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Tue, Aug. 20

Teen reels in 23.5-pound striper
Natalie Casson and uncle easily win fishing tournament

DON MARTIN/For the Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Natalie Casson and her uncle, Bob, show the giant striper she caught during the annual firefighters’ tournament at South Cove on Lake Mead. The striper weighed 23.5 pounds.

DON MARTIN/For the Miner<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->Natalie Casson and her uncle, Bob, show the giant striper she caught during the annual firefighters’ tournament at South Cove on Lake Mead. The striper weighed 23.5 pounds.

KINGMAN - Everyone was looking forward to a great year of striper fishing on Lake Mead, but no one expected a 16-year-old high school phenom to smash all the records of the United Professional Fire Fighters of Kingman fishing tournament.

But that is exactly what happened on the second day of the tournament, when Natalie Casson and her Uncle Bob brought in an ice chest filled with stripers that shattered all the previous records of this annual tournament.

What she caught, using 12-pound test line while tossing a white 3½ inch tube bait, was the largest striper ever landed in this tournament.

The behemoth fish pushed the scales to an incredible 23.5 pounds, and topped off a 40-fish limit that weighed 97.55 pounds!

What is ironic is that even without that monster fish, the Casson's would have easily won the tournament with more than 74 pounds of stripers.

Second place in the striper division was the team of Ken Miller, Carlos Rooks and Don Brown. Their 40-fish limit weighed 66.1 pounds.

Third place in the striper division was the team of Robert Borker, Joe Cowin and Andy Rucker, who had a 40-fish limit that weighed 65.2 pounds.

In the largemouth/smallmouth bass division, first place went to the father-son team of Rick and Nick Olivas, who brought in a 15 bass limit over a two-day period that weighed 30.15 pounds. Second place with just 13 fish checked in was perennial winner Fred Proudfoot and his son Mark, who had 28.8 pounds. Their bag included the tournament's largest bass, a lunker largemouth that weighed 3.9 pounds.

Third place was won by the team of Ed and Ariel Walker and Ethan Esquibel. They checked in 14 bass that weighed 23.55 pounds.

The winners of the catfish division were Johnnie Hoeft, Gary MacGregor and Erik Connell. They checked in 15 catfish that weighed 15 pounds.

Now that this huge fish and accompanying large stringers have been brought in, many veteran anglers are wondering what it will take to win the upcoming Stripe-R-Rama XX tournament.

That tournament, which is set for June 11, will see up to 50 two-person teams head out of South Cove on Lake Mead at 7 p.m. on Saturday and then check in on Sunday at 7 a.m.

The teams that bring in the heaviest bag of stripers stand to win a lot of prize money, plaques and prizes for their efforts.

To enter Stripe-R-Rama XX, just type in Stripe-R-Rama on Google search, download the application, and mail to tournament director Johnnie Hoeft at 2715 Barboot, Kingman AZ 86401.

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