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DeDee's 34.4 pound Striper

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wayne gustaveson

Staff member
On 08/14/18, my hubby, Boone and I left Bullfrog for some down lake fishing fun, and did so on our PWC’s, despite the fact that fishing from these machines is incredibly challenging and very difficult to do!

Back in the late 70’s, my family and I had came down with a long time friend who had just bought himself a new fancy stringer. My Dad caught the first fish of the day, of course, and when he went to use our friends stringer, he lost it, fish and all, in the water! He was devastated all day about it, and our friend was so kind and made no big deal of it! So ever since then, that wall has been named by my family as Stringer Wall, and was always my Dad’s first choice of the day for our fishing back in the 70’s & 80’s!

When I began bringing my family to the Lake in 1990, I told my husband and my girls of this story, and the significance of this wall!

This wall begins at the mouth of Lake Canyon and runs back uplake until the “wall” turns into rolling sandstone mounds.

My hubby and I have been fishing this wonderful lake for years and have caught thousands of stripers! We’ve raised two beautiful girls down here, and our youngest, Shannia, is an incredible angler! She out fishes everyone every trip, and has for years! Back in about 2002, she was on Wayne’s Words with a large wide mouth bass!

Anyway, this is our 4th trip of 2018 to LP, and for my birthday, Boone bought me a brand new Penn reel with leaded line that easily can replace my very large Daiwa reel, as we’ve been all year discussing how we would like to get deeper to the bigger fish! He also dug out an old trolling rod and reel that was his dad‘s and filled it with leaded line!

The weather didn’t seem like it was going to cooperate, as it was a little bit overcast and a bit windy… making the water somewhat choppy!

When we started fishing, he went straight for the leaded line pole, and I stayed with my large rod and regular reel, that we just put brand new 15 Lb. Test Line on.

He went to one end of the wall, and I started at the other end, (the good end), and within 5 minutes, I caught a small Striper, got it in, and got it stringered. I went right back through the same spot, and nothing....so while still trolling with my Silver 16’ diving Rapala, I circled back sharp, (which I think aloud my lure to drop a little deeper down before the pull of my line brought it back up a bit)....and....WHAM!

Line started stripping out of my reel like crazy, and like I had never seen it do before, unless I was severely snagged!

I shut off my machine, and started reeling, but was making no headway! So I started the machine back up and started driving towards where I thought I was snagged.

The machines move very quickly, and it’s hard to keep up reeling with them, and not run over your line, so I shut it off again and reeled up the slack. As soon as I got the line tight and all the slack gone, that’s when I felt the bump bump bump bump! I thought maybe it was my lure breaking free and jumping from rock to rock, and then I could reel no more....it was super snagged again, (or so I thought)!

So I decided to pull very hard upward with my rod, and start reeling....hoping to break the lure off the line, and then....YANK YANK YANK YANK!

Ok....being snagged doesn’t do that! Snagged lures don’t pull away from you! I said out loud....”this has got to be one heck of a fish”!! So no more driving towards the “snag”, it was a fish, and slack in the line usually means a lost fish!

He was like reeling in a live cinderblock! He refused to come upward, and so I felt like I was having to lift him up to surface! This all went on for about 10 minutes, (which is a long time to be reeling)! I was exhausted! I started to feel him come up some, and then he refused and there goes another 10’ of headway! I kept on reeling, and could tell he was tiring too! I kept reeling, and he was straight under me at this point....there was no bringing in line at an angle as with most stripers. I’m still reeling, and making some progress, and I said out loud....”where are you”? Reeled some more, repeated myself, and then there is this massive white belly rolling side to side! I quit breathing for a second and I sat there for a few seconds in absolute awe....but kept reeling, until he came to surface, and I saw this giant head to fins! He saw me, and down he went HARD! It was everything I could do to hold onto my pole as he stripped line, and had my large trolling pole almost three quarters of the way in the water, and going under my machine! I thought, “oh no....he’s gonna get away and/or snap this pole in two!

