Jim Durham


By Captain Jim Durham – StriperFun Guide Service

DATE OF REPORT: July 30, 2008

• Latest water temperature: 82.1° F surface (Harmon Creek) July 27th, 2008

• Latest water temperature: 81.3° F surface (Main Lake) July 28th, 2008

• Latest water temperature: 82.2° F surface (Cub Creek) July 27th, 2008

• Current lake level is 680.92 feet.

Currently, the lake level is about one foot higher than the target 680 above sea level (working on the dam) elevation. It is about 42-44 feet below the tree line, which is about 725' above sea level. I will keep you posted.

Greetings to my readers! It has been two weeks since my last report. I have been on the water virtually every day. Life is good! I hope the world finds you and your family doing well!


The bottom line is that the fishing has stayed red hot!!! Like the old song says;

"And the beat goes on – the beat goes on!"

Over the last 2 weeks the fishing has been fantastic!! It has been limit after limit! On most days we are catching a full limit in the first hour. My customers limited out the last 8 straight days. When it is good like this, it sure makes up for the slow spells we occasionally have to deal with.

The deep water channel bite this summer (when the fish are in large schools) is simply "text book"! Huge schools of hungry Stripers will come under the boat, my 12 inch color Raymarine "lights up" with 100s of big fish arches and then it is "Kabam" and "Kapow" with multiple rods being yanked down so aggressively I actually broke an Atwood rod holder and another morning a big fish snapped a rod in half. I swear! That is how hard they are hitting. I imagine they are traveling 20 MPH when they hit. There is no "nibble". It is more like a Jurassic park feeding!

Seeing big Stripers feed is a true event of nature! Yeee Hiiii !!!

I had some fishermen in (that normally go north to Minnesota to fish for Walleyes and Pike) who booked me for four straight days who had never Striper fished. Well! You can imagine their "pleasant" surprise at fishing for our local monsters.

It was actually a real treat to see the lady's expression the first day when the first fish hit at daybreak and the down rod beside her had its rod tip "slammed" into the water in about 1/10th of a second with a huge monster Striper "peeling off" 100 feet of line in the first 15 seconds! She must have jumped a foot in the air! But to her credit, she was a real trooper and fought the mighty denizen of the deep to the boat.

With the water temperature now hovering in the low 80 degree area, the surface Striper fishing with artificial lures has been improving as the Striper's metabolism has gradually sped up. We have been seeing some "massive" schools rip shad on the surface!

There have been some nice fish caught on hair jigs. The surface action can "really get turned on" now! Watch for it with your field glasses. Keep a Red Fin or Lucky Craft Pointer tied on, or a small jigging spoon as well as a ¾ ounce Cumberland Pro Jig or ½ ounce Cumberland Pro Little Pal and stay ready! A good trick is to watch the gulls. If they are diving in a "Tornado" looking vortex, then you can bet the Stripers are under them driving the bait fish to the surface. You may also catch a monster in the jumps, so have plenty of fresh line on your reel!

We are also still catching some absolutely tremendous Smallmouth and some really nice Walleye! We have had a very strong request for Walleye trips and now offer them as a standard package. Please call or email me for details!

The summer pattern is dead on schedule. The water temperature is right where it is suppose to be (and now so it the bite).

Always remember, where the shad run so do the Striper!

You may have to hunt with your fish finder for a while. Do not be afraid to spend some time doing this before putting your lines out. Pay close attention to your fish finder to watch for large schools of shad. Once you locate large schools of shad, the Stripers will be close by (even if you do not mark them).

This hot bite is bound to slow some (at least temporarily). As always, there is the occasional day or two in a row where the bite turns slow (or off). It is generally weather related (like a big low pressure front). If the bite is slow for you, don't feel alone. On slow days, I get calls from guides all around the lake on my cell phone asking if we are hitting them (because they are not hitting them either). You just hang tough and keep fishing. Always remain positive. Remember, you are on one of the most beautiful bodies of water the Lord created. Enjoy it! Slow days can suddenly become "great memory making days" if you hit a school that suddenly turns on and every rod goes down!

You can never make a shot you do not take. Stay after them!

On most days, the schools we are finding are loading up on shad where the larger creeks hit the main lake. On these days, the schools may be on the points in these areas, although on a few days we have caught them dead out in the middle of the bay where they are" in the jumps - fired up" on the surface. The Stripers we are catching in the "jumps" are generally smaller keepers. "Schoolies" we call them. Find such a school and you can load up!

If I cannot find the Stripers on the points or "firing up" in the bay, a pattern/tactic I find very productive this time of year is to keep my planer boards much closer to the boat than normal as I fish sheer drop off walls where the larger creeks hit the main lake. On such sheer drops offs, you can be in 60 to 80 feet or water when your boat is only 30 to 40 feet off of the shore. Many times, the Striper schools will be on these sheer drop ledges as they have "corralled" shad schools up against the wall where they cannot escape so they can "rip" into them.

It is certainly a site to see Stripers feeding heavy on the surface.

