Friday, October 6, 2023 – The day was ripe with promise, thanks to intel from my compadres, Frank and Brian. It was a day tailor-made for the relentless pursuit of quality Stripers. Frank had ventured into the wild waters of the Forebay Blitzes, just like I had on that fateful Monday before, and emerged victorious by high noon. Brian, on the other hand, had waged war on the aquatic denizens of the Lake, casting his lines into the Bay of Pigs and claiming his own victory in the afternoon sun. A double-header of piscatorial mayhem beckoned, and Vaughn and Larry were game for the ride.
As the clock struck nine, the three of us descended upon the 152 channel, seeking the mother lode of blitzes. But unlike the prior two days, the shallows were devoid of any frenzied aquatic acrobatics. I managed to wrangle half a dozen fish during the blitz but found myself empty-handed in the deeper abyss. Then, out of nowhere, two characters in a 14-foot aluminum Pram barged onto the scene, casting their lines over Vaughn’s with a complete disregard for angling etiquette. Tempers flared, and Vaughn took it upon himself to snip one of their offending lures that had tangled with his fly line. It was a spectacle from my vantage point, and I, armed with a bat, was ready to jump into the fray. But Vaughn, in a display of diplomatic finesse, advised the two “buttheads” to kindly “F off.” They skulked away, having put a damper on the school’s spirits. I tried to blockade their path between us, but they nearly scraped the paint off my boat, crowbarring their way through our skirmish.
Around noon, the blitz subsided, and Vaughn and I decided to shift our battleground to the main lake, having secured a decent haul of fish. Larry, however, suffered the misfortune of breaking his 5-weight rod on one of the larger stripers. The school was teeming with 5- to 8-pounders but mysteriously vanished come high noon.
I made a beeline for the lake racks, hoping for some action. There, I encountered a boatload of jig aficionados anchored within the racks, zealously pounding them with deep vertical jigs. I counted 5 people including kids and grandparents – 10 fish tonight! The live scope revealed massive schools of American shad swirling near the causeway end. I stripped the fly at 25 feet, and while a couple of strippers did oblige, the action was sluggish, and the catch modest. I needed a couple bigger stripers to grace my visiting mother’s dinner table, and these little fellas just wouldn’t cut it. Vaughn arrived just in time, and I suggested we make our way to the Bay of Pigs, where Brian had found fortune the day before.
We got up close and personal on both sides, combing the shallows for any sign of piscine life, but it seemed like only the small fry were willing to play. Vaughn eventually set course for Guardrail, while I stuck to the dam, honing in on a steady catch. The fish were taking to short strips with the fly resting on the bottom, beneath a thick green carpet of algae hugging the shoreline. I sent Vaughn a text, and he made his way back, hooking into a colossal striper that tested the limits of his trusty 7-weight Method rod.
Autopsies of the dinner volunteers yielded some interesting intestinal contents. The big Blitz striper. had hlaf a dozen 3 inch threadfin shad in it. i was able to confirm that I had the right flies for the occasion. The big Lake striper had a 6 inch Bluegill in it. I was surprised he hit my fly after being so full. The hit was fierce too. As I paused the fly on the bottom, the line took off horizontally in the water for a foot before I set. He hit it on a full out run.
By 3:30, I had two willing volunteers for dinner, and I bid farewell to the waters, leaving Vaughn and Larry to continue their piscine battle until 5:00. It was evident that we had emerged victorious in this double-header showdown, asserting our piscatorial dominance with the swagger of true fishing savages.