BobLee’s VERY “Good Friday”

Big Stripper
April18/ 2022
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BobLee’s VERY “Good Friday”


“In 32 years pursuing “River Monsters” on The James River, this is the largest stripped bass ever put in my boat .”  – Capt. “Big John” Garland.


It woulda been a VERY “Good Friday” if that 53 lb “Striper” (AKA “Striped Bass” / Rockfish”) was all I caught last week with “Big John” but it wasn’t. Not by a long shot.

All total I boated 10 Blue Cats … three of which were “citations” which means “at least 30 inches and 30 pounds” … the 39.6 lber was my newest “PB” – fishing lingo for “Personal Best”. My previous “PB” was 36 lbs caught back in March also with “Capt. John”.

My previous “Striper” PB was 5 lbs … caught five hours earlier “Good Friday” morning. About the time I caught my PB (and only) Needlenose Gar.

There are larger “stripers” in Chesapeake Bay … up to mid 70 lbs … but a 50 lber is VERY rare where we were … up The James River 10 miles south of Downtown Richmond… about a mile north of the I-895 “Suicide Bridge” and Jimmy Dean’s” Plantation.

If anyone had told me 3-4 months ago that a 20 lb fish would NOT merit “taking a picture” I would never have believed them. My OMG bar for fishing memories has risen considerably in recent months.

I’m not sure how to equate catching a 50+ lb fish to, say, Golf. Maybe it would be “first time you break 90 … or 80” … depending again on where you rate as a golfer.

The experience of bringing a 50 lb fish up out of 40′ deep water, even with heavy-duty tackle is officially “a chore”. Imagine hoisting a small refrigerator up to a 4th floor floor apartment … and the refrigerator NOT wanting to go there.

Oh … before I forget … I am 100% “Catch & Release” … or “Catch – Take PIcture – Release” if it is worthy.

Different species of fish survive longer out of water … “stripers” are in the “not very long” category. We got this one back in time.

Catching this “river monster” was complicated by the fact I had boated a 32 lb blue catfish moments before the striper hit. Capt. John was frantically moving the other lines out of the way as I fought to control the monster striper.

Yes … you CAN tell the difference between fighting a 25 lb fish and a 53 lb fish. Not quite “Sheriff Brody’s” line “We need a bigger boat” … but the process IS quickly taken to a different level.

Capt John has boated a number of Super Citation catfish over his 32 years guiding on The James River including one 90+ lb several years ago. He boated an 75 lber just two weeks ago.

OK… enough about me … Oh, I DID mention that 53 lb striper didn’t I?


I’ve used enough fishing guides to know a very good one. Capt. “Big John” Garland in Richmond is a very good one. Here are his Facebook and Website links.

You don’t have to know “squat” about fishing or even have any equipment. He furnishes everything needed.

You show up at the Hopewell Marina at 6 AM and simply “do what “Big John” tells you” and watch the reels scream and the rods bend double … then hang on and REEL!


A day on The James River with Capt. John would be a Great Father / Son Outing … if the “son” is 13-14 to adult. Catching fish THIS BIG is a Thrill … a Bucket List Memory even if it wasn’t on your bucket list.


What’s next for me

May 18-19 I’ll be in Madison WI fishing for Walleye, Pike and Muskies.  A Monster Muskie could top my Monster Striper … ya never know!

It’s not always about BIG FISH.  I still want to catch a 5-10 lb bass on a topwater lure.  AND … I plan on going after Smallmouth Bass later this summer.  They don’t get as big as Largemouth but supposedly fight harder.


I see where at least two and maybe more of Hubert’s Iron Five have chosen to return next year.  YOU KNOW that is costing some BIG BIG Rams some MAJOR NIL $$$$$$.

I also see where Pedophiles & their advocates are making their agenda known prior to the November mid-terms.  If I had children or grandchildren in public school it might be time to start paying closer attention … but, hey, I’m sure “public education” has not changed one little bit in the past 50 years …. right?  … and Ol’ Walt Disney ???  Don’t ya know Ol’ Walt is aspinnin’ in his grave these days … YOWSA! … Oh well … it’s “just politics” … right? … LOL.


More BobLeeSays?  … GO HERE!


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