Fall Bass Fishing At Roosevelt Hard To Beat

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As I reported last week, fall means great fishing in Arizona. Luckily for Rim Country residents, one of our best warm water lakes is only 45 minutes away.

If you caught my comment last week, you know I think Roosevelt may become the best bass lake in the Western United States for years to come.

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Gary Senft, left, and Bryan Daniels snagged more than 23 pounds of bass, to win the All-Star Team Championship on Roosevelt Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 to 10. The two part-time Tonto Basin residents beat out 44 other teams to win a Status bass boat with a 150 horsepower Johnson outboard engine.

With the new high-water mark reached this spring, the recently submerged brush literally created a new lake.

The spring spawn was excellent and last year's spawn was rated good. Add to this the nutrients from major runoffs, and you have a highly proficient bass factory. Consequently, bass fishing is excellent for those who are making the fall trips to Roosevelt Lake.

Many of the Arizona bass fishing contest circuits have changed schedules to take advantage of the improved fisheries and all the new waters made available.

The final event of the All-Star Team Championship was held on Roosevelt Friday and Saturday, Sept. 9 to 10. The event had 45 teams qualified, and after two days of fishing only a single pound separated the top three teams.

At the final weigh-in, Bryan Daniels and Gary Senft, both part-time residents of Tonto Basin, had a one-quarter-pound victory (23.23 pounds) over brothers Ken and Larry Larabee (22.99 pounds). Third place was only another two-tenths of a pound less than second, at 22.81 pounds. Another Tonto Basin team, Andy Shelton and Murray White, climbed to fourth place after being in 24th place after day one. They earned an extra $1,000 for the biggest bag weight of the two-day tourney.

Bryan Daniels and Gary Senft earned a new 18.5 foot Stratos 285 Pro-XL and a Johnson 150 HP engine for their championship victory. They have been fishing together as a team for three years on the All-Star circuit and were crowned Anglers of the Year for 2004. Being weekend residents of Tonto Basin, they frequently fish Roosevelt Lake and consider it their favorite bass lake.

Daniels has fished Roosevelt for almost 30 years, starting when he was a youth, and his dad, Paul, took him fishing in the Tonto arm on this side of the lake. When Daniels is not fishing, he is a dentist in Phoenix, with 13 years in private practice.

I asked what tips he could give anglers for fall fishing and he was quick to answer: topwater in the early morning with the very popular and effective Rico baits. Buzzbaits and Zara Spooks also produced lots of fish with the great majority of bass being in the slot of 13 to 16 inches. After the topwater bites backed off, Daniels went to jerkbaits, fishing near all the brushy shoreline with Luckycraft bait called a Pointer 78 or Pointer 100.

On day two of the tournament, the team went to a plan called "Running and Gunning." They had many spots that held good bass, so they hopscotched around the lake trying to find those elusive overs. They had six rods ready with different baits until they could find the right pattern. The concentration required in every cast, and setting the hook on every bite, means you are always ready. Both fishermen agreed that great equipment is essential to be competitive on the local bass circuits of Arizona.

So, congratulations to Bryan Daniels and Gary Senft on a great weekend and winning the All-Star Team Championship and a new Stratos Bass Boat.

Yes, fall bass fishing at Roosevelt Lake is hard to beat.

If you have any questions on baits to use and conditions, give the Tackle Box Fishing Hotline a call at (928) 479-2108 or (928) 978-3500. One of the pro-staff team members will give you the latest information on Roosevelt Lake or Apache Lake.

This weekend, enjoy this fantastic weather and God's creation.

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