This was the year I decided I was going to do everything I could to FINALLY catch my first striped bass while fishing from the Surf. A little backstory… I’ve never been much of a saltwater fisherman, in fact I’m completely lost for the most part. I grew up in Northern New Jersey, away from the shore, but near a whole lot of lakes and ponds. Every year on vacation when we go to the beach, at night the boys slink away and hit the bays and bridges, and while all we usually hook into is maybe a few big dogfish each, for the most part, we’re not catching much. Finally this year my brother-in-law caught his first Striper. It wasn’t a keeper, but we were super-pumped! WHATCHA GOT BRO?!?!?! Shy of a keeper, but for a freshwater guy, this was a pretty big fish and the smile on his face was priceless. I wanted that feeling. A dream finally realized, that night I set a goal to catch a Striper in the fall run.
I setup my rod, and spent countless hours reading, You Tubing, Googling. Every spare minute was devoted to learning about surf fishing and reading the beach. I bought new gear, and waders and when the first reports came in I hit the beach hard every week. For weeks I went down and finally in December, one morning around sunset, BAM! As I’m working an SP Minnow from the beach, without warning my rod slams. The inside of my brain was FREAKING OUT. This was it, keep that rod up, and keep the butt planted against your leg, REEL AS FAST AS YOU CAN!!!
It didn’t feel big, and I wasn’t sure what it was yet, but I’d be DAMNED if I was going to lose it. As I pulled this fish from the surf, I saw it definitely wasn’t a keeper, only around 24”. All this time, all this work, the miles I’d walked and driven, money, it was still all worth it.
The size to me didn’t matter, it was my first Striper, and one I won’t forget. After a few really quick pictures, it was released back in the surf. This year I’m focused on a legal sized Striper, a BIG Blue, and some big Fluke for my saltwater goals. I’ll let you know how it turns out!