My relationship with stripers and squid has been an almost life long affair. I remember summer nights as a kid, jigging for squid under pier lights and trying to “stink ink” my fishing partners. As we lifted up the pale white specters that clung to our jigs, they transformed into erupting black fountains of slimy goo. Large dark forms with haunting eyes sometimes followed the hooked squid almost to the surface – stripers that submerged quickly when caught in the light.
Even our family get-togethers revolved around stripers and squid. Memories of crabmeat-stuffed bass and calamari in great overflowing bowls of pasta remain with me even now.
There were those times jigging for stripers in the bay with my dad and his buddies, all of us crowded into an ancient Chris-Craft rescued from a boneyard. We tipped our bucktails with a Jersey cocktail of mummichog and squid strips, each cut to perfect pennant shapes by my father. And there were memorable dark nights spent drifting squid rigs off the tips of bump jetties, crouched on wet rocks behind seaside mansions, hoping the low glow from our black-taped neck lights wouldn’t attract unwanted attention from the homeowners inside.