In Part One of
this inquiry into the character of the striped bass, the investigator followed
a trail extending from Chesapeake Bay in Maryland to Bar Harbor, Maine. He had
been surf casting and boat fishing, had interviewed Mr. L. L. Bean, proprietor
of the famous Maine hunting and fishing equipment store, and Associate Justice
William O. Douglas of the Supreme Court.
But he had seen
decided to invade an abiding place of truth, the halls of science. He changed
at Boston from Northeast Airlines to Mohawk and soon was sitting across the
desk from Dr. Edward C. Raney in Room 206D of Fernow Hall on the campus of
Cornell University at Ithaca. Dr. Raney, coordinator of all current striped
bass research for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, showed the investigator a
number of striped bass specimens in bottles, gave him a sheaf of scientific
papers for his attache case and expressed regret that he could not spare his
only copy of the classic study of the striper by Dr. Daniel Merriman of Yale
University. How, in unscientific terms, to explain the hypnotic charm of the
striper? Dr. Raney thought for a minute and then said:
"Men like to
catch big things, and the striper grows to be big and handsome and he can be
taken close to shore."
In his office at
the Bingham Oceanographic Laboratory, of which he is director, Dr. Daniel
Merriman of Yale University agreed to lend the investigator one of his two
remaining copies of his own Life History of the Striped Bass. He wrote this
paper as his graduate thesis after two years' intensive study of the striper in
and a beautiful fish," said Dr. Merriman, his eyes glowing with affection.
"A graceful, hardy and courageous fish. A nifty fish, indeed."
When it was
suggested that there had been some disparagement along the investigative trail
of the striper as a fighter, Dr. Merriman shook his head.
fished for them all and I say that the striper at from five to 10 pounds is as
tough as any game fish, pound for pound. He is not as spectacular as the salmon
or the bluefish or the trout, but he is a plugger and will make you work like
the very devil."
As for eating
filets of a five-to 10-pound striper are the tastiest eating I know of,"
said Dr. Merriman warmly. "Good heavens, my wife and I lived on them for
two years while I was writing my paper!"