A couple weeks ago I posted that I had caught my first striper. That was thanks to a local guy named Dean Campbell taking me out and showing me some of how he fishes for them. That set off a chain reaction at home with She Who Must Be Obeyed reminding me that she has wanted a boat for 10 years, and I'm the one who would not buy one. She told me that she didn't care what it was, as long as it was a boat. So this is what it is:

A 19' Sea Pro bay boat. This will be used for local stripers, FL and Carolinas redfish, MN steelhead, and general purpose pleasure boating.

Yesterday was my first opportunity to take it out and fish. I was using the same setup Mr. Campbell recommended, in the same location.

30 minutes in I had a strike, and fought the fish for about 30 seconds before I executed a long-distance (50 foot) release. I motored back to the head of the cove and started drifting again. Halfway back up to the dam, I had a strike. As soon as the fish realized he was hooked, he went absolutely nuts. At one point I looked down and realized I had 3 turns of fly line left on the reel. No fish has ever taken line from me like that before. I didn't know what would give up first - me, the fish, my rod, or my tippet.

When I got the fish to the surface, I started cursing to high heaven - you see, I don't own a landing net yet. It was big. The only fish bigger than this that I've caught was a Lake Trout, and that was on a beach rod with heavy line and a huge landing net. Here I am with this fish and a fly rod, and I've got to lip the sucker. Got it in the boat, and snapped this picture:

The distance from my reel to the stripping guide is about 27 1/2". So I'm guessing that this fish was 23 or 24 inches, and probably somewhere in the 7 lb range. Not bad for a first fish. Expensive fish, but nice fish.