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I chose Ben Garver ( for a day of hybrid striper fishing on Branched Oak Lake, northwest of Lincoln, Nebraska. As his website name implies, Ben’s specialty is walleye but his pictures portrayed a very versatile fisherman. I was eager to catch hybrid striper because I had heard good things about their fighting ability and because they are relatively uncommon in Virginia.

The weather was perfect, reaching 82 degrees without a cloud in the sky. However, the bite was very slow. Fortunately, I did catch a 24.5-inch hybrid that definitely lived up to its reputation as a fighter and that also earned me a Nebraska Master Angler Award. I noticed that the few other boats on the water were not catching anything, so I was very thankful to have a knowledgeable guide like Ben on a tough day of fishing. (This is a prime example of why not to put credence in feeding forecasts or the solunar calendar, both of which predicted a “Good” bite.)

It would not be a trip to Nebraska if I did not attend a Nebraska football game. Going to Redskins games back home means sharing the customary, heart-wrenching home-team loss with tens of thousands of fans from the other team. The Nebraska game, by contrast, was 87,000+ red shirts all cheering on the Cornhuskers. When the stadium is full, it is the third largest city in Nebraska. Lincoln itself is basically all red on game day. Seeing the Cornhuskers play (and win) was one of the best non-fishing times I have had on my state-fishing quest.

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