AZ Lakes AZ Pros Jerry Tate

He Knows Stripers At Pleasant

Series: Arizona Lakes Arizona Pros | Story 46

Jerry Tate of JT's Arizona Hunting and Fishing specializes in fishing Lake Pleasant.He's on the water several days a week, and has a handful of good friends who also spend tons of time on Pleasant. Between them, they always seem to know exactly where and how to fish for any species in the lake.

Action Is Fast And Furious

"The great thing about fishing for white bass and stripers is that once you find them, the action is fast and furious," Tate says. This kind of fishing is perfect for kids, because most kids aren't big fans of just sitting and soaking a worm. They want to be DOING something. There are enough ways to catch whites and stripers to keep everyone happy.

Jerry says that the first places he'd check at Pleasant would be the Humbug and the channels in Cole's Bay and Castle Creek. The fish will be up shallow early in the day, but they move out toward deeper water later on. Jerry likes to start out trolling a deep-diving crankbait at first, and while he trolls he watches for the tell-tale signs of whites or stripers on his graph.

Means Active Fish

"They'll look like lots of streaks on the graph," he says, "not just a few. You'll see just tons of lines on the screen going up, down, sideways, and every which way." This means active fish, and you can stop the boat and start fishing spoons or small spinners.

Just about any spoon will do, but stick with a fairly heavy one. Tate recommends at least a 3/4-ounce spoon and good strong line. For stripers he uses at least 15-pound-test.If your spoon gets snagged, you can usually shake and pull it free if it and the line are heavy enough.

Or Cut Bait

If you'd rather, you can use cut bait. Slice frozen anchovies into 1-inch chunks and thread a chunk onto the hook. Put a split-shot in front of it and drop it down to the bottom and just let it lay there. If you have a two-pole stamp you can leave that rod out while you continue to spoon.

Kids enjoy casting constantly, so you may want to rig them up with a small in-line spinner like a Mepps or a Panther Martin. If the spinner is really light, try putting a small bullet sinker on the line ahead of it to make it easier to cast. Throw the spinner out and let it hit bottom, then crank it back up. Jerry says they'll hit it on the way up.

Where The Boats Are

If you're not sure where to start looking, just go to the river arms and look for where the boats are, Tate recommends. When you get into them, you can catch one on every cast, but they can disappear in a heartbeat. "They're just like a pack of coyotes or a wolf pack," says Tate, "they just move in, eat, then move on again."

Closer To Home, Try The Urban Lakes

If you can't get away for the whole day, surely you can manage to take a couple of hours off. The Urban Lakes program includes 50 different fishing lakes, including Desert Breeze Lake in Chandler; Water Ranch Lake in Gilbert; Red Mountain and Riverview lakes in Mesa; Green Valley Lakes in Payson; Rio Vista Pond in Peoria; Alvord (at Cesar Chavez Park), Cortez, Desert West, Encanto lakes, Steele Indian School Pond and Papago Ponds # 1 3 in Phoenix; Sahuarita Lake in Sahuarita; Chaparral Lake in Scottsdale; Surprise Lake in Surprise; Canal and Kiwanis Lakes in Tempe; and Kennedy, Lakeside (at Chuck Ford Lakeside Park) and Silverbell (at Christopher Columbus Park) Lakes in Tucson.

Need A License

If you are 10 years of age or older, you must buy a $24 Urban Fishing license (rates are the same whether a resident or non resident). You don't need a trout stamp: the Urban license is good for all the fish in the Urban Lakes. You can, however, purchase a 2-pole stamp and that's a good idea because you can let one sit with some catfish bait while you cast for trout or bluegill.

Trout are stocked all winter and catfish all summer, and there are also some spunky little hybrid sunfish in the Urban Lakes. They're a blast to catch, and kids love it. Think small when it comes to hooks and bait for the bluegills. Power Bait is good for the trout, and you can use small spinners and casting spoons for both sunfish and trout. Visit your local tackle shop for advice and they can get you all rigged up.


Deep-diving crankbaits of almost any kind are perfect for trolling. Look on the package and pick one that runs at least 15 feet deep. With heavier line the bait will run a tad more shallow. For spinners, look for Mepps, Panther Martins, Terminators, etc. Spoons can be Megabait, Crippled Herring, Hopkins, Kastmaster, etc. Get at least 3/4-ounce spoons, and you can go even bigger. Jerry says that the shad this time of year are four to five inches long, so you're not going to scare the fish with a big spoon.

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