He gave up, and here we went again! I was not giving up, and I could tell he was as tired as I was! I got him back to surface, and remember thinking to myself how in the world am I going to get this thing in and into my machine!?!?

I got him over to the machine, and was able to get my large pincher tweezers on his jaw, (which I could see had bent them in the process), and I started working on getting my lure free with my other pair of tweezers. He had swallowed my lure, and it was severely hooked into that hard cartilage like area deep in his throat.

Just about to get it free, he flailed around pulling himself out of my tweezers I was using to hold him with! I was able to grab my line and slowly pull him back towards the machine, and get the tweezers back on him in a better grip. His sheer weight made it easy for my line to slice my hand and fingers pretty good! Got my lure out, got my stringer unhooked from my machine, and ran it up through his gills, and into this enormous mouth, of which I had to put my entire hand, (wrist deep), to get ahold of the stringers end!


I bet I said out loud, “oh my God”, hundreds of times from the time I first laid eyes on him and clear through this whole process!!

Getting him into the foothold of my machine was interesting to say the least! But I got him in, trapped him with my leg, and off I went to find my hubby!!

Going easy, so to not bounce him out, I found my hubby trolling with his deep diving set up, and signaled to him to shut it down! He told me later that when he saw my face, either something really bad or something really good had just happened! He had a lot of line to reel in, which was killing me to wait for him so I could bring my machine up close for him to see this giant! I was finally able to get close enough for him to see, and said, “he’s taking up the entire foothold of my machine”! He looked at my giant, and said, “Holy Sh*t”, and looked at me with this most loving disgust I’ve ever seen! Hee hee!! “Well, I guess we better get him back to the marina to get him weighed and measured”, he said in excited jealousy!

I caught him, and/or finally got him into my machine at 3:31 P.M.! I know this because before heading towards my hubby, out came my cell phone for some pic’s!!

He was 42 1/2” Long, with a girth measuring 24 1/2” around, and weighed 34 Lbs. 4 Ounces!!

I know you asked for the basics of my catch, but how could I not share the whole story?

A fish of a lifetime!! Whata day!!

DeDee Case

Whitewater, Colorado


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What an awesome write up to go along with that fish DeDee! I enjoyed reading it and you made me feel like I was there. Congrats on a great fish! I've been a Lake Poweller for 46 years and envy your story and catch. I can relate to your husbands look he gave you!


Well-Known Member
Congratulations on a great fish!! Fishing from a personal watercraft and successfully landing a striper that size would be tough. WOW! Enjoyed reading the story.
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Well-Known Member
Thanks for writing this up! It’s a fun story and one I hope to replicate personally tomorrow... LOL

A guy can dream...

This Lake has raised many people’s kids. And most of them turn out pretty darn great
What an awesome write up to go along with that fish DeDee! I enjoyed reading it and you made me feel like I was there. Congrats on a great fish! I've been a Lake Poweller for 46 years and envy your story and catch. I can relate to your husbands look he gave you!
Wow, how cool! I didn’t know Wayne was going to post the whole story but for you & others to convey how you enjoyed my long winded explanation, makes my catch even sweeter! Thank you!
Congratulations on a great fish!! Fishing from a personal watercraft and successfully landing a striper that size would be tough. WOW! Enjoyed reading the story.
Thank you! Yea, using a PWC is very hard to do! I guess we need to buy another boat! It’s my hubby’s turn to catch one of these giants! There’s nothing like seeing one come from the deep....especially when it’s on “your” line!


Hey DeDee. Great story and it is getting me stoked for my next trip up, which happens to be next Friday. My son and I fish from a 22 year old tournament inboard ski boat (I used it to ski and barefoot as a younger man) which we've figured out how to use pretty well as a fishing boat. I am envious of those with top class fishing boats, but your story is reassuring. Fishing from a PWC would be just a little bit more challenging. Don't know how you did it. Now I feel like I have a Cadillac fishing boat. Anyway, congratulations! Question: What did that fish eat to get so massive? Did you clean it or are you taking it to a taxidermist? I wouldn't be surprised to find license plates, paint cans, small sharks, etc. in that fish's digestive system.
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