While working in a fishing tackle store called The Tackle Box, I have heard more fish stories than most folks, on how the big fish was caught on one of the local bodies of water. When you get around fishermen, the stories just keep getting better every time they are repeated.
All kidding aside, fishing tackle stores provide a wealth of information for the person who wants to catch numbers of fish or possibly a real lunker for the photo album.
Roosevelt Lake happens to be one of the best lakes in the Southwest to accomplish either one of these goals.
Team bass tournaments have averaged 25 pounds for a six-fish limit to win championships.
If an average winter runoff would occur, the weights will continue to improve.
I posed the question, "How would you catch a big bass from Roosevelt Lake?" to five accomplished anglers who spend hundreds of hours on the front deck running a trolling motor.
Mark Kile, Bassmaster Rookie of the Year 2003 and 3-time Classic Qualifier said, "Be prepared to catch the big one by using the right equipment."
Line selection should be a quality brand of at least 15-pound test that won't break when that five pound plus fish makes a run to cover. Hook selection is also important where the size fits the bait used. Names to look for are Gamakatsu, Owner or Daiichi. Finally, make sure the rod fits the bait thrown, which could mean a variety of fishing rods on your deck, ready to be put into action at a moment's notice.
Ty Goodman, who recently won the Bill Luke Big Bass Quest and a fully rigged Ranger bass boat said, "Confidence that an area or spot holds big fish because of previous experiences fishing in that location."
Being a patient fisherman and the willingness to wait for that one big bite that will win a tournament is important. He fished one area of Roosevelt for three days before he caught the 10-pound bass that won him the boat.
Buddy Randall, who won three major team tournaments on Roosevelt Lake, with three different partners in the last month and a half, has consistently been catching 20- to 25-pound bags. He gave this advice.
"Sensitive equipment that will detect the slightest bite will improve chances," he said.
By using an extremely sensitive rod, one can feel the smallest pressure change or tick that travels through the line to the rod in your hand.
Big fish seldom slam the bait, but may actually pick the lure up and slowly move away. He also recommended to slow down in your approach to moving that bait in the water during the summer months.
Longtime resident of Tonto Basin and veteran Roosevelt Lake angler Charley Boyd said, "A large waterdog of at least 6 inches with a Carolina rig will do the trick."
He likes to fish substantial drop-offs, where fish can feed then escape to deep water. These main lake points and humps could be at a depth of 25 to 40 feet where big fish hideout in the summer heat. Charley has caught many large bass this summer, fishing this technique.
Clifford Pirch, National Guard bass pro who has qualified for two FLW championships and four Top Ten finishes on the tour, said, "During the summer months, think offshore and deep water structure that has easy access to shallow feeding areas."
A deep water pattern could be anywhere from 25 to 40 feet, depending on the circumstances. Make sure your graph has the capacity to accurately describe the bottom that you are fishing. Learn how to use your graph to find locations where big fish will spend time.
Spend time on the water in these locations during the summer months.
Big bass in the five-pound and over category can be caught at Roosevelt Lake and the weights will continue to rise, if the lake can stay healthy.
The next time you put your boat in the water on "Old Rosy," give one of these techniques a try and maybe you can catch that big bass of a lifetime.
This weekend, enjoy God's creation and take someone fishing.