Fishing the Fifty
My Quest to Fish All 50 States
I headed to the land of Bruce Springsteen for one of my favorite types of fishing: saltwater striped bass on light tackle. Although I have never seen the eponymous show, I had heard enough about the Jersey Shore to expect to see fist pumping as soon as I arrived at my motel. Much to my surprise, Point Pleasant Beach is exactly that, with many families and uncrowded beaches. This was very much appreciated because I was only there for one night and, like seemingly all of my fishing trips, I had to be up at 3:30 the next morning for fishing.
Terry Sullivan (flatsrat.com) is a master at catching monster stripers, as clearly shown by the pictures on his site. We arrived at one of his many spots just as the sun peaked over the horizon. Within 15 minutes, I caught a gorgeous 43-inch, 30-pound trophy striper to make New Jersey my 47th state. This fish exceeded the 42-inch minimum for New Jersey’s Skillful Angler Award for caught and released striped bass. Shortly thereafter, I caught my second trophy of the day, a beautiful 46.75-inch, 34-pound striper. This is my largest striper by length. These trophies also meant that New Jersey was the ninth state in a row in which I caught a trophy fish. (Texas, California, Illinois, Wisconsin, Arizona, Arkansas, Kentucky, and Ohio were the preceding eight, and that does not include my trophy Oklahoma fish on my Arkansas trip.)
The bite slowed after that but two trophy stripers on light tackle made for an excellent morning of fishing and gave me plenty of good memories to replay as I sat in summer gridlock traffic on 95 South for the rest of the afternoon.
Welcome to New Jersey
Sunrise over the Atlantic
My second New Jersey fish, an enormous 46.75-inch, 34-pound trophy striper, my longest striper ever
Beautiful and surprisingly uncrowded Point Pleasant Beach
My first New Jersey fish, a gorgeous 43-inch, 30-pound trophy striper
A dolphin racing us back to the marina