How many striped bass of 60 pounds or more have you heard about? How about 70 pounds? Read the passion, dedication and plain luck to be at the right place and time. You can't plan on catching one of these giants but you can read why planning was important. Fishermen wrote these stories, about their feelings, the problems, the 'what if ', the biggest one lost, 200 pounds of bass and........ You will wish you were there!
These are precious stories because you can't find many of these fishermen and women. Some have passed on, many have moved, others are just lost in the big cities or elsewhere. With so few big bass anglers found and so few big bass caught, it is truly a rare event to have the true stories from the fishermen who caught these giants. These are the best striper anglers from boat, surf or jetty; it was their livelihood. All of them and all others in 60+ pound class are listed in the book.
Some of them have disclosed the secrets they used to catch their record striped bass. It took decades of experience to find these gems. Use them yourself.
T.C. Associates, Box 351, West Point, PA. 19486
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Read an Excerpt
The Striped Bass 60++ Pound Club
By Tony Checko
iUniverse, Inc.Copyright © 2010 Tony Checko
All right reserved.
Chapter OneAgain, Who Are They?
In the book " The Striped Bass 60+ Pound Club" you read various stories of men and women who caught 60+ pound striped bass and most of these were introduced with a short bio about the anglers. I tried to categorize these men and women but I could determine only that it was their spirit that drove them to accomplish the feat of seeking, hooking and landing the big prize. Their varied backgrounds had little to do with success. They, as you may recall, were policemen, engineers, lawyers, chemists, housewives etc. You would never pick them out of a crowd as successful members of the "Striped Bass 60+ Pound Club." I had the opportunity to meet many of them face to face in their homes, office or café and try to understand what made them strive to catch the rarest of Striped Bass- the 60+ pounder.
How can one uncover the soul of these men and women? You can't. Try to paint a verbal picture, a picture of them in their realm, with rod and reel, scanning the horizon for diving birds, searching for deeper waters along the shoreline, spotting the tell-tale clods of pods of bait fish cruising along the sandbar, spying the angry, swirling rip off the jetty, squinting at the foggy horizon to find other fishing seafarers, trudging along the sandy shore seeking some evidence of previous scars in the sand of other surf jockeys who were itching for a battle with their favorite foe. Only by their actions you could identify them, words being only a forecast of their intentions.
All fishermen are optimists. If the world will ever get better, perhaps we ought to pray for fishermen to lead the world out of its problems. As he strolls the beaches or gunnels of his boat, the eyes, mind and spirit seek the gifts the water will offer. Hopefully he or she is at the prescribed place and time to be the recipient of these gifts. Not seeking to maim or destroy but to humbly accept the gifts as offered. No wars, no threats, no hatred; just seeking the same peace as the gentle waves lap softly along the seashore. The sound of peace is also found in the hiss of receding waves as they hurriedly flee from the shoreline and fade to a mere whisper.
There are generally two kinds of fishermen, not including the spear-gun guys, commercial and recreational i.e.; fish for a living, fish for sport. The commercial fishermen's aim is to support their families with goods and services commonly found in the community they reside in. It's not a 9 to 5 job but an occupation most likely ingrained in the family heritage. Can a fisherman or woman be born, probably not but in the family environment; if a net can snag a fish, then a family tradition can direct an off -spring towards a deck.
You will probably find the most successful striped bass fishermen to be on the commercial side of the pier. It's their livelihood. They know the haunts of the bass, day and night. They know their appetite from season to season. They know not to give their secrets away that were accumulated by sweat and tears. Some have lost their lives and their secrets are still secrets.
Recreational anglers seem to fall into two separate but related groups: those with nearly uncontrolled passions that require continuous fishing activities and those who seek spiritually motivated ideals. The former needs a never- ending adrenalin rush, like a cup of caffeinated coffee each morning or a puff of a cigarette. It's like taking a drug with a never- ending supply. It's a passion like no other that continually waits for that twinge of the rod that produces an injection of euphoria. A wonderful feeling, needed and necessary. The more the merrier, the more the intoxication. Better than residing at the local tavern, better than talking about the one that got away, better than trying to solve the world problems while strolling the beaches of the world or bobbing the boat in the bay or in the basin.
The surfcaster has his lightweight full waders, salt stained plug bag strung over his shoulder, half gloves with exposed fingers gripping his 11 foot Lamiglas rod married to a 750SS Penn reel loaded with 350 yards of 20 pound braided line. Jiggling from the rod tip is his yellow 2 1/2 oz. weighted Bomber tied directly to a 50-pound fluorocarbon leader. The well-worn wide brim cap is tucked low on his forehead due to the early October 25 knot winds. The 10-foot waves dance over the sandbar looking like angry and sweaty 7-foot tall basketball players ready to slam-dunk and scatter both imbedded clams and frighten mullet.
