THE STRIPED BASS
The taking of the striped bass is what the salt-water fisherman claims the right of terming the high-water mark of all angling. —VAN Dorne in The Fishes of the East Atlantic Coast.
IN all the world no stretch of coast
So teems with fish-life as our own;
From tepid tides of Florida
To where the northern shores are strown
With boulder grim and jagged rock,
A rampart to the billows' shock,
Where icy currents sweep the Banks
Or wash the shores of Labrador,
These finny myriads swarm the seas
And feed by every shore,
And noblest, bravest of the race
The striped bass holds foremost place.
'Tis perfect in its valorous strength
In the Sound's swiftly pouring tides,
In Hell Gate mill-race, or mid reefs
That hem Long Island's ocean side;
Off gray Montauk, Block Island bluffs,
By Martha's Vineyard's rocky shore,
Or where at Cuttyhunk, Pasque Isle,
The tumbling torrents roar.
There in great deeps of ocean floods
Where narrow, rock-strewn channels sweep,
The strip'd bass hold their paradise,
Unrivall'd roamers of the deep.
There the surf-fisher casts the bait,
There the scaled warrior meets his fate,
Where matchless skill and tackle fine
Conquer those heroes of the brine.
Strong be the line and firm the hand
To drag such champion to the strand.
Pois'd on the rock's extremest verge
The angler like a sentry shows,
Swings the lithe rod and whirls the bait
Seaward where frothy billow flows;
Then comes the strike—the splendid fish,
Full of the rush and dash of waves,
His muscles trained by many a shock
And battle in deep ocean-caves,
Makes fiercer fight while life remain
Than bravest ranger of the main.
McLellan, Isaac. Poems of the Rod and Gun. New York: Henry Thorpe, 1886.
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