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Going Savage on Arkansas Stripers at Lake Ouachita (continued)


Close to sunset I got hit on the 8Ē Line Thru but it wasnít the usual swirl you get when a Striper splashes on it, no this was something very different. As I fought the fish back to the boat it finally surfaced and I found myself face to face with a five foot Gar. Cal went for the camera but before he could pull it out of the bag Phill and I had successfully knocked the lure out of the fishís long toothy mouth, that was one fish we didnít want in the boat. We finished that first day with just my Gar but with high hopes for big Striper the next few days now that we were starting to get a game plan together.


Mike lands a monster 40lb striper on a Savage Gear Line Thru swimbait


Mike has had the most experience on this lake and knew exactly how to work the retrieve. He employed a combination of burning the bait to complete pauses and slow crawls mixed in with a few erratic cranks. This mishmash of retrieves gives the bait a combination of a fleeing and injured look that the Stripers really liked. When we hooked back up with Ron and their boat we learned that Brandon had landed a 20 pound fish and Mike had boated one just under 40 pounds!


Brandon and Cal search for baitfish breaking the surface


The next day we mixed it up and hit the shallower areas in the lake not far from our base camp. Cal and I both did our very best to mix up that retrieve but the same thing happened, plenty of chasers and no takers. I decided it was time to revert back to what I was best at, tossing ripbaits. I tied on a Jackal Squad Minnow on the Helios Air and started ripping. No more than ten casts in I got hit, but this was no Striper, it fought different and I thought I had a largemouth bass on until three feet from the boat and there was a Pickerel on my line. ďIím getting real good at catching anything but Striper in here,Ē I joked.


Call me the king of catching anything except Stripers on Ouachita


With the Pickerel back in the water I proceeded to rip up the shoreline. It was then that Cal got an epic blowup on the Savage gear Line Thru with Brandon and I staring right at the bait and the fish in the water. Like yesterday that fish was an absolute monster and I could tell Calís heart literally stopped when it hit. He let out a groan and exclaimed ďIn the span of half a second I thought, oh thatís a bass, oh wait thatís a Striper, thatís the one and oh no heís gone!Ē


Brandon makes a strategic cast


Checking out the new Helios Air


That fish was a game changer, we knew there were big fish holding in the shallow water arm that we were fishing and I was determined to get one. I ripped hard, varying my retrieve, and wondered what would happen if a monster really would hit my lure and what it could potentially do to my stock hooks and 12lb. fluorocarbon line.


The Helios Air handles smaller and lighter lures very well

Next Section: Stripers on light tackle










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