More plugs, jigs, squids and eels are hurled into the sea for striped bass than for all other fish of the surf. Most of this is done in summertime under a tanning sun. But the really good striper fishing comes in the East after summer vacations are over and reaches a peak in November. It is then that the pros walk the deserted beaches in bitter weather, casting the night tides for reasons beyond the ken of most casual summer folk, lured by the soaring waves and the big fish feeding in them.
Fishing in the dark is a truly emotional experience. In the cold, black loneliness the fisherman enters an intensely personal world in which he uses senses fully developed only by the blind. He listens with agonizing care over the sound of the surf for the tail-slap of a feeding bass. The powerful sea currents tug at his line and tell him what his eyes cannot see of the area he fishes. His numbed fingers are miraculously alive to the nuances of the retrieve. The discomfort of November in nighttime is kept at bay by an imagination fired with the knowledge that this is the great foregathering time of stripers before they move south. And so the bulletlike casts continue with the methodical precision of a long-mastered craft. Short casts, long casts, traversing casts—the next one will surely do it.