Arkansas Striper Story May 24, 2005
Tuesday last week while on vacation in Hot Springs,
Arkansas my good friend Ron and I hired us a striper guide Tuesday morning
to go after Lake Ouachita stripers. (Apparently rated cleanest major lake
in America by EPA} 1000 miles of shoreline, numerous islands and stripers.
We met Ron Hawley, our guide at 4:50 AM and followed his one ton Dodge
Diesel with 20+ ft. center console striper boat up the mountain to Brady
Mountain launch area.
Before daylight,we were anchored at the
mouth of a creek where the stripers were foraging at night with hopes of
catching them returning to the main lake. Limit was 3 and guide did a
great job building excitement with stories of 30 and 40 pounders caught at
this very spot as recently as couple days ago. As we started burning
daylight we were told to count to 3 before setting hook when striper
grabbed large shad we were free lining. My friend had not fished in 27
years and I have fished for stripers for over 20 years in Lake Texoma on
Texas,Oklahoma border and caught hundreds. Texoma is one of few freshwater
lakes where stripers spawn and if anything there are too many in lake. (
Limit in Texoma was always 10 but only 2 over 21 inches) My personal best
is about 5 to 6 pounds but my wife caught one over 8 pounds there on a
Pencil Popper. Heck a 40 pounder would be nice but I really , really
wanted one over 8 pounds.
The clicker started a steady buzz
and after 3 seconds I set the hook deep and the fight was on!! After
several minutes I landed my new personal best that guide estimated at 7
pounds and right after my buddy landed his first fish in over 25 years
almost a twin of mine.Then they were done.
After a bit the guides
radio announced fish surfacing at "Bird Island". Off we went.By about 8:30
we had 2 more in the boat. Mine caught on the surface with a 7 inch
rainbow trout Redfin pulled just at surface and my buddy got his on large
striper size Zara Spook!! Both fish about 3 or 4 pounds but great fun on
No luck for a while and finally after several
locations we were informed via radio that fish were showing about 1/4 mile
of our launch point and one almost 10 pounds was caught.We headed that way
and the guide found the fish and we free lined very large shad once more.
My buddy had a very nice fish on for several minutes but it
escaped!! Then my clicker buzzed an this time I thought I snagged but the
pull soon dispelled those thoughts. I landed my pot bellied female (No
striper spawn here) after a nice long tussle and very soon my buddy landed
a longer male. Weight on scale showed both fish at 14 pounds plus!!
Yep, our wives went to the Velvet Rose Hotel bath house in Hot
Springs for their luxury hot mineral bath and 30 minute massage that
afternoon so we all got some real trophies!!! Great Fun!!