On the night of August 21, 2015 I headed out with my good friend Chuck Fritz in search of big stripers from our kayaks. The night before I set my new personal best with a nice 39" fish. When I arrived at the launch it was daylight and there were tons of birds on the surface on the other side of the bay we were planning to fish. Where there are birds there is bait, and where there is bait there is usually stripers. Chuck was running late due to a thunderstorm that was headed my way, so I quickly unloaded my Predator XL Minn Kota and headed across the bay. I arrived at the fish and was able to land a few nice schoolies before I noticed the storm approaching. Safety is most important so I headed back to the launch to wait out the storm in my truck.
By the time the storm passed Chuck had arrived, so we unloaded his gear and headed out fishing. The fish were no longer on the surface, and the sun was setting, so I switched to eels and began slow-trolling. I picked up a 28" fish right away, but nothing after that for quite a while. I decided that I would troll my way across the bay and begin trolling just up from where I caught the 39" striper the night before. I trolled a good 1/2 mile of shore line without a touch. As I reached the area where I caught the 39" fish the night before I hooked up with a nice 30" fish in 5' of water. I didn't want to stay out too late, but I couldn't leave without giving that spot one more pass. This time I hooked on my biggest live eel and decided to give a more natural and slow presentation by drifting with the current rather than trolling.
I felt a couple of bumps, but they turned out to be false alarms. My eel was doing what eels do and trying to hide on the bottom. I had no sooner resolved to the fact that there probably wouldn't be any giants this night when I got snagged, or so I thought. I gave my rod a yank to free it from the snag and when I did all hell broke loose. At first I thought my kayak was spinning in the current. I turned on my headlamp only to see that I hadn't spun at all. My line had shot out toward deeper water and line was peeling off my reel (the drag is silent.) The drag was as tight as I dared to have it, but I needed to slow the huge striper down and prevent it from heading into lobster trap buoy lines. I applied slight pressure to the spool with my thumb, which was just enough to stop the fish. I began fighting it back to my kayak.
As the fish got closer I saw a huge white flash. As soon as it saw my kayak it made another run back out into deeper water as if it wasn't even hooked. I was in awe at the power of the huge striped bass. The fight was on and I was in panic mode. I didn't want to lose such a huge fish. Some anglers, including me, fish their whole lives for a striped bass that size, and some never achieve it. I was able to turn the big striper a second time and get it back near my kayak. This time it gave me a good look at it before making a third run. It was a massive striped bass, the biggest I had ever had on. Its broad forked tail made my jaw drop and I had to talk myself down. I was panicking and it was only a matter of time before I did something silly like trying to grab a hold of the fish before it was ready to be grabbed. "Fight this fish the way you know you should," I told myself. I kept telling myself to, "Forget about the fish grip until the fish is ready," Yup, I was talking to myself.
The fish made a total of five long hard runs. Then as if to say, "I'm ready, you've earned it" the huge striper came up beside my kayak and I was able to get my fish grip on it. I let out a yell. I had just landed what would not only turn out to be my biggest striped bass from a kayak, but my biggest striped bass ever. It measured 46" long and had a 25" girth. It weighed 33.2 pounds. I called Chuck and had him help take photos. I was able to keep the fish in the water until we were ready, take photos, and revive the fish for several minutes. The massive beast swam away with its dorsal fin raised and looking healthy.The size qualifies it for an In-Fisherman Master Angler Award and a New Hampshire Trophy Fish Patch.