Monster fish caught at Lake Pleasant

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By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas
By Jennifer Thomas By Jennifer Thomas

PHOENIX -- Lake Pleasant is a popular Valley fishing destination and as one Peoria angler found out, you never know what you're going to find in those waters.

"Just enormous. Definitely the largest striped bass I've caught in my life," said professional fisherman Jason Blauvelt.

Early Saturday morning, Blauvelt and a friend left Peoria and set off to Lake Pleasant with boat in tow.

In a matter of hours, boils led them to hook about 30 striper bass averaging a foot in length using 4-inch swimbaits.

But stripers usually live in waters dozens of feet below the surface.

"If these little guys are up shallow, we need to head deeper. We need to find those bigger fish," Blauvelt said.

They searched different spots around the lake and used sonar to track schools of striper 75 feet deep then with a pirk minnow spoon attached to his line came the big bite.

"This has got to be a 5-pounder, took a little bit of line, and then it took a whole lot of line, and then it got to the point, OK, I can't even move this fish. I have to have a fish over 20 pounds," Blauvelt said.

And so the battle ensued.

After a 20-minute struggle between Blauvelt and the monster fish, they got it next to the boat.

"Grabbed with one hand, put the pole down, grabbed with the other one, just kind of leaned back and pulled it right into the boat," Blauvelt said.

Since the Arizona Game and Fish Department wasn't open Saturday to take an official weight, Blauvelt took the fish to a Bashas' meat counter, where it pegged their scale at 30 pounds.

By Monday, Game and Fish recorded an official weight of 28.38 pounds, which was just shy of the current state record of 29 pounds, 13 ounces.

"I've got two giant fillets in my freezer right now and looking forward to having some dinner here this weekend," Blauvelt said.