When my good friend Ken suggested a striper fishing excursion in Arizona’s Lake Pleasant, I was all over it. Years ago, I fished a lot more than I hunted, and I had made a commitment to fish more this year. Ken and I had already had one successful outing this year, and I was ready for more. Fishing for stripers at night sounded awesome!

Striped bass are considered an invasive species in Arizona. They are non-native and very prolific. That being said striper fishing in Arizona is growing in popularity. Ken arranged the trip through Derrick Franks of Striper Snatcher Guide Service. Derrick has a great reputation and as it turns out has been running a great deal on fishing trips. Less than a hundred bucks for at least 4 hours of fishing? And all you need to bring is a cooler full of ice and a fishing license. Derrick provides the rest. Bait, tackle, you name it…

Unfortunately, scheduling during the summer monsoon season in Arizona can be a challenge. We were “stormed out” on two different occasions before we finally made it onto the water. There were seven of us and without too much fuss we were soon underway with Derrick’s partner Anthony Dovidio. Soon we were at the first spot. Anthony got lights in the water, got us all baited up, and pretty soon the stripers started hitting! It seemed like everyone was getting in on the action for awhile.

Night fishing for stripers

First big fish of the night

Soon we moved to another spot, and then another. It seemed like there were two types of fishing that night – fast and furious action with smaller fish being caught, and slower fishing but catching big ones. What a great night! Anthony was a great host, untangling lines during our amateur moments, boating our fish and keeping the hooks baited with anchovies. We had a great bunch of guys on the boat; everyone was a friend of someone. The weather was awesome.

Marshall’s nice striper

Towards the end of the night we met up with Derrick who had a couple of clients on his boat. We’re definitely going out again soon. I can’t say enough about Derrick, Anthony and Striper Snatcher Guide Service. These guys run a great operation. They know the lake. They know where the fish are, and how to catch them. They’re good guys and know their way around their boats. Add to all that, the price is right. I can’t imagine a guided trip anywhere where you catch more fish, and have that amount of fun, for that price. Very cool adventure for all of us. We boated around 23 that night with 3 that were superb stripers. The meat was 1st class. No bones when filleted correctly, and the meat is very mild. I baked some with lemon and dill; some of it I fried in butter after being dredged in flour and corn meal (the old-fashioned way!)

The night’s catch