Fishing Antique Striper
A Photo Essay On The Big
Photos by Jim Stuard
She will never see the sea, she's a river
fish. Born of a white bass father and a striped bass mother, the
hybrid sunshine bass comes into this world with both appetite and
attitude. Don't under estimate her because she lacks exposure to the salt.
J.S.Sharpe, of Aberdeen isn't just
surviving, it's positively thriving, although the brand has changed
ownership twice since its heyday in the fifties and sixties. The famous
Scottie impregnated rods were made for many years in Aberdeen, and gained
a fine world-wide reputation for quality and longevity. Look at how
that rod loads on the cast!
The rod has plenty of guts for the work.
Clearly those early pioneers weren't so outgunned as we might imagine from
our vantage point of space-age plastics and truck-stopping drag systems.
Of course those fellows chasing striper then were "real" men - the
rod/reel combination was well over a pound in the hand!
Tom Gribble shows a typical Ohio River wiper
fly. The common bait is the gizzard shad and flies need to imitate the
shape and size very closely to work in the clear water of the river.
An important strike trigger is the eye.
The McKinley Shad, Ohio's own tarpon, is
better known as the skipjack herring. They are a very sporting fish,
prone to multiple jumps.
Tom's a fellow who's respectful of any gamefish and he always has a smile
for the creature that found his fly. I don't blame him one bit for
the grin, that's a fine skippie he's got there!
Tobacco brown and lovingly appointed with
such novel ideas as a hammer-handle shaped grip, this early glass rod
demonstrated its continuing ability to address challenging water.
Seventy-foot casts weren't a problem with the big Phillipson and a
contemporary Orvis Striper Wonderline.
It's just like a striper to come up and
crash a baitfish right were the fly was!
One could be forgiven for thinking a big,
nickel-silver ferrule will deliver a dead-spot in the action. The
opposite is often true. The rod builders of the mid and later half of the
twentieth century knew how to get the most out of their materials.
Fishing the Big O is as close as I can come
to the Cape Cod Canal of my youth. If I close my eyes I can almost
smell the salt air and hear the gulls screaming. The farther I go,
the closer I get to home...