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THE STRIPED BASS: A DETECTIVE STORY
Gerald Holland
August 27, 1956
The investigator examined its nursery, searched its feeding grounds, cross-examined anglers and scientists. Where, he asked, is the striper?
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August 27, 1956

The Striped Bass: A Detective Story

The investigator examined its nursery, searched its feeding grounds, cross-examined anglers and scientists. Where, he asked, is the striper?

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"Here's something about the striper," said Coot. "The striper is a fish that eats to live. The bluefish, to take an example, lives to eat. When the striper is feeding, he's liable to hit at any kind of plug that resembles his diet at that time; when he's not feeding, he won't take anything."

"Excuse me, Coot," said the investigator nervously, "but something's grabbing at this line of mine."

Coot put down his own rod and moved over and started pulling in the investigator's line. In a moment, he held up the eelskin lure and pointed to the seaweed caught on it.

"I would have sworn I had a strike there," said the investigator.

"Brother," said Coot, "if the day ever comes when you do have a strike, there won't be any doubt in your mind."

Coot let the line out again and then went back to his artful, whiplike casting. After a while he put his rod in the rack and said:

"The conditions this evening have been ideal for striper fishing. The fact that we're not getting any forces me to conclude that either the bass are not feeding or the bass are not here at all. I guess you might as well reel in and we'll start home."

When the lines were in, Coot reached down and advanced the throttle a little bit.

"That brings to mind," he said, straightening up again, "another point to be considered about striper fishing. It's a democratic sport. You can spend as much as you want or almost as little as you want. A man can troll for bass from a $100,000 yacht if he wants. Or he can spend $75—or maybe half that if he's handy—on a surf casting outfit and fish his head off for practically nothing. A lot of workingmen save all year for two weeks of boat fishing here. They'll throw $5 a week into a kitty as you would in a Christmas club and for two weeks they're in seventh heaven.

"But you get all kinds of people. Policemen, bartenders, mechanics, big business men, celebrities. Perry Como was here with his son, Ronnie, last year and went out with Lloyd Bosworth and got some nice big stripers. A few years ago Mr. Fred Vinson, the Chief Justice of the United States, was here, fishing for stripers. I recall the cook we had at that time sticking his head out the window and yelling, 'Hey, Fred, grub's on the table.' The Chief Justice took that as a matter of course and he yelled back, 'I'm coming on the double.' "

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