• Captain Jim's Lake Cumberland Fishing Striper Report

    StriperFun and Tennessee Walleye Charters
    (931) 403-2501 http://www.striperfun.com captainjim@striperfun.com
  • Specializing in "Trophy" fishing as the owner of StriperFun Fishing Guide Service in KY and TN and TN Walleye Charters, Captain Jim Durham is a licensed guide who has fished the Cumberland Plateau and KY and TN year round for over 50 years. Captain Jim is a U.S. Coast Guard Merchant Marine Captain and is the creator of the “Striper Fish like a Pro” instructional DVD series as well as his own line of fishing lures.

  • Captain Jim's Lake Cumberland Fishing Striper Report


    By Captain Jim Durham
    Owner StriperFun Guide Service, Super Bait Tanks, Captain Jim Marine Electronics & Captain Jim Lures

    Staff Writer for fishin.com

    DATE OF REPORT: October 22, 2013

    • Latest water temperature: 73.4 ° F surface (Confluence of Beaver and Otter Creek) October 21st, 2013
    • Latest water temperature: 73.8 ° F surface (Indian Creek) October 22nd, 2013
    • Latest water temperature: 74.1 ° F surface (At the dam) October 22nd, 2013

    Currently, the lake level is right at 691.83 feet above sea level. The lake is now about 33 feet below the tree line. The tree line is normally at 725' above sea level. With the repairs finished on the dam, the lake is forecast to be back at 725' above sea level by next year. We will see!


    It has been 2 ˝ weeks since my last report. Greetings to my readers! I hope the world finds you and your family doing well!

    As a former United States Air Force Airman - military veteran and as a current U.S. Merchant Marine Captain and U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary Patrol Coxswain (Captain), I understand the great importance that our brave service men and women play in our society. Their service is why you speak English, can vote and can enjoy the freedom that you do!

    We also cannot forget the duty and service provided by our Policemen, Fish and Wildlife Officers and Firemen.

    STRIPERFUN OFFERS A 10% DISCOUNT on all charters to currently active Policemen, Fish and Wildlife Officers and Firemen as well as to all active military AND retired military veterans (with proper verification ID provided by the person booking the trip).

    This is our way of saying “THANKS” to these important men and women for your service.


    I am pleased to advise that as an online marine electronics dealer, I am able to offer a one time best price offer on the Humminbird 998 side / down imaging High Definition GPS and fish finder (large 8 inch screen!)! This unit that normally sells for $2,000.00 nationally everywhere but is now available exclusively through Captain Jim Marine Electronics for only $1,550.00!

    This is a $450.00 23% savings over standard retail pricing!

    Please be advised I only have seventeen (17) of these units left in stock at this price! This is a short term one time deal – when they are gone that’s it! Call me ASAP if you want to take advantage of this great deal!


    All StriperFun Captains use Humminbird Side and Down Imaging units. Humminbird Fish Finder / GPS units are simply the best on the market! When you have to depend on your marine electronics to navigate safely at night and in the fog, as well as help you find fish, it is one of your most valuable tools!

    My Humminbird HD unit is simply great! When trolling artificial lures or live bait, I just don’t troll “hoping” to run in to a school of fish. I am scanning up to 240 feet per each side of the boat, looking for schools of bait and fish. When I see them (example: 3 o’clock to the starboard or 9 o’clock to port!), I can then “turn” my boat towards the schools of bait and fish to “get in to the strike zone”.

    Once arriving on the schools of bait and fish, I can switch over to the “Down Imaging”, “Quadrabeam Plus” or “Switch Fire” sonar systems to let me see with great clarity (each technology providing a different yet important view!) exactly where the fish are and how they are orientating.

    Why troll “blind” when you can scan surrounding water to see where the “big ones” are!!

    It makes all the difference in the world, turning a slow fishing day into a great catching day!