However, understand clearly that this same type of "frenzied" feeding action can be occurring 30 to 40 feet deep right off the canyon wall and you would never know it!

Most major creeks have such walls within a mile or so of the main lake. It is very important as you work to develop your "trophy Striper hunting skills" that you learn to read and understand the lake topographic maps and/or your GPS units so you can find the correct walls to fish. The easiest way to learn is follow the channel banks to find the deepest walls.

This is why I keep my boards (although still in a "classic" V pattern) close to the boat, so I can keep the boat closer to the canyon wall. If the boards were further out, then I could not run the boat close to the wall because the outer boards would be hitting the bank and fowling/snagging.

When you fish planer boards, you can develop a tendency to let the boards go "way out" from the boat. In shallow water, this is a must. But not when you are fishing 30 to 50 feet deep.

Keeping the boards close allows me to directly target the fish on the canyon wall with a greater concentration of live shad, many times producing multiple hook ups. When I see a school appear under the boat on my 12 inch color Raymarine C120, I then stop the boat so the baits can "settle down" and drop into the feeding school.

You can just imagine what happens. Whamo!

It is interesting to think about all the big Striper feeding action going on that you cannot see on the surface. It makes me want to break out the rods and go hit them! I generally find that this "canyon wall effect" is best the first few hours of the morning. Once we are a couple of hours into daylight the schools will move out further and deeper.

I hope that makes sense. If you have any questions call me.

This time of year bottom fishing can also work very well. You can hit some big female Stripers this way. The trick is to beach your boat (or tie up) and throw Carolina rigged live (3 to 4 inch) Alewives or Threadfin shad out on the bottom. Be patient! Remember, the fish will need to "see", "smell" and "sense" your shad. Look for red clay banks near deep water drop offs or deep points.

If you want to also hit the big smallmouth, then the bottom fishing with live shad is the hot ticket for the next 2 to 3 months. You can also throw small fat body crank baits on main lake and secondary main lake points as well.

The fish are now averaging about 12 pounds and are very fat and healthy! On some days, you may not catch as many "numbers" of Stripers this time of year. But you can catch some nice quality trophies. Just stay focused! If you get a big hit, be sure to let him run at least 5 to 7 seconds to get the bait hooked solid.

If you catch a Striper less than 24 inches, try to keep it in the water, get the hook out of it and release it ASAP to give it the best chance to live (if you do not do this, the fish will likely die).

If you find a school, you may have to position the boat over them and try to stay on them. On a windy day, you may be better off not using planer boards, but rather just use all "down lines" as it is easier to stay positioned over top of the fish this way.

We also are jigging hammered spoons and Cumberland Pro hair jigs when these big "waves" of fish come through.

I demonstrate these techniques on "Striper Fish like a Pro" Volume # 2.

If you see a school of Stripers on the surface feeding, be sure to not run your boat directly into the school. Come down off of plane at least 150 feet away then approach by trolling motor on high speed. Be patient as well, do not throw until your lure can reach the edges of the school (that is mentally "hard" to do).

Be respective of other boaters as well. Unfortunately, you may not always get the same treatment.

The reality is that the fish usually will not stay up long. However, check the time on your watch and stay in the general area. My experience this time of year is that they re-surface every 6 to 8 minutes as they "herd" the large schools of shad to the surface (like any predators herd their pray). Many times, I find that if I "run" over towards them when I see them come up, by the time I get there they are "back down"! Then, when I look over, they are coming up "right where I just came from"! This is a technique you just have to learn (to be at the right place at the right time). Truthfully, sometimes it is just "luck".

If you do see fish feeding on the surface (watch with your binoculars as you are moving around), you can cast them:

1. Large Cumberland Pro Lures "Little Pals" (just burn it as fast as you can)

2. Large "hammered spoons" and painted spoons (I like the "Dangerous Dick" or the "Crocodile"). I fish these with a "herky – jerky" style fast (letting them then fall).

3. Big "walking baits" (Zara Spooks – white bottom with a silver top), the "Sammy 100" from Lucky Craft (silver side – blue back) or the Smithwick "Devils Horse" (Silver shiner). You "walk the dog" with these lures.

4. Large "split back" minnows (I prefer the largest "Bomber Long A" – Silver with blue/black back) or the largest ‘Rattlin Rouge" by Smithwick (Clown color) or the old faithful 5 inch Cotton Cordell "Red Fin" (Silver – Blue back). You fish these lures "stop and go" very fast.

5. And of course the old "standby" Cumberland Pro Striper Spinner jig with a white or chartreuse Cumberland Pro 6 inch Striper grub trailer

Striper fishing at its best!

StriperFun Guide Service now has (4) guides to serve your charter needs. We can handle large group and corporate outings!

If you want to catch Monster Stripers this summer, then you better book soon! All of StriperFun's guide boats are covered and heated as well, so come see us. As always, all our guides are federally and State licensed and fully insured.

Being that it is summer time, we are booking heavy. However, we still have some availability for weekend and weekday trips in July (but call soon). Come enjoy the terrific summer fishing! The prime august dates are booking up as well, so do not wait too long to lock in your weekend trip!


