Striped Bass at Nubble light, Dana Benner

A Fish Tale: Striped Bass at Nubble Light

It was a foggy morning as I made my way down Route 1A in York. I was heading to Nubble Light to meet up with my good friend Jack Hanley to do some striper fishing. As I made my way along the coast I was surprised at the number of people out and about at this time of the morning. The tide was coming in (tide charts said about 4:30am) and the waves were rolling up upon the beach as I drove by. Joggers of all ages made full use of the cool morning and deserted sidewalks to get their runs in.

When I pulled into the parking area at Nubble Light I saw that Jack was already there, as well as a handful of tourists eager to see the sunrise over the cove or maybe a couple of anglers fall in. Either way, they would be in for a show. Nubble Light must be one of the most photographed landmarks in this part of New England if the number of camera flashes going off is any indicator.

Amid the photographers, Jack and I prepared our gear. With everything ready we made our way gingerly down the slippery rocks, made even more precarious by the lack of light. It was a toss-up on whether or not the tourists were going to get a show. With the aid of the rotating beacon of Nubble Light, both Jack and I made it down without serious mishap. All I could picture were those tourists wagering on my chances of survival.

Striped Bass at Nubble Light, Dana BennerJack started casting the surface bait and as if on cue, a nice striper exploded on the bait, and missed. Jack twitched the bait again, and again the striper hit and missed. This happened a third time, but on the fourth the striper was on. As luck would have it, the tide was going out and we were losing water rapidly. What was the water line was now exposed rock. Jack battled this fish like he had done it before, it was almost poetic. He was able to work the fish into a gap between two rocks, but was unable to get to it. I scrambled down the slippery rocks and was able to grasp ahold of the fish, being ever cautious of the lure’s treble hooks. Handing the fish up to Jack, we got a quick photo and I then removed the lure and got a quick measurement. It was a very thick bodied fish (probably full of mackerel) and measured between 28 and 29 inches. After the measurement the fish was released back to the ocean.

It was now about 7:00AM. The mackerel had moved on and with them the predator fish. It had been a good morning, but it was time to head home. Route 1A through York was a flurry of activity; with crowds filling the beach despite the rain that was now falling.

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