EZ-Up Island (Bartlett 7/06 - 7/08)

Discussion in 'ARIZONA LAKES / RESERVOIRS TALK' started by topjimmy, Jul 12, 2007.

  1. topjimmy

    topjimmy New Member

    It was a calm and quiet Friday morning, at least according to Bartlett Lake standards.

    We motored around the lake looking for a good spot. We settled on the biggest in a group of three small islands, less than 100 yards apart from each other, and probably 300 yards off the main shore. The far island was probably 75 yards away. The closest island was probably 30 yards away.

    We knew there might be some weather and debated the wisdom of sitting on an unprotected island rather than shielded in a cove, but we thought the fishing would be really good in this spot.

    Our island was about 150 yards long, with a small mountain of rocks on one end and a flat sandy area on the other.

    There was a sandbar that started on the flat end and ran all the way across to the close island. If you walked on the sandbar, you could wade to the neighboring island and never get into water that was more than chest deep. The sandbar was about 12 feet wide, and on either side of it, the water dropped off almost immediately to about 40 feet deep.

    We set up camp, tossed out some lines, and caught a few fish. We grilled some food and enjoyed the afternoon, taking frequent dips in the lake to stay cool. In the early afternoon, we could see clouds in the distance. We knew there was a chance of rain in the forecast, but I was skeptical.

    "It won't rain", I said.

    Bob said "That stuff is going the opposite direction".

    "I think it is going to pass us by", someone said.


    Not long after, the sky started to look ugly.

    Pretty soon it started to get breezy. Then the wind started to gust. Mike's brand new Caravan Canopy was destroyed when it flipped completely on its top, taken over by Bob's Quickshade (they were attached to one another). Bob's Quickshade was badly mangled.

    Roger's EZ-Up was unscathed, because we were able to grab it and remove the canopy before the wind carried it away.

    Mike's boat came loose from the shore and he hopped aboard and went out onto the lake to ride out the storm. At some point, he lost one of his shoes overboard. There was a lot of wind, and a lot of big waves. But there was no rain (I am right 97.3% of the time, after all) and very little lightning. Mike tried to reland the boat several times, but found it to be too windy each time he came in, so he just stayed off the shore.

    I walked around to the downwind side of the rock hill, where it was calm, and caught a few fish.

    After awhile, the storm settled down, and Mike brought the boat back in.

    We grilled some more and a lot of beer was consumed. The wind blew all evening, but it finally went away around midnight. I had caught quite a few decent sized bait fish in the afternoon. I rechecked all the bait, recast all the lines, and settled in to enjoy the night… but I didn't have any runs on my heavy lines.

    The next morning, everyone headed to the marina for beer, ice and shoes. After they left, I checked the lines. On my biggest pole, I reeled in what looked to be about a five pound channel catfish. There was no one there to net for me, and I didn't want to get wet just to get the fish, because I was still in long pants, so I eased it up on the shore. As I reached down to grab its lip, it slipped off the hook and was gone. Oh well.

    Since we had 2 less canopies than the previous day, we needed shade. With twine and duct tape, we did the best patch up job we could on Bob's heavily damaged Quickshade. I secured the canopies by pounding stakes into rocks and tying them down.

    "These aren't going anywhere, unless these lines break", I said.

    What followed was another day just like the previous; eating, drinking, wading, drinking, eating, drinking, name-calling, and wading again. These trips never really differ all that much, except for which gear gets broken and what bad things happen along the way.

    We could see the clouds building again. We tried to batten down the hatches as best we could. Then the real wind hit. I again headed to the refuge of the downwind side of the hill, and I caught some more fish. One of the fish swallowed my hook, so I started to walk back to get my pliers. That was when all hell broke loose.

    The first thing I saw as I came around the hill was Roger's EZ-Up launching about 20 feet into the air, then flipping, spinning and blowing out over the water and almost hitting the adjacent island 30 yards away (I would find later that the stakes held but the guy lines had completely snapped). It sank quickly. The remnants of Bob's Quickshade were quickly destroyed also, but stayed on shore. I started grabbing loose items and weighing them down. My 50 pound grill somersaulted off of its stand, tables turned over, and cooler lids blew off their hinges.

    Mike's boat was pushed sideways on the shore and wedged there on the port side. He tried to start it but couldn't. There were 3 foot waves crashing in, the boat's canopy top was flapping, and the boat was rocking like 2 fat people bumping uglies on a giant waterbed.

    Mike and Bob were onboard trying to secure the gear. Bob rode the boat like he was in a rodeo.

    I thought it was going to flip.

    I said, "We need to take down the top or the boat is going to flip. Let's take the top down and then get the hell off".