    My Humminbird Fish Finder is a guide’s best friend. As a Field Staff member of Johnson Outdoors, I strongly recommend this product to any open water fishermen. To be successful, you need to learn to use your marine electronics. If you are looking for new marine electronics, feel free to call me and I can make some solid suggestions on HUMMINBIRD COMBO GPS AND FISH FINDER UNITS.

    I will be releasing new video soon of these exciting Humminbird units in action. Stay tuned!



    The water is continuing to cool. With the cold (below freezing in the mornings!) weather scheduled for later this week, the water temperature will begin to drop from the low 70s in to the mid 60 degree range.

    The Stripers are now “full throttle” coming to the surface chasing bait fish near the creek mouths in huge schools of hundreds of fish and we are absolutely hammering them on surface plugs and also on my Captain Jim line of lures (more on this below)! The action gets hot and heavy with Stripers all around the boat inhaling bait fish and blasting the lures!

    You can catch them casting on them! Come check it out! Book a trip with StriperFun and enjoy this special time of year!

    The fishing continues to remain extremely strong! We are also now catching some real nice larger fish! It is good to see some big fish coming in!

    See the photo below of Jack Jacquemin with his huge 3 foot Striper caught “casting the jumps” with me personally!

    See also below Chad Coker and his dad who were “first timers” who came out with me and caught some big Stripers! Oh my gosh, we also lost a major fish that day!

    I always like to see new people coming to the lake and enjoying our wonderful resource!

    To see more photos of all the other customer’s limits, click to www.striperfun.com and scroll down to “recent catches”.

    Where the fish are!

    The Stripers are now on the main lake (western end of the lake) most days, near the mouths of the major creeks. However, as the cool weather days hit, they also will occasionally migrate back into the creeks several times a day. The bottom line is that the schools of fish are moving very fast all over the place. You need to “hunt” them and good electronics are a must (see above Humminbird information!).

    The first thing in the morning and then an hour or two before dusk, the fish are “blasting bait fish” all over the surface in the creek mouths in huge schools of hundreds of fish and we are absolutely hammering them throwing my Captain Jim line of lures (more on this below)!


    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 respectful of other boaters as well. Unfortunately, you will rarely 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”.


    Captain Jim Lures, a Division of Striperfun.com, sells the top of the line hair jigs (captain Jim Specials) and blade baits (Little Friends), as well as the “Striper Mugger”, the "Kentucky Thumper" the “Tennessee Thumper” and the “Walleye Dazzler”! These lures have been heavily field tested, are super easy to cast (or troll) and besides being Striper magnets, they also absolutely wear out the Large Mouth, Spots, Walleye and Small Mouth!

    Click the link below to go to the StriperFun website and watch the new lures as their photos will appear (a new photo “pops in” every few seconds) in the middle of the top of the screen on the first page. Click any photo of any lure that to go in and read more about the newly designed lures and to see enhanced photos!

    You can also watch them demonstrated on YouTube by clicking the links below:

    "Kentucky Thumper": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JXEQaTkleb8

    To buy this lure click: http://www.striperfun.com/store/kent...mper-p-41.html

    “Tennessee Thumper”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ba8uN6NYhk8

    To buy this lure click: http://www.striperfun.com/store/tenn...mper-p-42.html

    “Walleye Dazzler”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BfuizmHF9r0

    To buy this lure click: http://www.striperfun.com/store/wall...zler-p-43.html

    “Striper Mugger”: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46aVV...e=results_main

    To buy this lure click: http://www.striperfun.com/store/stri...gger-p-46.html

    I also demonstrate these techniques on my “STRIPER FISH LIKE A PRO” instructional DVDs. You can buy the DVDs and umbrella rig lures on line off of the StriperFun website, or at Grider Hill Marina (StriperFun Headquarters!) in the ship store.

    Come book a charter with me and get in on the fun surface casting action!!!

    Later in the day, the fish are “still” holding on the river channel drop offs that run into the mouths of the major creeks, generally later in the morning. The fish are holding in 80 to 95 feet of water (in 110 to 115 feet of water).

