A few weeks later, fishing on Harry Hindmarsh’s 16-foot skiff, we’re patrolling the sloughs and sandbars around Virginia’s Eastern Shore barrier islands. I’m stationed on the bow, searching for signs of fish, while Hindmarsh perches on the stern casting platform. Each of us holds a medium spinning rod rigged with a 6-inch swimming shad, in perfect sight-casting conditions.
As the ebbs, rips and boils form over the sandbars that pock the large bay, we putt over to investigate one of the rips that appears to be moving. At 50 yards, I make out a school of 30-pound stripers packed like sardines. From 25 yards, I cast a few feet ahead of the mob. Hindmarsh’s lure arcs over my head and splashes down on the other side of the school. Within seconds, we are both hooked up. At first, the fish fight to stay with the school, but eventually we get them turned and work them to the boat. We go into maniac mode. The school moves off, but we’re in pursuit with the trolling motor. In minutes we’re hooked up, and our 50-pound braid makes short work of a pair of 40-inchers. After a quick release, we return to the hunt. By now, more schools have appeared. While one of us fights a fish, the other gives chase and keeps an eye on the rest of the school. This isn’t fun fishing, this is sport fishing, and it’s game on!