poles. We got some action, and we had fun,” said Jones.

Ernest Wright found his way to West Point Lake as well on Christmas day.

“I’ve seen a lot of Christmasses and a lot of Christmas dinners. When I can get out here, I do. If I could afford to live here I would. I love this weather, and I enjoyed this fishing,” said Wright, the Atlanta native.

He caught his own live bait, some shad, and Wright also pulled in three hybrids. Most of his catches weighed around 2.5 pounds each.

“I was trolling, and I ran across a couple of large schools. I was fishing in 35 feet of water,” said Wright.

He caught all three of his fish within minutes of each other on Sunday afternoon. Wright also fished on Thanksgiving on West Point Lake. He caught fish that day, too, 12 of them.

Wright had his own seafood feast with stripers, hybrids and spotted bass. His best catch on Thanksgiving was a 3.5-pound hybrid.

Holiday fishing on West Point Lake is becoming a tradition. Fred and Kathy Hammond of Bremen were transported by boat, rather than sleigh, on this Christmas. The husband and wife, along with their dog, Scooter, hooked into four largemouth and spotted bass.

The Hammonds and Scooter caught and released their fish. Santa Claus would have wanted it that way. The Hammonds and Scooter made all of their catches on artificial lures, plastic worms included.

“We usually catch a good bit here. This is a good fishing lake,” said Fred Hammond.

He and his wife fished for three hours on this day, along with their fishing mascot, Scooter. He does bark at the fish. It was a sunny day for everyone, whether four-legged or twolegged.

It could not have been a better Christmas for Scooter and the Hammonds.

“This was like a spring day. We just like catching fish (in LaGrange), and sometimes we luck up,” said Kathy Hammond.


Chris Fernsler Sports Writer