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Going Savage on Arkansas Stripers at Lake Ouachita (continued)


By the time we finished rigging it was late and we were only hours away from hitting the water when we realized that we didnít have fishing licenses. Before we even had a chance to panic Mike handed us a piece of paper and told us to call the number. Unlike in many states Arkansas makes it effortless to get a licenses right over the phone. All we need to provide was a valid license number and credit card. The entire process took less than 5 minutes and afterwards we just had to carry a reference number and we were good to go. With that out of the way it was time to get a few hours sleep and hit Ouachita hard in the morning.


Brandon works Savage Gear 3D Real Trout Swimbait in the morning


I think between all of us on that boat we must have slept a total of 6 hours, we were all itching to fish. On this trip we would be guided by Capt. Ron and Phill Jaynes of One Eyed Striper Fishing, one of the top guiding outfits in the region. Capt. Ron grew up on this water and while other guides target multiple species Ron focuses only on the Stripers. Captain Ron was the 2004 NSBA Region 3 Champion and 2007 SBCC National Champion, excellent credentials for a Striper guide. Phill is an expert in big baits and Ronís right hand in the operation. The first day Cal and I were in one boat with Phill and Brandon and Mike were in a second boat with Captain Ron.


The new Savage gear 3D Line Thru Trout swimbait makes use of nylon mesh reinforcement and a top hook design that includes a sleeve to prevent the hook from damaging the bait


We had the option to target the Stripers using various methods including running bait on planer boards or tossing big baits, and of course we wanted to start things off with option two, so we tied on the Savage Gear 3D Line-Thru and 3D Real Trout and started slinging. Cal was right at home being a seasoned big bait angler, while I on the other hand was perfectly comfortable tossing the smaller sizes. It didnít take long for us to start getting chasers but getting them to commit was more challenging than we expected.


The new Komodo 350 size reel is designed to handle big baits and big fish including Stripers, Musky and Salmon


That first morning we all got drenched by the rain and Cal and I just couldnít seem to dial in the right retrieve. I know how to catch Stripers on the Delta but these fish had me completely puzzled. We had a handful of chasers but no solid commits. ďThe fish donít like the small baits here, you probably want to upsize,Ē Phill explained. It sounded counter intuitive but if there is one thing Iíve learned is if you want to catch fish on a body of water you know next to nothing about then it is a really good idea to trust your guide. So I went bigger, a lot bigger.


Casting those big baits was easy with the EVx musky rod


The smallest bait we had tied on was the eight inch Savage Gear Line Thru and we primarily started fishing the twelve inch Real Trout and one of our favorites, a massive 12Ē custom hard bodied Mike Bucca Bull Shad. The 8 inch bait weighs 4oz. and the 11 inch moderate sink swimbait weighs in at a whopping 9.5oz., which can do a real number on your arms and shoulders when making all those casts, but we were both surprised how well the Okuma EVx Muskie Rod was handling the big baits, especially considering this stick retails for only 135 bucks! The extra length in the handle provided that additional leverage to really catapult these baits both accurately and far enough to hit the shore. Phill explained that right now the Stripers were holding real tight to shore and we needed to literally park these swimbaits right on the bank.


Brandon pounds the bank with the 3D Trout


It didnít take too long for me to get another chaser and this one swiped at my bait but didnít get hooked. It left me shaking, it was the biggest and fattest striper I have ever seen, and Phil estimates it somewhere between 30-40 pounds. That is the kind of quality that Lake Ouachita offers.


Brandon lands a nice 20lb Striper

Next Section: Mike lands a 40lb Striper!










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