Mercury Outboards


Feature Article: Striper Derby Shorty

Winners buck the trend at 2017 Striper Derby

BY BLAKE WARREN/WON Staff WriterPublished: May 18, 2017

With most teams opting for bait approach, new blood trolls to top of field

LAKE HAVASU CITY, Ariz. — Part of it is the time of year, part of it is the sheer nature of the event. But for plenty of understandable reasons, many Striper Derby teams employ the “chum, bait and wait” approach at the annual Lake Havasu event — and often, it does the trick just fine. However, this past weekend was witness to the oft-overlooked notion that sometimes opting to steer away from the herd in order to pave your own road sometimes proves to be as rewarding as it gets, as was the case for Kenny Baldwin of Redlands, who was fishing his fourth event, along with first-time Striper Derby participant and teammate, Derek Quinonez of Perris.

winningtheklamathWINNING THE KLAMATH/SUZUKI boat and motor package in the Striper Derby grand prize raffle was Eva Halim of Los Angeles (pictured with partner Rory Hudson-Gilpin). Halim had quite the big day, also winning the Anglers United 50/50 raffle for some extra cash.

The duo from the Imperial Empire mettled up and stuck to their guns, avoiding going the bait route and trolling various lures over the course of the two-day Derby to put together the only total weight breaking the 70-pound mark at 73.14 pounds. While the team understandably didn’t give up all the winning secrets to their success, they did offer a bit of insight to their road to victory.

“We used nothing but lures,” said Baldwin. “All trolling — anywhere from up on the surface down to maybe 40 feet. We probably had over 50 fish Saturday, and probably over 35 today,” Baldwin added after Sunday’s award ceremony. Quinonez added that they arrived in Havasu earlier in the week and pre-fished the lake starting on Tuesday, obviously finding a few “winning” spots to hit during that time before the Derby got underway with the weekend.

It was the year of the “cookie cutter” striped bass by all accounts — and the stat sheets backed that up. Tons of 2- to 3½-pound linesides made their way to the scales this year, but finding a 5 pounder or bigger proved quite the challenge for most Derby folks. Just for context, the winning team’s biggest jailbird fell just short of 6 pounds at 5.97.

trollingwastheticketTROLLING WAS THE ticket for Kenny Baldwin and Derek Quinonez, who topped the Striper Derby field with a 73.14-pound two-day total weight of linesides. Included in the winners’ prize bounty was an Alaskan fishing trip for two with Frontier Charters, high-end Engel coolers, Costa sunglasses, Lew’s rods and reels, Plano tackle solutions and much more.

One family line that doesn’t seem hard pressed to find a big striper or two at the annual event is the Williams’ clan. After Bryan Williams arrived at the docks on Day One of last year’s tourney with the biggest striper to ever hit the scale in 34 years of Striper Derby (36.15 pounds), it was brother Scott’s turn for the glory in 2017, bringing in a 15.44-pound fish on Day One that easily whooped the field in the big fish category, being the only double-digit jailbird to be checked in over the course of two days’ fishing. Williams went home with a much fatter wallet at the conclusion of Sunday’s awards ceremony, cashing in the Big Fish Options in both the general and High Roller divisions for a total of nearly $2,000 for his 15-plus pounder.

Cracking the top-5 big fish overall required at least an 8 pounder, while it took 60 pounds of fish over two days to crack the top 10 in team standings. Consistency proved vital in 2017, as each and every of the top five teams on the leaderboard managed at least a 30-pound limit for each day of the Derby.

As usual, plenty of Striper Derby anglers went home with a good deal of swag, starting most prominently with this year’s Grand Raffle Prize winner, Eva Halim of Los Angeles, who scored the Grand Daddy of them all in a Klamath 16-footer with a Suzuki 40hp strapped to its transom. Among the other top team and raffle prizes were Costa sunglasses, Lew’s rods and reels, Engel coolers, Plano Tackle solutions and more.

All in all, it was yet another blast at Striper Derby, chock full of fun fishing in the Havasu sun, plenty of good-natured ribbing and joking banter and lots of laughs and good times had by all. At Sunday’s awards, Tournament Director Billy Egan pledged to bring a few new ideas to the table and enlisted the help of the Derby crowd to make next year’s Striper Derby even bigger and better.

Catch the full story and total coverage of the annual Lake Havasu event in next week’s issue of WON.

THE WILLIAMS’ BROTHERS did it again at Striper Derby 2017, only this year it was Scott who scored the biggest lineside of this year’s event, a 15.44 pounder on Day One that trounced the competition in Big Fish Option pools.

Buy a WON Tshirt
The Longfin Tackle Shop