agony and ecstacy...
About 4 years ago in the fall, I attended a striper seminar in Brigantine by Al McRenolds; I'd met his son Tom a few nights earlier while kayaking past the Harrah's dock. After the seminar, Tom, Al, and I planned on fishing the beach later in the afternoon. It was a grey day, with a light rain, east wind, and the surf was foamy and pearl colored, so I decided to kill some time fishing the south end jetty. Guy hung out in their trucks, so I was alone, and threw a blue/clear bomber to the ocean side, hooking up on the 3rd cast. The fish was visible in the vertical face of the wave (my first striper ever) and i hauled it in, hopped onto beach, and a guy ran out and held the bass down. I measured it with my hand, assuming the span to be 9 inches, and it was exactly 3 spans (27 inches) so I had to set my first bass free. Two trebles were imbedded in both top and bottom lips, and when it shook, I was hooked deep under the thumb, no hook visible at all. The guy cut the lips with a knife and I drove to the hospital in AC, wearing yellow slickers and golf spikes. When they called me in, I skidded on the linoleum floor, legs splaying, arms flying, back twisting, plug spinning, but I stayed up, to the howls of the emergency room.
2 hours later, the hook was out, and I called Al with the bad news. The worst thing was that Al had been adamant in the seminar that you should always have pliers, and I didn't have any - later I measured my hand span, and it was 9.5 inches....so the fish was actually a keeper