More to fishing than simply dropping a line in the water

Most of us probably have seen the bumper sticker that reads something like this. “The worst day fishing is better than the best day working.”

Throughout the month of March Nevada’s anglers have been doing their best to test that theory with mixed results. Toby Chandler, tournament director for the Nevada Striper Club, said club members have struggled to find consistent action. During the club’s recent tournament, Chandler and others crisscrossed Lake Mead in search of striped bass, but they came up nearly empty until they worked their way to the Government Wash area.

Located just outside of what’s left of Vegas Wash, this is one area that seems to produce fish on a consistent basis. Well close to it anyway. This is where Chip Cimpan eventually sealed the tournament win by reeling in a 16.15-pound striper while fishing from the shoreline with gizzard shad for bait.

Subsequent outings have yielded similar results for Chandler and other club members whose fishing skills have been put to the test. While they have been catching fish, Chandler says they just aren’t catching fish in the numbers they once did. Naturally, our conversation included discussions of weather patterns and unseasonably warm temperatures, and talk about the possible effects of the abundance of bait fish in the lake on the feeding activity of striped bass.

Though we didn’t solve any of the world’s fishing problems, as always Chandler and I had a good visit about fishing. I am always amazed at how much thought and study guys like him put into their fishing pursuits. There is much more to their craft than simply dropping a line in the water.

One of the funny things about fishermen is you can talk to two different anglers and get at least two different stories about what’s taking place on the water at the same time. Sometimes more if you listen long enough. Not too much different, I suppose, than talking to hunters who have been hunting deer in the same area. One might tell you he saw few if any animals, while the other has stories of seeing multiple bucks every day.

Some might speculate as to why that may or may not be, but perhaps it all comes down to simply being in the right place at the right time. And having a little luck on your side doesn’t hurt either.

Consider the story of my friend Roger, his brother and their recent outings at Lake Mead. While some folks have found the striper action to be somewhat sluggish, this duo may have found what could be the seasonal gathering spot for striped bass that seem to have left the Boulder Basin. For two days in a row, Roger and his brother found fast action for fish that hit on nearly every cast. At one point Saturday morning, they caught 70 stripers in only 65 minutes.

Perhaps that is a story about fishing, and maybe it is a fish story. I’ll let you be the judge of that, but what I can tell you is I have been out with Roger when the fish only bite on his end of the boat. I’m still trying to figure out how he coordinates that with the fish.

Should you want to give Roger’s new striper spot a try, he is happy to share. Just look for the fish somewhere between Notellem Cove and No Name Point in the upper basin. It may take some effort to find the fish, but it beats working.

Freelance writer Doug Nielsen is a conservation educator for the Nevada Department of Wildlife. His “In the Outdoors” column, published Thursday in the Las Vegas Review-Journal, is not affiliated with or endorsed by the NDOW. Any opinions he states in his column are his own. He can be reached at

Home Front Page Footer Listing