Maybe A State Record

During the spring of 1972, Jake Schroder and I spent a lot of time fishing in Lake Pleasant, a twenty, minute, drive, north, up I-17. Now Phoenix and its suburbs have nearly encircled the lake.

We would put his original, Skeeter Bass Boat with a flat bottom and stick steering, in at the State launch ramp at the lake and head straight for the dam and try to fish inside the restraining cables. . The dam had a watchman, or Troll as we called him. We never met him but almost became friends, because he ran us off from inside the restraining cables so many times. He must not have been a fisherman.

Until the Troll would run us off, we would cast up on the dam and bounce our special multiple jigs back down its side, awaiting a strike from a white bass. White bass in Arizona you say? Yes, years before, Texas had traded millions of white bass fingerlings to Arizona for a large number of Rio Grande turkeys. Texas repopulated the state with the birds and Arizona created a great fishery for white bass in Lake Pleasant.

This particular trip was on a beautiful desert morning, clear, with no wind. As we neared the lake’s damn, I asked Jake, “Do you see the Troll,” “No Troll in sight,” he replied, so under the restraining cable we went. For a while, we were the only ones fishing around the dam and after several casts I had a strike with some “weight” behind it. Must be a catfish I thought. Then it made a nice run, more like a red fish, swirled at the surface of the water and took off again. Soon we lipped it and swung into the boat, the biggest white bass ever, maybe. We estimated it was seven pounds or more. What a fish! Onto the stringer it went, and back to casting.

Catching one more fish, much smaller, out came the Troll. “You boys get behind the restraining line, OK.” His first warning was always nice. We waved to him and kept fishing. “Behind the restraining line!” More firm. We waved and kept fishing. He was beginning to annoy us. “Move that blankety-blank boat or I’m going to give you a blankety-blank ticket”.

It was time to leave, so we started up and headed away and noticed a fisherman in a boat right up to the restraining line, laughing at our encounter with the Troll. He said, “I saw you caught a nice one, let me see it.” We showed him and said we thought it would weigh seven pounds or more. “Real nice,” he said as we motored off. We took both fish home and ate ‘em.

Several months later I got a call from Jake and he said, “You remember that big white bass you caught out at ‘Unpleasant’,” our new name for the lake. I said’ “Sure do, it fried up real good!” He went on to tell me that the fisherman we showed the fish to was an outdoor writer for the local newspaper, and of all things, he wrote and was published in a national outdoor magazine, an article about the white bass fishing in Lake Pleasant, and most embarrassing, about two Texas boys who caught a monster white bass, easily a new state record, didn’t register it with the state, but like all good “meat” fishermen, took it home ate it.

Always remember, that if records interest you, most times the state will keep the fish, and you can’t eat it