First of all, I want to wish everyone a Happy Shark Week. It came a month early this year. What could be better than that?
Speaking of fish, I was able to get out for a rare fishing expedition a couple weeks ago while on vacation. Although I’ve always enjoyed fishing, it’s something I never do nearly as much as I’d like. I haven’t even bothered buying a Minnesota Fishing License in about three or four years because the last time I did, I only made it out two or three times.
So, needless to say, when me, my dad, my sister and two of my cousins’ husbands set out on Lake Cumberland in south-central Kentucky a couple weeks ago, it had been a while since I’d dropped a line.
I’m not sure how a true fisherman would classify this particular trip. We weren’t exactly out on our own. The five of us pooled our money to hire a guide who took us out on the 65,000-acre lake. He picked us up at the boat landing near my aunt and uncle’s house at 5:30 a.m. (a time that is practically cruel for a night-owl such as myself) and took us out to a prime spot.
This particular guide service specializes in fishing for striped bass (hence the name, “Striper Time”). This was the third time I’ve been out with the service and, while we’ve always had luck, this year’s trip was without question the most fruitful.
We reached our spot at about 6 a.m. and our guide, Mark, proceeded to drop a total of 11 lines in the water. Within about five minutes of him doing so, we had a bite. As the one sitting nearest to the hit, I quickly grabbed the rod and began to reel. After a tough battle between man and aquatic beast, I had the fish close enough to the boat for our guide to scoop him up in the net.
He took out the hook and plopped the fish down on a long ruler to find it measured about 24 inches, just big enough to keep. (The minimum is 22.) I’d barely caught my breath from the first one (seriously, it’s more of a workout than you think. Even the ones that aren’t big enough to keep can really fight!) when another line near me dropped. I grabbed it and managed to wrangle a 26-incher. Less than a half-hour in and I already had two keepers. I couldn’t complain about those odds.
The limit on stripers is two per person. Despite it being the largest group I’d ever gone out with, by about 11 a.m. we had our limit (10). That didn’t even include the catfish my cousin’s husband, Anwar, brought in.
With 11 keepers in tow, we headed back to the boat landing. There our guide cleaned and fileted all of them, packaged them up nice in Ziploc bags and sent us on our way. The next night, all 15 us (including four young kids) enjoyed a big fish fry during which we only cooked roughly half of our catch.
The Great Striper Hunt of 2015 was a success.