    Dropping live bait right down on their heads will do the trick!

    Bam! Bam! Kapow! “Zing” – your rods will be singing!

    The secret is finding the schools!

    As summer is coming to an end, we are beginning to fish with oversized live bait. We are using down rods to “drop shot” the fish. This is where a top of the line GPS enabled trolling motor is a “must have”. The reason why is that it is important when live bait fishing that you have perfect control with your trolling motor.


    I only use the Minn Kota “Rip Tide” trolling motors from Johnson Marine and so should you! As a professional fishing charter Captain, my livelihood depends on my trolling motor working every time – every day! For 15 years I have used Minn Kota trolling motors and my “Rip Tide” trolling motor never lets me down!

    With “cool” features like the hands free “Auto Pilot and “I” Pilot functions, I can set my motor to go a specific direction and turn my back to deploy lines and have full confidence it will stay on course no matter the weather conditions!

    For using a “drop shot” on the fish, once I locate a nice an active school I simply push a button on “I” Pilot functions control and it “electronically anchors me” directly over the fish. If the winds blows me off the spot, the “I” Pilot brings me right back and again “electronically anchors” me back over the fish.

    Man, is that cool or what? I would never consider using anything else but a Minn Kota trolling motor!

    After the morning bite, I am still mostly trolling at this point and it continues to pay big dividends. As always, I am trolling Captain Jim Special hair jigs (white and chartreuse) both down rigging with my Cannon Digi 5 down riggers and also pulling slide divers.

    Bam! Bam! Kapow! What a blast!

    Grider Hill Resort Marina is
    StriperFun Guide Service “Headquarters”!

    Grider Hill Resort Marina offers the most comprehensive recreation, entertainment, fishing and houseboat experience on Lake Cumberland. Grider Hill provides great dining at their “on the water” restaurant along with terrific lodging in their beautiful landmark lodge, luxury suites with balconies and lake views and beautiful secluded cabins in the woods! When you add in the cleanest and best priced houseboats on Lake Cumberland, as well as great prices on boat slips, day boat rentals and with new ownership dedicated to excellent customer service, it is no wonder that Grider Hill Resort Marina is the fastest growing resort on Lake Cumberland!


    Click the link above to learn more and to watch an informative video or to book any of the great services provided by Grider Hill Resort and StriperFun.

    When you book any service with StriperFun or Grider Hill Resort Marina, be sure to ask for the “Captain Jim Special” to get a great FREE gift!


    I am please to advise that StriperFun is now a national distributor for Calusa Cracker Cast Nets!

    Calusa Cracker Cast nets are the industry’s very best and longest lasting cast nets. They have no equal. I still have some of my Calusa Cracker nets from 20 years ago. They are a super high quality product that deliver for me as a professional fisherman day after day and they can deliver for you as well!

    Our best selling cast net is the 8 foot 3/8 mesh net. This net sells nationally on line at all major sporting goods stores for $220.00. StriperFun sells this net for only $175.00, saving you $45.00 (20%)! This deal is simply unbeatable.

    However, there are also other circumstances that call for different kinds and sizes of nets. There are numerous net and mesh size combinations. Please call me toll free 866-305-1433 and we can discuss your cast net needs. I can take your order directly over the phone and the nets are then factory direct shipped within 48 hours.

    Do not get caught without your Calusa Cracker Cast Nets!


    For years, as I have done radio and TV shows as well as outdoors and boat show seminars on Striper fishing, I have been approached by the “nicest” people who have a true desire to learn more about the great sport of Striper fishing. There are always lots of questions asked regarding the numerous different techniques involved in our great sport.

    Unfortunately, many times, it is hard to explain things and answer questions when you are not out on the water (to be able to physically demonstrate what you are talking about!). Initially, this is why I created my (hot selling!) "Striper Fish like a Pro" instructional 3 DVD "Trilogy". This gave new (and even experienced!) fishermen a lot of good solid data on how we "Pros" do what we do, etc.

