By now, many of you have heard that a monster 51-inch striper was caught in Eastern Bay on Thursday, November 30, by Bradley Smith, his father Gary, and their friend Daniel. They were trolling with a spoon attached to an umbrella rig, and it took about 20 minutes to pull the huge striper all the way in. "We really thought we were hung up on the bottom at first," Bradley said. It was caught aboard the 29 foot Robbins, Miss Hattie. We FishTalkers give this crew our congratulations - heck, we haven't reeled up a striper that big in many, many years - but even more importantly we thank this crew because after a couple pictures and measurements, the fish was released back into the water, where it quickly and strongly swam away. That, dear anglers, was one heck of a classy move.

giant striped bass
Bradley and Daniel, with the mammoth fish.

Now, another fish over 50 inches has been reported. This one was caught jigging - yes, jigging - by Jeff Graybill, just yesterday, in the Middle Chesapeake Bay. Reports were that bunker were "jumping for their lives" with big swirls near-by, when the fish was caught. 

giant striped bass
The big bass are back in the Bay - really big bass!

For those of you who already took steps to winterize your boat, well, we told you not to! While the next two weeks (stripers remain in season through December 20 in Maryland and December 21 in Virginia) will probably be the toughest of the year to fish weather-wise, the potential is there for you to catch a once-in-a-lifetime fish. Right now. Yes, it'll be a lot tougher to find consistent action than it was a few weeks ago. Of course you'll be shivering between bites. Naturally, the chances of catching a skunk are better than the chances of catching a 50-plus-inch monster striper. But these fish are here, folks, there is now no doubt. Smith and Graybill have proven it. 

And remember, you can always re-fog that outboard again on the 21st.