PHOENIX – While most people were huddled indoors out of the torrential rain on Dec. 7 while a major winter storm pummeled the state, John Davis was enjoying a fishing bonanza at Lake Pleasant, including landing a new inland state record striped bass.
“I’ve never experienced anything quite like it, they were hitting topwater all day long in the rain. It was really something,” Davis said.
Arizona Game and Fish Department officials say John’s monster striper weighed in at 28.58 pounds and measured 45.7 inches long. He caught the behemoth on a Zara Super Spook, which is a topwater lure.
What’s more, he was the only angler out there braving the storm, and reaping the benefits.
John said the behemoth striper actually hit the lure twice without being hooked, but came back a third time. John was amazed he could even land the fish – it ran like a runaway freight train, tearing off line and it took him some time to subdue the giant.
Davis would like to have the striper mounted, or at least have a replica of it created.
Davis, a Phoenix resident, routinely fishes Lake Pleasant, but said he has never seen such phenomenal topwater action before. “The stripers were in a feeding frenzy in Humbug Cove. I was getting multiple hits on my topwater lures, all day long. It was amazing.”
John said the sometimes it rained very hard, but the wind didn’t blow, so it wasn’t too bad out there. “Actually, it was kind of nice.”
It’s always nice when you hit the jackpot. John caught and mostly released around 50 stripers during his rain-soaked, day-long fishing bonanza.
Game and Fish biologists said research studies at Lake Pleasant have shown that the majority of striped bass congregate in the northern coves during winter, especially over submerged creek and river channels.
“The striper fishing at Lake Pleasant has really taken off the past several years. In fact, the striper bite last winter was pretty remarkable – anglers were routinely catching dozens of fish. It looks like we are off to a good start again this winter,” said Fisheries Chief Kirk Young.
Lake Pleasant has not always had stripers, but it is the only lake in the state with white bass. However, when the Waddell Dam was raised in the early nineties, Central Arizona Project water from the Colorado River began being pumped into this popular desert reservoir on the Agua Fria River. Eventually, striped bass from the Colorado River got into the lake.
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Rory Aikens (623) 221-2664 (cell phone)
Public Information Officer
Arizona Game and Fish Department