Last night I opened the 2010 Fall striper season at Sandy Hook with an evening surf casting session. I fished under relative darkness just a few days after the full moon. Tide was coming in, 3 foot consistent SouthEast swell, with West winds at 10-15 and in the luxury of ~60 degree air temps. I started out with an Ava/red tail jig and of course my favorite black teaser. The current was strong pushing to the North so the Ava was not tracking right. I made the switch over to another favorite - black slug eel. So out that went and on the tenth cast of the night I felt a tap, then a few cranks later another tap then I was on. Strong strike that peeled consistent drag from my reel. This was also the first fish I hooked on my new surf rig so I really had no bearings on size. But the fish pulled hard and was pulling drag. After 10 minutes, to my surprise, this fish was kind of taking me to task, still pulling drag and leading me down the beach. We usually pull smaller school fish from this beach so I was not sure if maybe I bought too light a surf rig. But then as we got closer to each other I saw a swirl in the outer wave and knew I had a good sized, keeper bass. And so we tussled to the final moment - then gliding her up with a wave onto wet sand. I try to minimize or avoid having the bass touch the sand because contact with the sand is not good for their protective slime coating - but last night it was dark, tide coming in, water moving and I was all alone so up she came. Of course she fell for the black teaser. After a quick de-hooking, and a kiss, she was back in the water free swimming East quickly. Even gave me a tail flip on the way back in. Kind of an f-you! I estimate she was ~27 inches, which is a fine bass for the via'rips and a great fish to open the season on my new rig. I continued to walk the beach hoping for an all out night of tussling but I had only one other hit. Was a good tug so I am guessing we have some nice bass lurking around.
So what does striper fishing and recruiting have in common, actually quite a lot. Over at Outbrain, I have been quite involved in recruiting recently for some senior positions and like surf fishing for stripers at night, it has not been easy. Both activities have a lot of moving parts, that must be finessed delicately to ensure success. Small details make all the difference. In addition to the processes being alike, the feeling of elation when a key hiring prospect agrees to join the team is akin to being successful on the beach at night. I know first hand, because on this first night of striper fishing I was very fortunate to receive word that a key senior hopeful accepted the task of leading our agency/brand sales team. I was really happy to hear this news during the day, but here I was standing on the beach in total darkness, holding this beautiful striper and the same feelings of excitment came rushing back. That said I am not equating a fish with a person, but standing alone on the beach, facing with the myriad of choices to make something happen is not that far away from recruiting and securing the people that you want most. So I guess the next time a great prospective hire says yes, I think that's my tipoff to go striper fishing.