He is alone as he plods through the soft sand looking ahead and glancing left towards the potential action just inside the sandbar. He is an optimist. He must be. Who else would meander the sandy shores like Race Point, MA. Montauk Point, N.Y., Sandy Hook, N.J., Outer Banks, N.C., and the likes or speed full throttle with his 26 foot Boston Whaler towards the screaming birds 1/2 mile south and just off the sand-filled groin. The storm with its onshore winds push the mullet pod towards the shoreline favoring the surf jockeys but threatening the Whaler. The captain gauges the length and strength of the stormed-tossed waves vs. the bass swirling around the scattered seaweed laden rocks. It's Risk and Reward time.
Golfers need company in order to enjoy the laughs produced by their hooks and slices. The pain and punishment of a solo duffer wailing his clubs at that little white ball is too much if it dives left or slices right. But in a group it can be the spark that ignites great laughter shared by the golfer and his companions. The warm sun of mid-spring or mid-summer warms the body, mind and spirit. Come fall and winter the golfer may bag his clubs and retire to the Lazy Boy sofa while the bass angler loads his lure bag with the tools for the late fall and early winter season.
The off-shore boater, an optimist, checks the fall tide charts and long- range weather forecasts looking for that Nor'easter which will test his boating and fishing skills. The tavern captains have docked their boats and now mull over the catch of the summer season, while the bass optimist checks the fall hours of the bait boats in the bay. Checking and rechecking the compass headings of the navigation buoys to and from the inlet is essential to lead him home after a midnight striper search. He too may be a solo adventurer just like the surf jockey both betting their skill and knowledge against the unpredictable striped bass.
There is another side to the commercial activity, the "comrecreational" angler. He fishes for dollars while being basically a recreational fisherman with a commercial interest. He purchases a commercial license at the appropriate time, uses it and then after the quota is met reverts to recreational fishing. In some states they are also permitted to sell their recreational catch to license dealers. This was a popular way to pay for your weekend fishing trip back in the 1950s and continues today. Some things never change.
When anglers wear different fishing hats at different times, they walk among similar comrades. These are unique anglers-part commercial, part recreational. They aren't much different from the weekend fishermen who close the office door on the weekend and head to the beach or to the dock. The competitive business activities are left at home but the competitive fishing juices slowly rise as they approach the saltwater environment. Weekend bragging rights may arise among close friends but it is subdued quickly as the office door opens on Monday morning.
The multi-hat anglers have a rating among their peers. There are no votes taken, no badges worn, no reserved seats at the local café but their accomplishments are like an unexplained presence that surrounds them no matter where they go. A handshake, a nod of the head, a tip of the hat are exchanged between these fishermen of similar accomplishments. Silent they may be yet their actions speak loudly as demonstrated by the honors they receive from social, fraternal and fishing associations.
Their crafts are deployed among the rocks and in the dense fog at midnight of a new moon. If you look for them, they can't be found, can't be seen, can't be heard, less the low throbbing sound of a trolling motor or the lapping waters against the bow of a drifting 20'craft. By the early AM, they are gone. Work finished, they are at the fish warehouse with the catch. The catch hangs from the certified scales. Dollars for fish are merely the visible rewards of their labor. A successful night's fishing trip, like an unexplained presence, is spread throughout the docks and the seafood warehouse. A nod of the head, a handshake, a tip of the cap confirms the " man knows how to fish." It will be repeated in the early AM hours tomorrow, then another nod of the head, handshake and tip of the cap. He did it again. His presence grows bigger and follows the fisherman wherever he goes.
These are the best bass fishermen with the most accomplishments of the 2-3 million striped bass anglers along the coastal states. Tip your cap and nod your head if you are lucky to know one of them. A 60+ pound bass is a rare catch and so is finding one of these 'big bass' fishermen.
Optimists they are. Their part of the world may try them during the daily 9 to 5 routine but their inner spirit may lift the whole world to a higher level. Optimists they must be. Within the clan, they never met another optimist they didn't like — especially a striped bass angler. They are all optimists.
Unfortunately there are only a couple of million of them searching for the striped bass along the East Coast from Maine to North Carolina. These sportsmen and women support the numerous bait and tackle shops, boating facilities, fishing clubs and the rules governing "the catching of the striped bass." Sportsmen seek to have the states and Federal Government designate the striped bass as a game fish. Around 40% of the bass served as table fare in restaurants are caught wild by commercial fishing vessels or sold by anglers from their catch. Probably more bass may have been killed as by-catch than caught for eating fare by commercial ground fishing boats. Fish farms supply almost 60 % of the public need for this table fare. Is it a strong case to make the striped bass a game fish?
Essentially the striped bass is a game fish in name because it is illegal to catch striped bass in Federal waters or between 3 to 200 miles off the beach. The Feds consider the striped bass and the channel bass game fish per the Oct. 7, 2007 law signed by President Bush (see attached letter).
It is unlikely that the states would allow the Government to designate the striped bass a game fish because of its affect on the commercial fishing industry. Loss of control of one natural resource by the states, leads to other losses. License fees, quotas, law enforcement, management staffing, lends to political control. There is no guarantee that control by the Federal Government would be cost effective or the wisdom at the federal level would be more enlightening. One fact that would be true is that we will know where the problem will be debated and a solution negotiated. The bass may or may not get the best solution at the federal level because the more powerful states will influence the outcome. With competent commercial boaters and concerned recreational sportsmen working together, the best of both efforts might be better than have the Feds tell both what to do.
