Dear Striper Mike - from Matt
Hey how r u Striper Mike?
My name is matt I am a 16 year old Chicago native bass fisherman (largemouth that is). However once or twice a year I get to visit my relatives on Barnegat Light and fish the plentiful water around there. I am very excited to tell you I have caught a striper this past year and have plenty of reason to come back for more. (that story is coming up) I have found ways to catch many weakfish, and small snapper blues out in a bay/ inlet area across the inlet from the lighthouse but after a week of catching small weakfish blues and the occasional fluke I decided to try for stripers. Now you see the reason I was reluctant was because in the past I have tried to fish off the beach near jetties and such. The problem was I never had a big enough rod to fish with 3 or 4 ounces of lead before and I would use like 1 or at the max 2 and the current would just drag my line into the shore every time. This was very frustrating while many guys were catching schoolies and other fish I couldn't. Well after giving that up I found ways to catch the wekies and blues for a couple years and last year I read many articles on the rockfish and decided to try it on the best tides do the month. The tide would be high at about 9 o'clock and it would be a full moon on a warm mid July day. I started fishing off the south jetty behind the light house w/ eels w/ no luck so I switched to a Fin S fish jigs in gold and thought I had hooked a weakie or blue it hit near the surface and was coming in fairly easily. Sorry to say, I was expecting small fish and I was outfitted w/ a weakfish type rod of 6 and a half feet of medium freshwater action and a reel w/ 230 yards off 8 lb test. When this "small" fish I had hooked came to the surface suddenly I saw something that shocked me a long striped white fish rolled and kicked its tail on the top and started running out towards deep water. I mean it ran off nearly all the 230 yards of line I had on this reel. I also gained about 5 lbs of seaweed making it even more difficult to keep pressure on the fish. I walked down the jetty towards the light house scared off being spooled and continued walking for about 400 yards going over and under about 20 fisherman. After getting to the area where the jetty turns to rocks and a concrete walking path and nearly twenty minutes (it was about 7 45 now) I got the fish within 30 feet off the rocks it came up and sent the small crowd that began gathering to watch me in awe. Its head must have been more than 40 inches and a local told me he hadn't seen a striper that big since the fall run of 30 years ago. When I saw the size of the fish I nearly wet my pants but kept fighting this brute. it again went out towards deep water and heavy current and took about 150 yards of line w/ her. For the next 40 minutes I played tug of war on thread w/ this monster never getting it closer than 50 yards. at about 8 30 or so it started to get dark and the tide was coming in. My arms were tired and them crowd that had gathered numbered over 100 people mostly tourists. A kind man w/ a net had promised to help me if I got it close enough. I started gaining line and had the monster near to us in less than 5 minutes it seemed to tire out and I was ready for the 20 cameras surrounding me. It came to within 10 feet off the rocks and w/ a longer net the fish would have been mine. But however this monster was not done and it dove down to about 20 feet rubbing its face in the rocks I used side pressure and tried to pump up this giant. I was unsuccessful and it went to the bottom and something strange happened. It sat on the bottom for about 2 minutes and finally it gave way to my pressure coming up while shaking its head. It started taking out a lil line and tried to back down but I somehow muscled it w/ the rod bent over and the line stretching to its extreme. I got the fish to very near me about 5 feet under and all of the sudden it swam at me and dove to the bottom rubbing against the rocks. I tried as hard as I could on 8lb line but the fish was too strong and somehow it got off and I came up w/ an empty jig head and body. The sigh I heard from the crowd disappointed me but a joyous applause made the effort all seem worth it. I had fought a mighty striper and sadly undermanned w/ tackle lost. However this memory will live w/ me until I die I don't have a founder fishing story I can remember. I still see that fish break the surface with its giant head and mighty tail slap the water when I lay in bed at night. This year I am going back there in early July. I have done my homework: read every article I could get my hands on, bought a new bait caster w/ a Dacron type line with 20 lb strength and nearly 300 yards of line, a new spinning rod w/ major backbone and a reel with a smooth drag and 15 pound spider wire braid to ensure I land the big one next time.
Thank you for reading this I know its long but I have dying to share this with someone.