Good fishing at Lake Mead

DON MARTIN/Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Chuck and Julie Decker show the fish they caught last Saturday night while fishing with The Great Outdoors writer and fishing guide Don Martin at Lake Mead.

DON MARTIN/Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Chuck and Julie Decker show the fish they caught last Saturday night while fishing with The Great Outdoors writer and fishing guide Don Martin at Lake Mead.

The weather isn't the only thing that is getting hot around here.

Right now the fishing for striped bass and catfish on Lake Mead is smoking hot.

This information is based on fishing trips that I have been on in the last three weeks.

Right after the Stripe-R-Rama tournament, I got lucky and found a spot where there were plenty of stripers and catfish.

I have been taking my clients there and the results have been unreal. I only fish at night, generally going out around 9 p.m. and coming back around 6 a.m. It is cooler, and the fish seem to bite better at night under the new Hydro-Glow lights I have been using.

We have caught over 700 stripers and 40 catfish out of this one spot.

In the last five trips I have guided on, four of those trips have produced 132, 128, 127 and 104 fish.

My last trip was on Saturday night, and I was fishing with the husband and wife team of Chuck and Julie Decker, who are from the Phoenix area.

Last year, Chuck and Julie went fishing with me and brought in the best bag of the year. Their 40 fish weighed over 72 pounds, and they won themselves a free trip. Now they were back to defend their title.

Here is how my contest works. Each year, I have an in-house tournament for my fishing clients. The team that brings in the heaviest 40-fish bag of the year wins a free fishing trip for the following year.

The team that catches the heaviest striper of the year wins 25 percent of the jackpot, and the team that brings in the heaviest catfish also wins 25 percent of the jackpot.

Not every team I fish with enters the tournament, but most do and we have a lot of fun. Since I also get to fish, what I catch also counts in the team's bag.

People ask me when I think the best time of the year to fish for stripers on Lake Mead, and I tell them to "fish the dark of the moon in June."

On Saturday afternoon, the Deckers arrived at the Meadview house just as we were finishing up the fishing trip from the night before.

I had fished with the Paty family from Phoenix. We ended up catching 127 fish, 113 stripers and 14 channel cats on Friday night. It took us just over two hours to process all the fish. Their best striper weighed 2 pounds and 6 ounces, while the best 10 weighed in at 19 pounds and 2 ounces. Their best 40 weighed in at a respectable 61 pounds and 14 ounces.

Then it was time to restock the boat with bait and 5 gallons of my famous "Don's Secret Sauce" chum.

We fished at a spot that I affectionately call "The Nevada Honey Hole." Turns out it was a good move.

We moved into the cove and immediately started catching small stripers, but it didn't take long for the larger ones to show up.

We caught 92 stripers and 12 channel cats that night. Our best fish were a pair of chunky stripers that each weighed 2 pounds and 6 ounces. Our best 10 weighed exactly 21 pounds, but after that the Deckers still had a solid bag of fish.

Their best 40 pushed the scales to 69 pounds and 4 ounces. They now have the lead for the heaviest stringer so far this year, besting the Stines family from Phoenix who had been leading with 67 pounds and 2 ounces.

Will this weight hold up? Who knows, there is a lot more fishing to do before I stop in August.

I want to see local kids get a chance to catch a lot of fish, so I'm offering a special deal to anglers if they have a young angler under 18 with them on the trip.