President Bush Signs Executive Or4der to Protect Striped Bass and Red Drum Fish Populati ... Page 1 of 4
THE WHITE H0117SE Home > News & Policies > October 2007 For Immediate Release Office of the Press Secretary October 20, 2007
President Bush Signs Executive Order to Protect Striped Bass and Red Drum Fish Populations
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum St. Michael's, Maryland M Executive Order: Protection of Striped Bass and Red Drum Fish
L9= Fact Sheet: Guarding Against Over-Fishing 'Through Cooperative Conservation 9 In Focus: Environment
10:12 A.M. EDT
THE PRESIDENT: Thank you all. Stuart, thanks for the introduction. Thanks for the invitation here to the Maritime Museum. It's a beautiful site you got here. I can see why people want to live in St. Michael's, and I do want to thank the good citizens of this community for coming out and greeting me and Laura. $y the way, Laura is not here - she's headed over to the Vice President's house. They've kindly invited us for lunch. I guess you could say she's the taster. (Laughter.)
The Vice President tells me there's a lot of fine fishing here, and I'm looking forward to going out and trying to catch some. I love to fish. And the good news there's a lot of good fishing here is because the Secret Service won't let me go hunting with him. (Laughter.)
I'm going to sign an executive order today to protect our striped bass and red drum fish populations, that's what I'm here to do. The executive order is part of our commitment to end over-fishing in America and to replenish our nation's fish stocks and to advance cooperative conservation and responsible stewardship. And this is a good place to come and sign the executive order. I thank you all for coming up and letting me say hello to you and witness this presidential act.
I want to thank the Secretary of the Interior, Dirk Kempthorne, for joining us today. He cares about our waters and our fish stocks just like I do. And I appreciate Carlos Gutierrez, he's the Secretary of Commerce, for joining us as well. He's in charge of NOAA, as is Conrad Lautenbacher — run NOAA - you've got a fancy title, Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere. That means he runs NOAA. (Laughter.) And I appreciate your concern about our waters, Conrad, and I want to thank you for your service to the country.
I appreciate Wayne Gilchrest, he's the congressman from this district. Mr. Congressman, fm honored you're here; thank for taking time, appreciate you welcoming us. I want to thank all the
President Bush Signs Executive Order to Protect Striped Bass and Red Drum Fish Populati ... Page 2 of 4
state and local folks who've joined us. Particularly I want to thank people who care about fishing, and thank you for being here. I want to thank the different groups represented here. I want to say one -; there's a fellow up here named Walter Fondren, he's a fellow Texan. He had a lot to do with making sure conservation efforts on the Texas Gulf Coast worked. He proved, as have others here, that if you get together with responsible officials you can help get these fishing stocks back to robust. We were losing our red fish in Texas, and he, along with other concerned citizens, came together and said let's do something about it. And as a result, red fishing is good again. But we want to make it as good as possible all throughout the country, because fishing is important to the country.
Listen, it's important to be a commercial fisherman; I understand that. But the commercial fishermen and the sport fishermen don't have to be antagonistic. It's not a zero-sum game. Good policy will help our commercial fishermen and good policy will help our sport fishermen. And that's what we're here to talk about. And it's important to recognize here in America that sport fishing is a important industry; a lot of people make a living because o sport fishing. I don't know if people know this, but millions of Americans are spending about $40 billion a year on sport fishing. I know in our state, a ter, ere's a lot of people, a lot of entrepreneurs making a good living -they're fishing guides. A lot of bait shops and small business owners are doing well as a result of good sport fishing policy.
And so we're here today to talk about sport fishing. As a matter of fact, fm fixing to go do some sport fishing. I can't guarantee I'm going to catch anything. I hope that frogman out there does his job. (Laughter.)
I want to talk about a little bit of the comprehensive strategy we've put in place. In 2004, our administration released an Ocean Action Plan, the whole purpose of which was to make the oceans and the Great Lakes and the coast cleaner and healthier and more productive. The plan is producing some positive results. On one of the results of the plan was the — the Marine National Monument in the northwestern Hawaiian Islands that I declared. The action created the largest single conservation area in the history of the nation. It is the largest protected marine area in the world. It is a visible sign that we care about conservation and good water policy.
Excerpted from The Striped Bass 60++ Pound Club by Tony Checko Copyright © 2010 by Tony Checko. Excerpted by permission of iUniverse, Inc.. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
4. Again, Who Are They?....................9
5. The 60+ Pound Striped Bass Club Registration....................19
6. The Battlegrounds....................28
7. Their Stories....................35
8. Tips from the "Story Tellers"....................163
9. A Southern Shift?....................167
10. Bass Vision Revisited What tools do they have? What tools do you have?....................172
11. Striped Bass Basics Inshore and Near-Shore....................179
12. Striped Bass Math and More....................187
13. Striped Bass Controversy and Problems and More....................190
14. Tools of the Trade....................204
15. Plugging Away....................229
17. Striped Bass-Length-Weight-Age....................243
18. IGFA rules and regulations....................245
Reference by Numbers:....................249
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