Photo by Don Martin.
She hadn’t been fishing in over 10 years and she had never been out on Lake Mead, but for JC Amberlyn, an overnight fishing trip brought back memories of time shared with family.
You all know her for her photographs that appeared in the Miner for many years.
But you probably didn’t know that talented and award winning photo journalist is also an avid outdoors woman. JC likes to hunt, hike and spend time exploring in the Great Outdoors.
I’ve known JC for a long time, and we’ve gone on several hunts in the past.
But due to our work schedules and her various projects including writing several books, we never had the opportunity to go fishing.
That was until last Saturday night.
I am just starting my summer fishing season on Lake Mead and I asked her if she wanted to go out and do some “fun fishing” before I start the summer operation.
She said yes, and noted that she used to spend time fishing with a family member who had recently passed away. It would be a trip that would bring back fond memories.
The trip was planned and she met me at my Meadview fishing cabin.
It was going to be busy that night, as our trip would be at the same time as Stripe-R-Rama, one of the largest local overnight fishing tournaments of the summer on Lake Mead. But I felt that we could go and find the special spot that JC could catch fish.
The spot selected is a place I call Schleeter Rock.
“The Rock” is a spot in Virgin Canyon about 5 miles from South Cove. Over the past two years this area has produced many stripers and channel catfish.
I had fished in this area a couple of days before with two friends and we had brought in 95 fish.
I felt good about the spot and had high hopes that JC would catch a lot of fish.
However, we weren’t the only ones who were going to fish there.
Bill Schleeter and his partner were entered in the Stripe-R-Rama tournament, and they wanted to fish there, too.
Since they were in the tournament they got the spot, of course. But Bill said it would be OK if we fished close by since we were not in the tournament.
When we got there Bill and his partner were there and ready to fish.
JC and I anchored up and soon our lines were in the water.
In no time Bill’s partner had four fish in the boat, while JC and I hadn’t even had a bite.
But that all would change after darkness set in.
JC got a chunky striper as the first fish of the night. It was the first striper she had ever caught, but it wouldn’t be her last.
She told me she had caught catfish in the past, but the largest one weighed about a pound. I told her I felt confident that she would catch a larger one before the night was over.
Fishing all night takes a lot of stamina and determination. JC told me she hadn’t stayed up all night since her college days. Several of us wondered if she would make it. But in the end, that was something I need not have worried about.
The fishing was slow, and JC was a little rusty having not set the hook on a fish in many years and was using fishing equipment that she had never used before.
One thing about JC. She is driven and passionate about whatever she is doing. And this night she was determined to catch enough fish to last a long time.
We were hearing via text and Facebook that a number of our friends were catching a lot of fish all over the lake while we continued to struggle.
One boat had Cody Jalbert and his kids along with Socki Kogianes, who stopped by to show us their catch. “We got over a hundred,” Jalbert said.
Ryan Asplin and Troy Nolte were fishing about a half-mile from us. All night we heard a constant “Yeah Baby!” as Ryan and Nolte brought in fish after fish. They would finish seventh in Stripe-R-Rama.
Stacy Sanderson, a friend from the Nevada Striper Club, posted he had over a hundred fish and was throwing back “the little ones.”
But for the gang at “The Rock” things just weren’t that great.
It was about 3 a.m. when the fish finally started to bite.
JC got TWO “daily doubles,” that is she caught fish on BOTH of her fishing poles at the same time!
She caught what turned out to be the largest striper brought in on our boat and on Schleeter’s boat. That fish weighed 2 pounds, 2 ounces.
She also set her personal best for channel catfish. JC pulled in three of the whisker fish, the largest weighing 2 pounds.
In the end we had 49 fish in the coolers. We determined that JC landed 14 stripers and 3 catfish. Not bad for someone who hadn’t wetted a line for almost a decade.
JC took home a lot of fresh filets that will provide some good eating for her and her mom in the days to come.
Hopefully it won’t be the last time we get to go fishing this summer.
The fishing will get better and now she knows what goes on when you pull an all-nighter on Lake Mead.