I love to dig through old magazines articles and books reading about sport fishing. A great resource for this is the Library of Congress where you can from time to time based on different search terms encounter some fantastic reading material. I recently found an article from a monthly magazine published in 1881 entitled simply "Striped Bass." It is fairly easy to see that the angler's reverence of the striped bass is not Johnny-come-lately. Seems like fishermen from the late-1800's pursued the striped bass as eagerly as we do today.
"To the lover of rod and reel, the striped bass, or rock-fish, as he is called south of Philadelphia, is the most important of all our sea fish. His habitat is so extended and his stay with us so constant; he is so eagerly sought for by anglers of all classes and conditions of life; he affords such sport in the various stages of his growth, from the puny half-pounder found almost everywhere on our Atlantic coast, to the enormous green-head who makes his home in the break of the surf; he brings into play such a variety of tackle, from the pin-hook of the urchin fishing from the city docks to the jewel-mounted rods and reels of the crack bass-fisherman, that he well merits the title which is sometimes bestowed on him of the game fish par excellence of the sea - the fish for the million and the millionaire."
Quote from: Scribner's Monthly, an illustrated magazine for the people Volume 0021 Issue 5 (March 1881), Striped Bass