The moment came,
the striper was alongside. The investigator rose a little in his chair and
looked squarely into his eyes. The striper eyed him back with an unforgettable
look. There was no reproach in it. It seemed to say: "I have lived a long
time and I have won more battles than I have lost. Better this than the
The gaff took him
and he was boated. He weighed 47 pounds and surely was more than 20 years
Later, in the
cocktail lounge of Ruschmeyer's Lake View Inn, Captain Scholz and the fishermen
toasted the striper.
himself could not be brought home by train, and so it was decided that his
epitaph should be written on Ruschmeyer's menu: "Fresh-caught Montauk
Striped Bass. Choice of two vegetables." Better that than the sharks.
sipped his Scotch and soda. He looked up at a big striper mounted on the wall
of the cocktail lounge and then he said firmly:
"I love that
fish. And I'll tell you what he is. He's just a big, good-natured slob. He
doesn't bother anybody, he just goes his own way and tries to keep out of
trouble. He's no killer like the blue is. He's just a big, good-natured slob
and what we should do is hook him, bring him up to the boat, pet him and let
He pointed to the
attache case lying at the investigator's feet. It was a sorry-looking bag,
bulging with notes, wilted from the salt spray of the sea.
said Captain Scholz, "will be the conclusion of your
drained his glass of bouillon on the rocks, a mark of his new sophistication
and a concession to his still queasy state of health. He signaled for a
"Captain," he said evenly, "my conclusion will be that the striped
bass is not to be investigated at all. He is to be experienced. No man can tell
another what catching a striper is like."