Monday, April 21, 2008

Trophy Striper

With heavy storms headed our way Captain Hank was hoping to catch a limit of fish and get off the bay before the weather turned bad. Season had just opened the previous day with many fishermen disappointed with their catch or rather lack thereof. Hank knew where a slug of migrating stripers were hanging out and cruised there before putting out the trolling lines. Although his sonar showed that we were over fish most of the morning the bite was sporadic. We were one fish short of a limit when the time came to pull lines and head for the marina. The best fish of the day was a nice fat 39” which put my 36”er in second place for the day.

Captain Hank is not your usual bay captain. If a customer just wants to catch fish Hank was glad to oblige and if your purpose was to learn to catch fish Hank would take the time to show you the tricks of the trade so that you could return on your own boat and fish successfully. Not only did he teach lure presentation and rigging but he would also pass along boat handling tips that made trolling many rods without nightmare tangles easy. At times, when I was unsuccessfully fishing; a short radio call or a jingle on the cell phone from Hank would direct me to where the fish were holding on that particular day. Of course the favor was returned if we happened to find fish on a day that Hank was struggling to fill his parties limit.

Some charter captains feel the fish are theirs and do not want the private boats to catch. Once I was nearly ran over by a charter out of Chesapeake Beach named “Why Knot” while I was working a small school of fish. When I mentioned this incident to Hank later he was quick to share his unprintable opinion of this particular captain. The first few years I chartered with Hank, my objective was to learn, but the later trips were to spend a pleasant day on the Chesapeake with a good man and a master fisherman.


Meggie said...

The striper is a beauty indeed. Your photo of the sunrise is also a beauty. Sorry to hear that Capt Hank is not well. I suppose at times like this you just have to be happy for the good memories.

Stacey Olson said...

People of character always stand out in our hearts and minds. It is so rare to find someone willing to teach with patients and share. Sounds like you found a good friend, mentor and fishing partner.
Great fish by the way, and there is nothing wrong with second place, I guess that is unless you are in first.LOL

Tom said...

These men are rare now Salty. most have $$ in their eyes.
Hanks sounds like a great guy and I'm sure he will be missed by many.. great fish BTW. Will it be eaten?

Coy Hill said...

Meggie & Stacey, thanks for the comments. Capt. Hank has character and is a character:)

Tom, Absolutely! Striper is some of the best tasting fish swimming.

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Salty: Your trip to Salt Water proved sucessful. It nice to catch the biggest but a nice catch by you just the same. It's nice that stripers are good fighters and fun is the main reason for fishing.

PA Brian in PP,FLA said...


DeeMom said...

Captain Hank sounds like the perfect teacher

Beautiful fish

Misty DawnS said...

My catch of a lifetime was a 37.25 inch, 21.4 pound Striper out of a local fresh water reservoir in Ohio. He's hanging on my wall right now :-)