Stripe-R-Rama XX promises to be remembered

If you are ever going to fish in a Stripe-R-Rama event, this week is probably the one you don't want to miss.

This is the 20th annual event, and sponsor John Patel has promised a "Special Grand Prize" that no one, including tournament director Johnnie Hoeft, knows about. But knowing John Patel like I do - I'll go out on a limb and say whatever it is - you can bet it's going to be a good one!

Hoeft noted, "In recognition of the fact that Mr. Patel has sponsored this tournament since the beginning, he wanted to do something special this year. But I don't know what it is!"

Bottom line is that this annual overnight striper-fishing tournament is open to any two-person team. It is by design a pick-your-own-team format and is a tournament that everyone, no matter where you finish, wins a good prize.

It is by all accounts the largest local striper-fishing event, and the second oldest. Only the Kingman Fire Fighters tournament has more history than Stripe-R-Rama.

Here is how it works.

Find yourself a partner, get a boat and contact tournament director Hoeft at (928) 716-2616 and register for the tournament. If you can't get a hold of Johnnie, just show up at the dock at South Cove before 7 p.m. Saturday and you can enter. But remember, your tournament fees ($70) must be paid in cash, as no checks are accepted at the dock.

In this tournament, anglers will leave the dock in the order they have entered, and the tournament officials will do a boat inspection prior to letting the teams head out to fish.

Any form of fishing is legal, including trolling, casting lures and fishing with bait at night. The rules are simple, and the fishing should be good. Remember the recent fire fighter's tournament where 16-year-old Kingman resident Natalie Casson hooked and landed a 23.5-pound striper while casting a white, 3½ tube bait?

That could sure happen again this weekend.

Stripe-R-Rama XX goes from 7 p.m. Saturday night to 7 a.m. Sunday, and anglers can fish anywhere on the massive 150,000 acre Colorado River impoundment. Anglers must be inside the buoy line at South Cove by 7 a.m. Sunday, or they will be disqualified.

This year, because of some draconian National Park Service regulations, the weigh in and distribution of prizes will be held at Fisherman's Landing located at 290 East Pueblo in Meadview. If you need directions to this business, they can be obtained by calling Hoeft or by calling (928) 564-2100.

Besides the special grand prize, Hoeft said he hopes to be able to pay cash for about 10 places, but he will have more than $2,000 in other prizes to distribute to tournament anglers.

In addition to the cash awards for the top-10 teams, cash prizes will be paid to the teams that bring in the two largest stripers of the tournament. A special award of a multi-tool is awarded to the angler who catches the largest non-striper. This year - again because of NPS regulations - that means only catfish and carp, as largemouth and smallmouth bass are ineligible to be weighed in.

Right now there are just less than 30 teams that have registered, and Hoeft thinks that maybe 10 to 15 more teams will wait until the last minute and show up at the dock.

With so many prizes being offered, and the outlook of decent weather with light winds this weekend, there shouldn't be any reason why a lot more folks don't come out for this tournament.