The first head shake gave it away. This wasn’t a log or boulder David Campbell had hooked Thursday afternoon. Whatever gulped his 1-ounce Kastmaster spoon at Lake Pleasant was alive.
After about 5 minutes of line-peeling action in the Castle Hot Springs area, the fish flashed in the water — it was a big striped bass.
Campbell, of Peoria, brought to our Phoenix headquarters Friday morning a striper that officially weighed 20.92 pounds and was 35 inches long — about 9 pounds short of a state record.
“The fight was sweet,” Campbell said. “It was pulling all the line out because we were trolling. So I told my partner to kick the motor out of gear so we could coast. I said, ‘This is a bull.'”
The inland waters, hook-and-line state record striper weighed 29 pounds, 13.76 ounces (45 1/4 inches). Bob Liddington caught that monster in 2010.
The striper is also a Big Fish of the Year leader:
Water conditions: Stained (mossy green), light chop
Tackle: One-ounce Kastmaster spoon, 16-pound Stren MagnaThin line (green color to match the mossy green water)
Water depth: 12-14 feet
Moon phase: Waning gibbous (third quarter)
Presentation: Trolling at 900 rpms (about 2.5 mph)
Boat: Spectrum 19 1/2-foot