A pleasantly avuncular history and reminiscence of striped-bass fishing from Field and Stream conservation editor Reiger (Heron Hill Chronicle, 1994, etc.). The striped bass is an extremely important commercial and game fish, and it has been since colonial days, when the striper was pursued from Maine to Georgia. It was also pursued by native populations prior to European arrival. It has been fished nearly to extinction three times over the last hundred years (Reiger doesn't buy the cyclical-decline hypothesis offered by some fisheries biologists, and outlines convincing reasons why he doesn't). He shapes his story by mingling historical accounts of striped-bass fishing (fishers wield a pen as often as they handle a rod) by notables of their day--like Genio C. Scott, fashion editor and New York City's most popular fishing writer during the Civil War, and Russell Chatham, a writer and artist now living in Montana, far from striper precincts--with his own personal encounters with the fish. Each chapter concentrates on a particular striper venue, mainly along the mid-Atlantic Coast, but also venturing north to New England and south to the Savannah River, as well as to the West Coast and the San Francisco Bay and Monterey fisheries, which have also waxed and waned since the introduction of stripers from New Jersey in 1879. Ever the inquiring naturalist and sportsman, Reiger laces his chronicle with biological tidbits, such as how the turkey buzzard got its name, reflections on the practice of catch-and-release fishing, and the pleasures of the fly as opposed to the plug. Sadly, Reiger foresees another crash for the striped bass; the number of fish taken by recreational fishermen now rivals the commercial catch, leading to a one-two punch. He might be out there stalking them, but no one will doubt Reiger's love of the striper after finishing this book.