    But from the constant feedback I get I have learned that more information and training is wanted! Because of this continual strong request and demand for more information and Striper fishing training, I am now going to be offering "hands on and personalized" Striper fishing technique training with "on the water" instructional trips! These will be trips on the SARA KATHERINE III that will allow customers to “narrow down and focus in on” a large and diverse group of specific areas of Striper fishing they want to learn more about. It will also allow me to provide very precise and detailed training in a direct on the water "one on one" teaching environment!

    The Striper fishing technique training subjects will include (but not be limited to):

    Multi Skill trolling secrets including Umbrella rig - Down rigging and slide divers trolling
    How to set your boat up correctly for big game fishing to be successful!
    How to read marine electronics with an emphasis on the great new line of Humminbird fish finder / GPS units
    Live bait techniques (every possible scenario how to fish live bait, as well as tricks for keeping your bait frisky!)
    Casting and retrieving techniques and what lures to use in various situations
    And dozens of more subjects!!!

    Training trips are $75.00 an hour with a 2 hour minimum (4 hour maximum) and are held afternoons beginning at noon. I suggest you book at least 30 days in advance as they are already getting popular and I am booking up.

    By the way, you might even catch a trophy Striper while we are training!

    Please see below a nice email I received from a customer who went on a training trip, as he explains how it helped him:

    Hi Captain Jim, I was fishing Lake Cumberland in the fog this past Sunday and had the fortunate opportunity to troll through a school of feeding strippers. They were rolling and jumping everywhere. When your Lure the stripper dominator umbrella rig went through the school of fish I caught two keepers at the same time on it. Very exciting!! The Humminbird showed fish everywhere. So I caught my limit and put everything away to head back to the boat ramp. I would have never found my way back to the ramp in the fog without the humminbird.

    Thanks for all the good advice and training. I’d been out several times without much luck but stuck to what you taught me and it paid off.

    Todd Ryan

    Please call me toll free 866-305-1433 if you would like more information. I hope to see you soon!

    To get in on the great fishing action, you can book a Striper fishing adventure with StriperFun! Click the following link: http://www.striperfun.com/pages/bookacharter.php

    Many times our customers do not initially realize that the Striper fishing is 365 days year round. However, as the largest guide service in Kentucky, all of our boats are covered and we virtually fish almost every day.

    We live for this type of fishing and you can too! Come see us!

    Do not be afraid however to call last minute if you want a trip! As the largest guide service on the water we have numerous guides and can accommodate your schedule!

    I have included in this report (below) an extensive training section on down rigging below, as well as on Slide Divers. Between now and the end of the year is the “hot” trolling season! You need to get in on this!


    I am pleased to advise that Captain Jim Lures is now selling the new “Slide Diver – Lite Bite” controlled depth trolling fishing device! I have been “beta testing” this great new tool for the last year and the results have just been terrific, with limit after limit of Stripers caught (and some huge trophy monster Stripers as well)!

    Over the years, many Lake Cumberland fishermen have had great success “down rigging” Captain Jim Special “Dominator” hair jigs. When using a down rigger, you can control the depth at which your hair jig is running. If you see the fish continuing to hold at a certain depth, by using a down rigger you can keep your hair jig at this depth to keep your lure in front of the fish.

    However, down riggers (both manual and electric) can be very expensive! Many fishermen simply cannot afford to buy multiple down riggers for their boats. Also, smaller boats (or some boat designs) do not have sufficient space to be able to mount down riggers. Further, using down riggers can be intimidating for some fishermen, especially the need for “double stacking” to increase the number of lures being trolled.

    So what is the solution? How can fishermen inexpensively and dramatically increase the number of lures they can troll while at the same time actually “controlling the depth” at which the lures are running?

    The answer is the new “Slide Diver – Lite Bite”!

