BULLHEAD CITY — Some people don’t like to fish when it’s hot and windy.
The fish don’t really care about such conditions. But the wind can be a good thing for someone out fishing on the Colorado River, said Rusty Braun, proprietor of Riviera Marina,.
“Wind leaves ripples on the water,” said Braun, who also partnered with Bullhead City Parks and Recreation to present this weekend’s 2019 Bullhead City Striper Derby. “The wind stirs up the bottom of the river and makes the fish want to feed.”
And with that reduced underwater visibility, the fish have a harder time figuring out if bait is coming from a human trap or is just a tasty snack.
But many of the bigger stripers weren’t biting this weekend. There were plenty of smaller ones, however, Braun noticed.
Last year’s Colorado River Best of the West Fishing Derby included categories for catfish along with stripers. It was the first such derby in six years. Only about 40 people signed up to fish in 2018. This year, that number rose to 75, said Ashlee Bennett, the city’s recreation supervisor and derby organizer.
“There were about 100 people attending,” she said.
That included families. Encouraging children to take up the sport is a significant part of the derby, according to organizers.
There were cash prizes for outstanding catches.
The largest striper, 14.8 pounds and 33-5/8 inches long, was brought in by Jake Anselmo. He won $500 for the effort.
The second place prize went to Jacob Reed, who caught a 13.56 pounder that was 32-3/8 inches long. Third place went to Gabe Rosalez, who snagged a 4.6 pounder that was 24-1/4 inches long. Those cash prizes were $200 and $100, respectively.
A long list of raffle prizes suitable for all ages was given out Sunday afternoon. Laughlin Ranch provided a $400 golfing package prize.
While there were several local lodging packages donated by area gambling resorts, there also were such experiences as guided river tours.
What the city didn’t want to encourage in the derby was trout fishing because they are the type of fish that like to eat caddisflies, said Bennett.
Overall there were a lot more prizes and a large number of high-value prizes, Bennett noted.
One person was able to win a couple of raffle items: a free oil change and a tubing trip down the river for four people.
“I couldn’t come to the derby last year because I had to work,” said Kathy Hardie of Bullhead City. “I really wanted to come.”
Hardie tries to fish every few weeks and said she thought this year’s derby was “wonderful.”
And while Leroy Jackson didn’t fish, he said he enjoyed watching the goings-on.
Jackson is a master gardener who spent a decade with the University of Arizona Mohave County Cooperative Extension program.
“This would be a great place for the Master Gardeners to set up an information booth next year,” he said.
Cost to fish was $25 per person. Participants were allowed to catch stripers from Interstate 40 to Davis Dam and received an event T-shirt, a food ticket for Big Stein’s Food Truck and five raffle tickets. Anyone willing to spend $10 more also could enter the heaviest stringer and blind bogey.
The Veterans of Foreign Wars Post No. 10005 set up a beer booth to raise money for its various community efforts.
Braun said at the end of the event that the amount of interest and participation by community members and businesses made him very happy to see.