MEADVIEW - On Saturday evening 40 teams of anglers - some from as far away as Las Vegas - participated in John Patel's 23rd Annual Stripe-R-Rama held at South Cove on Lake Mead. It is the granddaddy of all overnight team striper tournaments, and for many of the anglers, it is a time to renew old friendships and share stories.
But the news this year is not so much about the winners as it was about those that didn't do so well.
For the past several years, this tournament might as well been known as the "Fred Proudfoot and Eddie Walker" show. Fred and Eddie won the tournament the previous two years and have been in the top five the past 6 years. It seemed that everyone was always fishing for second through tenth when Fred and Eddie were fishing.
But this year most of the top teams from the past, including Proudfoot and Walker, were out of the money.
In 2013, a team from the Nevada Striper Club - Toby Chandler and Warren Wagner - took second place and had the tournament's big fish. This year, they were five fish short of a limit and finished eighth overall.
Matt Wolsey and Mike Stapleton won the Firefighter's tournament two weeks ago with a total weight of 86.7 pounds. At Stripe-R-Rama, they brought in just 29 fish.
"Our fish were gone," a dejected Wolsey said.
The highlight of this year's weigh-in was when the team of Jack Jenks and Tim Flatt drove to the scales in their golf cart complete with steer horns with a limit that weighed 77.25. Right now these two are the undisputed top striper fishing team out of South Cove on Lake Mead. Two weeks ago Jenks and Flatt took second place in the Firefighter's tournament with a limit that weighed 68.6.
Second place went to NSC members Chris Madden and Josh Holstrom. They brought in a limit that weighed 71.45. Madden said at daylight they found a huge school of shad that were being pushed up on the shore by stripers, and they used a casting net to catch the baitfish.
"We used the live shad on the boiling fish and smoked 'em!" Madden said. Their biggest striper weighed 6.85, good enough to win second in the big-fish money for the tournament.
Jim Cave and Rick Olivas took third place with 40 fish that weighed 67.8. Fourth place went to Stacy and Thomas Sanderson, who are also members of the NSC. They checked in a limit that weighed 64.5.
Stacy said they also found a huge school of stripers pushing shad along a bank on the Nevada side of the lake and stayed with them long enough to put many big fish in their ice chests.
Fifth through seventh places were won by Gayron and Diana Hopper, Dan Reed and Dr. Jerry Sullivan, and Anthony Tatzel and Chris Morris.
The big striper of the tournament was brought in by Antonio Rus and Orlando Muntean; their lunker weighing 7.05.
The largest non-striper brought to the scales was a giant carp that weighed 12.55. Dennis Davis and Travis Hamlin brought that fish in.
Proudfoot noted that he has had a tough year fishing, and he couldn't pre-fish much as he wanted due to business concerns.
"We were able to get in just two days of pre-fishing for Stripe-R-Rama and that just isn't enough!" he said.
Proudfoot also noted that he caught just one fish on Saturday night.
Other big stripers brought to the scale this year included a lunker fish that weighed 6.7, brought in by Ray and Donnie Scroggins.
Other stripers that weighed five pounds or more were brought in by James and Lee Chance, John Glen and Rocky Arnold, Greg Glenn and Hanna Grody, Don Martin and Jay Chan, Merlyn and Dave Coffman, Toby Chandler and Warren Wagner.
Officers from the AZGFD (Region III) were on site to ensure all regulations were followed. No violations were observed.
Tournament Director Johnnie Hoeft thanked all of the participants and tournament sponsors, including John Patel who has been the sole sponsor of this event since its inception.
"Every team and team-member who fished this year once again got a prize," Hoeft said. "It is the only tournament like it. And it is all due to Mr. Patel."