    The new Slide Diver – Lite Bite is a disc shaped “in line” device that utilizes water pressure against the planing surface which forces the unit to “dive both out and down” when trolling. The difference is, that while older styled divers were permanently attached to the line (and the lure could only be back as far as the length of the rod from the diver), the new Slide Diver – Lite Bite actually “releases” and slides down the line to the lure once a fish hits. This allows you to run your lures back as far as you want (generally 100 to 150 feet) before you lock down the Slide Diver – Lite Bite to the line.

    This is very important.

    Stripers (different for example from Lake Trout or Salmon) have very keen eye sight. They spook very easily! Because older styled divers were permanently attached to the line and the lure was within just a rod’s length from the disc, they were no good for Striper fishing. The disc would spook the Stripers and scatter them and the lure would pass just a second after. The Stripers would not have the time to regroup and settle back in to their normal pattern before the lure arrived.

    However, the new Slide Diver – Lite Bite again allows the lure to be back 100 to 150 feet behind the disc. This is very similar to how you troll a hair jig and plastic trailer 100 to 150 feet behind a down rigger ball. This gives the needed time (once the disc passes) for the Stripers to regroup and settle back in to their normal pattern before the lure arrives. Just like a down rigged lure yanks the line off the down rigger clip when a fish hits, the new Slide Diver – Lite Bite “releases” when the fish hits and slides down the line to the lure.

    It is just so cool how these things work!

    The adjustable weight shifts the diver from the center to the far right or far left trolling positions from the boat. Based on the adjustable setting on each diver and the amount of line released, the Slide Diver will descend to a pre-selected angle and depth. I can “dial in” the degree I want the diver to run “away from the boat and down” just like a planer boat runs away from the boat. With a planer board, the more line you put out, the further the planer board runs out away from the boat.

    The same thing happens with the Slide Diver – Lite Bite!

    For example, I can put the Captain Jim Special “Dominator” hair jig and plastic trailer out 100 feet and then lock in the Slide Diver – Lite Bite. If I tune the diver in at a 6 degrees setting and let the diver itself out another 100 feet, at this setting the diver will be running at an angle (like a planer board) about 15 feet “away” from the boat and at a depth of about 28 feet. Then I will put out a second Captain Jim Special “Dominator” hair jig 75 feet out lock in the Slide Diver – Lite Bite. If I tune in the second diver at a 3 degrees setting and let the diver itself out another 75 feet, then the second diver will be running at an angle (like a planer board) about 7 feet “away” from the boat and at a depth of about 32 feet. The second diver at a 3 degrees setting (less severe) is running at a more “downward” angle.

    You can tune the Slide Diver – Lite Bites either right or left –either way! As such, I generally run both a 6 degree “and” a 3 degree diver off each side of the boat (right and left) at the aforementioned settings. Once set, I then also double stack Captain Jim Special “Dominator” hair jig and plastic trailers on my Cannon down riggers.

    This allows me to easily troll 8 Captain Jim Special “Dominator” hair jig and plastic trailers at the same time. The fish catching results are simply phenomenal!

    You can buy the new Slide Diver – Lite Bites directly on the StriperFun website store! Just click the link below: http://www.striperfun.com/store/slid...bite-p-50.html

    THE UMBRELLA RIG FISHING IS ALSO GETTING RED HOT!!! You can buy the full line of Captain Jim “Dominator” Umbrella rigs directly on the StriperFun website store! Just click the link below:


    Remember if the fish is less than 22 inches to keep it in the water and release it quickly and it will most likely survive - no problem.

    Equipment section

    Where “on the water” to buy Captain Jim Special StriperFun lures

    You can now purchase all of the StriperFun – Captain Jim Lures and products (hair jigs, blade baits, umbrella rigs and multi lure casting rigs, DVDS and more!!) at Grider Hill Marina on the western end of Lake Cumberland (ask for James or Gwen!)!

