Long about 1999, some fish called Hybrids were stocked in Lake Barcroft. They were a cross breed between freshwater White Bass and The saltwater Pelagic, meaning to travel and chase prey in open water, fish, the striped bass that spawns in freshwater and can live in freshwater impoundments.
Back in the mid 90s, there were large numbers of the silver sided baitfish called Gizzard Shad living in the Lake. They had few predators at that time besides the Largemouth Bass Channel Catfish, and the Osprey, although through the years and because of the Shad, we have more birds of prey in Barcroft. The Shad were in such great number and the deeper water lacked oxygen and they began to crowd themselves out and die. I worked as a Lifeguard on the swimming beaches and the stinky dead fish would wash up in piles. Part of my job was to burry them.
Then the Watershed Improvement District decided to stock the fast foraging hybrids to control the Shad Population in 99. They also made improvements to the deep water Aeration system of the Lake.
I remember the first one I caught was on a Crankbait and it measured about 12 inches long. The next time I purposefully fished for them was in the middle of the first decade of the 2000s, about 2003-2005. They got big fast. I caught them in the deep water bubbles of the WID’s Aeration system and I caught them up the Holmes Run creek channel trolling soft plastic shad baits on a half ounce jig head as fast as my trolling motor would go.
It was much like the Mackeral and Mahi fishing I had done in the Outer Banks. Trolling at Moderate speeds with flashy baitfish imitators . I caught them on Sassy Shads and Bomber Crankbaits trolled at different depths and I caught them on Topwater in the aeration system with a chrome Zara Spook. Sometimes you would see gulls and other birds diving on a school of Shad that were being eaten below by the Hybrid Striped Bass. This is what reminds me of Sea fishing as The Captain I went out with there one winter was looking for those diving Gannets for his Ocean Stripers. His Mate told me they had caught Stripers up to 50 some pounds, but I was just a little too late and cold for that. Tim Hardy