The down rig bite has now arrived! When I am downrigging, I am pulling Cumberland Pro "U 9" umbrella rigs and "Captain Jim Specials" staying in the creek channels. On the down riggers I am pulling Cumberland Pro ½ ounce white on white and chartreuse on chartreuse jigs, naturalized (rainbow trout colored) spoons and 6 inch pearl swim baits. I am pulling between 2.4 to 3.3 mph on the GPS with triple stacked riggers between 10 to 45 feet deep. Call me or email me to learn about the new "Captain Jim Special" multi-lure down rig setup that is really producing! You can order these great lures through StriperFun and purchase them with a nice discount! These catch big Walleyes as well.


StriperFun Guide Service is the Kentucky, Ohio, Indiana and Lake Cumberland area "exclusive dealer" for the Super Bait Tanks by Livewell Systems Inc.!

To really hit the "monster" Stripers, you need to use the freshest live shad. Not only can catching fresh shad be tough, keeping them alive used to be virtually impossible! That is, until the invention of the Super Bait Tanks by Livewell Systems Inc!

These tanks are very popular and each tank is custom hand made using only the finest products. Call me for details and special pricing (Striperfun clients get priority delivery on the waiting list)!

We are now into a new summer season. Spring has come and gone. Thus, the days are getting longer again as "twilight" rolls around just a little later now each night. The fishing is breathtaking! It is great to welcome in another new season, and exhilarating at the same time! Count your blessings each day and live "in the moment", not in the future.

Our life cycle welcomes in this pattern/ change again as we hunt these trophy fish! It is time to tie your strongest line onto your stoutest rods and sharpen your hooks! There are monster Stripers in Lake Cumberland and they are hungry! I remain truly "pumped"!

Remember to "clean" the algae from your line after each deployment (and check for nicks in the line).

I have lots of great recipes on the striperfun.com website. Click on to check it out!

If you want to see more photos of recent catches, including some huge stringers of large Stripers, go to the StriperFun website for this as well!

Stripers will sometimes eat their body weight in shad, then not eat for a day or so. Some days, you may hit a school the day "after" it fed. Be patient, you cannot slay them everyday (or at all times of the day). Eventually, these schools will begin to yield large trophies!

If you are going to fish live bait, only the freshest bait will work. The Stripers have a lot of bait to eat (millions of alewives and gizzard shad per square mile) and slow "worn out" bait does not work well (if at all). Customers tell me all the time that the two main reasons they hire a guide is that we always have the freshest bait and we know where to go to catch the big ones!

StriperFun's "how to" DVD series "Striper Fish like a Pro" instructional video "trilogy" is now complete! This includes Volume # One "The Basics" (which covers a little bit of everything), Volume # Two "Enhanced Live Bait techniques" (everything live bait you can imagine plus "catching shad") and Volume # 3 "Advanced Umbrella rigs" (which also includes how to rig your boat and how to read your electronics)! You can buy Volume # One, Two or Three separately, or you can order all three "Striper Fish like a Pro" instructional videos packaged together in a "group discount" package. You can click the link at the beginning of this report to go to the StriperFun website and get my email or just call me.

On the website you can purchase any or all three of the DVDs directly on line via Google checkout!

You will see some great action shots (and massive fish caught) and you can learn all the proven techniques we pros live by! If you are a serious Striper fisherman, this will help you!

If you have any other ideas techniques or subjects you want me to write about, drop me a line!

I am many times asked "What are the advantages to hiring a guide"? In essence, you hire a guide to utilize the guide's many years of experience and lake knowledge, to learn new tactics and techniques to increase your chance of "landing the big one!" Guides use top of the line equipment and the freshest live bait. Also, if you cannot afford your own boat, it is a very cost effective way for you or your group to fish (cost per fisherman). Even professional fishermen hire guides to learn a lake and new techniques!

We hope to see you on the lake! Good fishin!!


Captain Jim Durham

Toll free 866-575-3770

United States Coast Guard

Merchant Marine Officer License No. 1037731

Kentucky State Guide License # 007


Fish Species: Striper
Bait Used: live shad
Tackle Used: carolina rig live biat
Method Used: trolling
Water Depth: 110
Water Temperature: 83
Wind Direction: nw
Wind Speed: 7
The lucky lady and her limit
The lucky lady and her limit

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Jim Durham

About The Author: Captain Jim Durham

Company: StriperFun™ Fishing Guide Service

Area Reporting: Lake Cumberland

Bio: Specializing in "Trophy" Striper Fishing, Captain Jim Durham is a Kentucky State licensed guide who has fished Lake Cumberland year round for over 40 years. As a former B.A.S.S. tournament circuit winner, Captain Jim also holds a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Captain's License. Captain Jim and all his StriperFun Guides are fully insured.  Fully insured, let Captain Jim and StriperFun Guide Service take you on safe, fun and unforgettable fishing trip to catch a "Trophy Striper"of a lifetime!

Click Here For Past Fishing Reports by Captain Jim Durham