I connected with Rick Phillips from Arizona Sport Fishing on Instagram, and he jumped at my offer to share a trip with him, so I could profile his outfit. The “hot” season for stripers seemed to take a little longer than usual this year to reach peak, but finally we were able to get out in late September.
Rick had an opening with some other fishermen but they cancelled and it looked like it might just be he and I. Luckily he added four late in the week – a father/daughter combo, and a boyfriend/girlfriend combo. It ended up being a great group to fish with.
Right out of the gate, I could tell Rick was a pro. His pre-trip instructions were clear, and he had a good process set up to meet his guests and get them down to the dock. His boat was in great shape and ran well. Rods and tackle were all in excellent shape. Everything tuned up well, clean, rigged and ready to go.
What I really enjoyed was Rick’s thorough briefing of vessel rules and safety procedures. Some folks blow through that part, but it is important and Rick wasn’t just going through the motions. He also had some great ways of making the lady anglers on the boat comfortable as well.
We got to “the spot” and Rick quickly got us in our assigned spots on the boat, gave us some tips and direction; soon we had lines in the water. We weren’t there 10 minutes when I had a fish on, and it was a good fish. We boated it and even without weighing it, I could tell it was my personal best striper. Later we got it on the scale and it weighed out at 9 pounds even.
The fishing that night was a tad slow, but fairly steady, and the fish were mostly really good fish. I would say that overall, a much heavier average than usual. We picked a good night. Rick is a great guide. He has an affable and attentive manner. He helped new and experienced anglers alike with a gentle way, but in a way that you learned. Having fished for stripers on Lake Pleasant for years, I still came away with some new tidbits of knowledge tucked away in my brain. All told we boated 14 fish that night, with everyone catching fish.
The trip went was scheduled from 6-11 and Rick kept us on track, but not in a hurried way. We stopped fishing shortly after 11, and headed back to the dock. Rick has definitely done this a time or two, organizing pictures and poses and making sure everyone had lots of photos.
On the boat, Rick was constantly checking on us, checking our bait and tending to tackle. When someone hooked up he manned the net and for the less-experienced anglers, coached them on fighting the fish and getting it to the net. As a bonus, he played some really good tunes all night too. Not obnoxiously loud so as to bug other boats, but loud enough for us, and a great mix of genres. All in all – well done!
If you are thinking of booking a trip for stripers on Lake Pleasant, I would highly recommend Arizona Sport Fishing. Rick runs a class operation, and it’s a pretty good bet that you will put some fish in the boat. You can learn more here: Fishing Trips.