Once in awhile I run into an avid angler who wants to “school you” on how things are. What do you do?
It was about two weeks ago when I had some clients who wanted to fish San Luis for stripers, with the plan to meet at the truck stop below the dam for a cup of coffee before the trip. As we sat and talked, I was keeping an eye on my boat parked across the lot when two guys sauntered over next to it. They seemed animated while discussing the boat and fishing setup, walking around to look everything over. They seemed harmless enough, but after five minutes of watching them point out different features, they ventured close enough to look inside for a few moments. I stood up to go outside to check it out, just as both guys turned and came inside.
The older of the guys came over to our booth and I asked if they thought the boat would catch fish. Laughing, he said they did but wanted to know what were we fishing for. When I told him stripers, he proudly proclaimed he was from Arkansas — “home of the giant striper!” Turns out he was a truck driver delivering a load out here. He pointedly asked why I was using spinning reels instead of big Penn reels, as if I wasn’t quite up to speed. Well, I explained, “I have gotten stripers over 50 pounds on them,” thinking that should end the conversation. Undeterred, he said, “Yeah, you really need to change those reels for the really big ones!” Where was he going with this?
Asking me how big our stripers get, I showed him a picture of a nice 30-pounder, which he pooh-poohed as being pedestrian compared to what he was used to! OK, I agreed, you’ve got some huge stripers, but the old freshwater world record striper of about 67 pounds was caught just down the street. “Naw, that couldn’t be, that’s too small!” he countered. “I saw a mounted striper in the Delta that was over a hundred pounds!” Yes, I knew about that fish but I was sure the one he was referring to was a 100-pound salmon. “That was no salmon, I know it was a striper,” he challenged.
I decided to meet fire with fire, pulling out my cell phone and bringing up the picture of the All Tackle record of 81.8 pounds. Thrusting the picture in front of him, I said, “Here, this is a personal friend of mine, Greg Myerson, who just happens to hold all the current striper All Tackle records, holding his fish!” I got an unconvinced expression in return and a claim that his buddies had gotten stripers of more than 150 pounds — too big even to hold up!
Trying to placate him, while extricating myself from a losing one-upmanship battle, I said that, yes, you guys have catfish in that range, but there has never been a certified striper of more than 90 pounds caught on rod and reel. My guest even told him to check out the Internet for the record. Now we had him! Momentarily taken aback, the guy suddenly smiled, as if a light bulb had just come on. “Hey, you guys know that Internet stuff can’t be trusted.”
I stood up and told him we needed to go (before I lost it). This guy might be an angler, but his pride was bigger than any facts you could present, and he was ready to say anything to top you! It was, “Call you and raise 5,000!” at every turn. Time to cash in!
So I’m paying the bill, with my guests laughing at the ridiculous encounter, when the guy suddenly pops up right behind us, ready for another round! Not missing a beat and in the most genuine tone, he continued with “I’m sure that we got some over 130 pounds” … as we smiled and walked away — with him in tow, still talking. Yikes!
Funny, but on second thought, what if this guy sends me a picture with him holding up his 130-pound striper?? Naw! Never give up!.
Shaver Lake trout like warmer weather, Dick Nichols said. Millerton spotted bass keep on hitting, Merritt Gilbert reported. Pine Flat bass fishing solid, Patrick Movey said. New Melones providing solid bass and trout action, Gary Burns reported.