    I climbed up and unzipped one side, while Mike unzipped the other. When the zipper finally let go, I lurched and nearly fell overboard. Bob grabbed my legs to keep me on the boat. Then we jumped off onto land.

    The wind battered us for sometime, but it finally subsided. The amazing part was how soon after the storm the lake flattened out. I grabbed my ultra light pole and headed back to my spot on the other side of the rock pile, where I proceeding to catch a mess of fish.

    I caught bluegills bigger than I have ever caught at Bartlett Lake. I caught small catfish. I caught bass. I could not keep my line in the water because I was too busy unhooking fish. I was exultant. I was deep in the throes of rapture when Mike sauntered up.

    "Let's eat some chicken", he said.

    I didn't want to, but he goaded me.

    "One more cast", I said, "watch".

    I hoped he would see the action and then want to join me. My line the hit the water, the bobber went under immediately and WAY under. I reeled and the drag whined. I pulled up a good-sized bass. I reached out, my four-pound test line broke, and the fish swam away, taking my hook along with him.

    "You're done", he said, "let's eat".

    He's lucky my line broke, or I would have told him to @%#! off.

    We headed back to get some food.

    We ate just as darkness set in. When we finished eating, I pulled up my chair and reset my lines.

    It wasn't long before Mike had a baby flathead on his line. He pulled it in, I took it off, and we admired a beautiful, healthy young fish. I put him back in the water and told him to go get bigger (the fish, not Mike).

    Roger caught a good-sized channel catfish, and I did the same again. Then I went to check my lines.

    When I pulled and reeled and my line headed for the reef buoy, I knew it was a good thing. "Mike, get the net, I got a big one", I said.

    Roger grabbed the net instead; I didn't realize that Mike was indisposed.

    "Don't let it go before I get to see it", he yelled.

    I laughed.

    When I got the fish close to the shore, I could see it was a good-sized flattie. I brought him in, and Roger netted him for me. It was a 9.1 lb flathead, a very nice looking fish.

    He swallowed the hook, so I cut the leader and kept him for the night to make sure he wasn't going to belly up. If he did, I would fillet him out. He was fine in the morning, so I sent him on his way after getting a few pictures.

    The rest of the night, the air was calm and the lake was flat. When everyone turned in, I moved the lanterns close to my cot so I could watch the lines and the bats.

    Eventually, the propane tanks waned, the lanterns dimmed, and all was quiet. I didn't swap out the tanks, because the moon had risen and I could see almost as well as in the daytime. I waited some more, and when it was very late, the coyotes came out to play. They carried on for at least an hour, and I was lulled to sleep by the yoddle dogs.

    One of the poles I had out was my baitcaster set up, the one with the 35 lb. Spiderwire and the drag set fairly tight. I had cast it out on the edge of the sandbar for the crossover between the shallow bar and the deep hole next to it. Sometime in the night I heard the clicker.


    Mike said, "Your pole is going off".

    "I know", I said.

    "ZZZZZzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttttt" again. Then nothing.

    I jumped up to check the line, and was disappointed to feel no weight at the end. The line had broken off. I can't imagine the monster fish it would take to spin the heavy set drag like that and break the Spiderwire.

    Actually, I CAN imagine it… and cross my fingers for the next trip.

    Next time.

    Attached Files:

  2. royerj1

    royerj1 New Member

    Tempe AZ
    Great report, sounds like fun except for the wind deal.

  3. micah

    micah New Member

    Gilbert, Arizon
    So your the knot man.

    You have no idea how funny that is. I was fishing that island for bait yesterday and offshore about 25 ft. I see a black rope going down to what looked like some homemade fish habitat. After fishing for bait curiosity got the best of me and we got in the boat and started to pull that thing up. After getting it up I realized what it was and decided I was going to try to pull it up and take it to the dumpster. I soon realized that it was too big so I decided the only thing worth salvaging was the tent stakes, the couple of black ropes and that damn White Fish Stringer with the ring on the end of it. The whole time I was untying that thing I kept telling my nephew " if this guy would have staked his shade down as well as he tied this knot it would have never blown away." Anyway's, I'd tell you you could have it back but I worked to hard for it......

    I fish that spot quite a bit. It's perfect, I pull my boat up and set my recliner lawn chair up with my nephew and we set poles up on each side. I was fishing off the opposite side of the reaf in April with a Penn 500 Saltwater Reel using 150# braided in the rod holder on the back of my boat. I forgot to set my clicker and and about 10 min after I set it up I look up, my tip is buried in the water and whatever it was was strippin my drag for about 3 or 4 seconds. I got to it about a second too late.

    I had dreams about that bad boy for weeks.