On April 3, Vince Improto and I made our first trip to the head waters of the Chesapeake Bay. The Susquehanna River empties on the flats at Havre DeGrace.First stopping at Herb's Bait and Tackle Shop, we discussed running to Elk Neck State Parks - Turkey Point, or fishing the Havre DeGrace area. Herb and I agreed that past experience told us that the water temperatures were on the cool side (48-51 degrees). The concentration of bigger fish would be near the confluence to the bay.
Our choice of bait would be live and fresh herring. Stripers follow them into the flats, gorging themselves while performing their spawning ritual.
Note (March 1 - April 20 the flats are a designated catch and release only fishery).
As we were going to make a location move, my line started screaming from my rod. Closing the drive, taking the slack out and reeling at the same time, the circle hook did its job. My rod bowed with the vibration of a large fish, then an explosion of brute force - Oh Yeah! It was on a hook.
After a few tense moments, the fish surfaced. Its massive head jutting up like Jaws on the attack. I slid the huge fish's head towards the net in a perfectly timed lift. Vince grabbed the rails on the outside of the net. As the mighty fish threw its tail skyward and came right into the boat.
I stood in awe, just staring at the biggest striper both of us veteran anglers ever saw. Vince kept saying over and over, it's a world record. I didn't know about that, but it was definitely a very special fish.
Lining up the fish with a measuring scale on the side of the boat, then trying to grab her by the jaw to lift the fish for pictures, I couldn't budge it.
By sliding both arms under the monstrous fish, a couple of grunts got her up for some fast pictures, then releasing her to swim again. She took off like a torpedo, heading for parts unknown.
After a few hand shakes and congratulations, the fish of a lifetime would give another angler, maybe a youngster, the memories burned into my soul, and maybe even a world record.
I've been fishing my entire life and never witnessed a striper of such proportions. I'm sorry, but in the excitement, I forgot to measure the girth that would have given me an accurate estimate of its weight.
In my biased opinion, she could have hit the 60 pound range or higher. I've never seen a fish like that, but I'm ready for a retake tomorrow.