Monday, October 19, 2009

Stripper Fishing 101: Lake Havasu 2009

“See if you go out at 4 pm, you can pick up the fish on the bottom, and if you sit and wait you can then see them move up. That’s when you can catch them”, John explained. He also talked about when the strippers would boil and the importance of feeding birds.
I was fishing Lake Havasu, and while the fishing wasn’t great the seminar John was putting on for me was top notch! We had arrived, from Pahrump, on Sunday the 11th and I had immediately called my friend John Wheeler about the current fishing conditions.
He said the fishing was slow as the strippers had pretty much disappeared, but he agreed to take me out and at least he would show me the lake and his methods for catching strippers. The first morning we went to the Site Six fishing pier. There John showed me how to bait my hook with the threadfin shad he had caught, and it wasn’t long before he had a smallmouth fighting on the end of his line.
I baited my pole and cast out. The threadfin shad was lively and my pole tip danced as I watched it. Soon it was my turn as a small stripper inhaled the shad and really hooked itself. I fought the fish to the dock listening as John warned me about the hidden steel cables, used to anchor the fishing pier.
Releasing the fish I cast out and caught another. Other fisherman were also catching strippers but nothing big happened. It was fun to catch fish and listen to John as he talked about the 27 pound stripper that had been caught there while he watched.
Two days later John treated me again by taking me out in his boat. I had met John at a walleye tournament years ago, and I knew I was going to get a lesson from one of the best fisherman on the water. So to say I was excited was an understatement.
See it isn’t always about catching fish, watching a top fisherman as he hunts his quarry and listening to him explain the reasons for his methods or plan is just as much fun to me. So when he explained that the fishing was off, it really didn’t matter.
We left the dock before sunrise and made a short run to Windsor, where a gaggle of boats were casting and trolling pointer crank baits. Soon one of the fisherman caught a nice stripper and John recognized a friend who explained that the bite was pretty much over by six am! We rigged up and cast a bit with no success.
John suggested we troll and so we worked the shoreline but didn’t have any strikes, but it didn’t matter. The sun rose and the morning passed too quickly. We boated through the river channel, under the London Bridge, looking for shad and finding some but we had both forgot our cast nets.
John took me along the west shore and showed me a fish, sitting on the bottom in one of his secret “honey holes”. He explained how the lake was filled with sunken trees and how you needed to fish above the brush or you would simply be breaking off rig after rig.
It turned out to be a dues day but if your a fisherman you have lots of those. This one was special as I got to fish with John Wheeler, one of the best! Thank you John! Clear skies.

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