In this thrilling account, kayak fisherman Ken Roulier tells the story of how he ended up with the striper of his dreams lying across his lap! ~KB
I decided to head to the shores of central Connecticut for a dusk launch on June 23rd. There was a cool feel to the air with a steady breeze out of the north. While pedaling my Hobie Outback near some shoreline structure, I soon found a decent bite on the tube-and-worm with a handful of keepers to 35 inches. As darkness set in, I began working eels near the same productive shoreline structure and some structure a short distance offshore. I slowly trolled a fairly small eel between the 2 areas of structure, and after one short take early on I finally felt a steady, confident take.
Once connected the fish started ripping drag and towing the kayak at a fairly high speed… Then suddenly the mystery fish kicked into a brief spurt of turbo mode, peeling drag for several seconds like the reel was in freespool! After fighting for several exhilarating minutes, my doubled-over rod suddenly popped up and the line went completely slack. I assumed that the fish must’ve been a massive bluefish that severed the line. Disgruntled, I began to lower the rod to reel in the slack when suddenly the rod was yanked straight down, snapping the top foot or so of my G. Loomis Pro Blue clean off! The fish had clearly been on the whole time, and later on I surmised that she must’ve wrapped the line around a rock and eventually the line simply popped off, resulting in the momentary slack.
I proceeded to fight the fish with the broken rod, all the while realizing that she was clearly smarter than any other striper I had previously tangled with from the kayak. She repeatedly dove in multiple directions underneath the kayak, spinning me around several times, searching for some weakness that would set her free. She finally came to the surface and I was utterly amazed at her size. How in the heck I ever caught that fish with a broken rod and despite letting the line go completely slack, I’ll never fully wrap my head around.
I spent the next 20 – 25 minutes trying to revive her, losing my grip on her huge tail several times, forcing me to swing the kayak around to re-grab the tail. Finally, she shook loose my grip one more time, and this time she seemed to swim straight down.
As the ruler on my paddle only goes up to 49 inches, I estimated the additional length with the fish lying on the paddle, at about 1.5 inches over the 49 mark. I used a tape measure that I had stolen from my wife’s little used sewing kit earlier in the season to measure the girth at 29.5 inches. I then fished in a dazed and confused state for another hour without anymore takes. I was off the water about 11 pm, shocked, satisfied, confused, and humbled.