    THE UMBRELLA RIG FISHING IS ALSO GETTING RED HOT!!! You can buy the full line of Captain Jim “Dominator” Umbrella rigs directly on the StriperFun website store! Just click the link below:



    The gift of a weekend package trip (or even a one day Striper fishing trip) with StriperFun makes a great Father’s day present for Dad, a brother or for the family and kids, or can make a great bonus for an employee or a promotion for a customer! We fish year round and our trips are very popular and our booking dates fill up fast!

    Fishing is family friendly and wholesome. So if you are interested in catching “trophy Stripers” or giving the perfect gift to that special someone, order a StriperFun Guide Service gift certificate today!

    StriperFun also offers an extensive variety of products that make great gifts, including numerous types of fishing lures, Super bait tanks, Hydro Glow bait lights and much more!

    We take VISA and MASTERCARD credit cards!

    Call me for details at 513-304-8825 or click my photo above to go to the StriperFun website to send me an email!


    I get lots of calls about catching bait. For years I have been using the “Hydro Glow Bait Light” to catch bait and so should you! It allows me to be “mobile” and catch bait on the main lake as well as at the dock!
    The "NEW" Hydro Glow Fish Light (JUST RELEASED!) is actually an "LED". IT IS TWICE AS BRIGHT BUT IS HALF THE SIZE (and is less expensive than the older models!). It is designed to use 12 vdc low amperage fluorescents to produce a green glow similar to that emitted by chemical light sticks in widespread use by divers to lure fish. It will work all night on one battery!

    The patented design utilizes the green light technology for improving your fishing activities during the night time hours. The light is designed to vertically submerge with only the top 3 to 5 inches of the light above the water level. This insures the entire illumination of the light is in the water where to fish are, not the bugs!

    Boy, does it ever draw in the bait fish!

    Click this link to go to the StriperFun store to order: http://www.striperfun.com/store/hydro-glow-c-9.html


    We are still temporarily suspended taking orders for Super Bait Tanks as the artist (each tank is hand custom made) is recovering from a medical issue. We hope to resume sales soon.


    Regulations that govern hunting, fishing, and habitat are formed by both the Kentucky Wildlife Commission and the legislative process. The League of Kentucky Sportsmen (League) helps keep the hunters and fishermen on top of today’s issues. The combined voices of sportsmen are a powerful tool used to more effectively influence the decision making so that sportsmen can actually have a say in how the resources are managed.

    The League works with individuals, Government Agencies, and Club Affiliates to constantly support the use of scientific wildlife management practices on public lands, private lands, and corporate lands. The League also supports the Kentucky heritage of hunting, trapping, fishing, and the right to keep and bear arms. The League also provides assistance with organizing events to bring kids and adults together in the great outdoors.

    No single individual or organization can do it alone. The League needs your help. Become a member today.
    Contact the LKS office and order your membership over the phone at (859) 858-0135. Or click on to their website: http://www.kentuckysportsmen.com/


    Be sure to listen in to the "Outdoors with Jim Strader" show that airs weekly on Sunday Evenings from 6-8 pm on 84 WHAS-AM, a 50,000 watt Clear Channel radio station in Louisville Kentucky (you can listen in on line!). Tune in and catch Captain Jim’s Lake Cumberland Striper Fishing Report on Sunday night to see how the prior week’s fishing went!

    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 are now moving into the early fall season. Dawn rolls around a little latter each morning and “Twilight” now rolls around just a little earlier each night as the summer “solstice” has come and gone. I truly love summer and am always kind of sad to see it slip away.

    I look forward to seeing all of you this year on the water.

    Count your blessings each day and live “in the moment”, not in the future and always remember to stop and shake the hand of a person in uniform or wearing garb that shows they are a veteran! Their service is why you speak English, can vote and can enjoy the freedoms you do!

    Remember also to always obey all Kentucky fishing regulations while on Lake Cumberland or any Kentucky waterway. Following the rules is a must! It is important that we all be good stewards of our fishing resources. If you have any questions about fishing regulations or to report poachers, call Kentucky Fish and Wildlife at 800-858-1549.

    Until next time, blue skies and tight lines!
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