Not sure if it is karma, total lack of skill or maybe it’s the fact that I know that other people enjoy catching fish more than I would. Either way, my inability to catch a fish, even when it comes up and bites the fly I am hand retrieving, was demonstrated over the past weekend.
The good news is that my ability (inability would be more accurate) to catch and land a fish has no negative impact on the true enjoyment I receive from fishing.
This weekend I was on the Vineyard with my bro, cousin s and special k. Special K hosted us and we had a great time.
Special K is a smart, funny dude – so on top of the fishing, getting time to spend with Special K was great.
I had all the gear, at least that is what I thought. Got waders, fly rod, reel, a few flies, and a very smart looking fishing vest. I was soon to learn the difference between a fishing vest and a wading fishing vest (the fishing vest is about 6 inches longer, which means that the bottom 6 inches of the fishing vest gets soaked).
“Where’s you stripping basket,” Special K asked.
Huh, a “stripping what.”
“Stripping basket.” Special K clarified, to put the retrieved fly line into to keep it organized.
“Oh, yeah, ummm damn it, I forgot mine,” I replied.
“Not a problem, you can use this one,” said Special K as he handed me a tupperware dish bucket (like the one you’d put in the sink) with a couple holes cut in it that a mesh belt threaded through so one could afix it to their waist.
Hmmm, not bad, “I could use this in the restaurant to bus tables.” I thought.
So after a quick practice on the ball field – fly fishing on grass is a great way to practice and stay dry. Soon we were ready to take on the fish!
There is something about getting up before the sun even comes close to brightening the night sky, sliding into wet neopreme waders and standing in waste deep water with a nine weight fly rod that makes one appreciate life in all it’s glory.
So there we were, Sunday morning at 5:15am. Looking east and casting an unseen fly out into a fairly mild atlantic sea. The water matched the black sky highlighted with dark grey clouds. It was about this time I remembered that my waders had a slight leak where the right leg of the wader met the attached boot. Brrrrr. Nothing worse than having a leak in your waders. Not quite as bad as taking a leak in your waders but that’s for another story. Good thing I brought three pairs of socks…..I now had 3 wet socks…ughhhh
OK so the serene setting was briefly interrupted by a wet right foot. Like the day before it was a non issue once the water heated up in the boot.
So here I am casting into the early morning waters (no, make that really early morning waters) and it all came together. I could feel the line and fly load onto the rod as I brought the rod back and forth in my casting motion. In that instance I closed my eyes (not sure if it was fatigue or I was really “feeling” the moment) and proceeded to do one of my best casts of the weekend.
A cast so perfect that upon release the line shot through the guides on my fly rod as if the front of the line was attached to an arrow. In a sharp, crisp line the fly and line shot out and landed a good 75 feet in front of me. WOW, that was cool.
The movement became fluid – back and forth, back and forth, back and forth and then release and retrieve. Wow. The nearest thing I could equate to a perfect cast is hitting that perfect golf shot. You know, the shot where you make the swing, the club hits the ball and the ball explodes down the fairway in an arching line drive and you never remember feeling the club make contact with the ball. As a matter of fact, you don’t even remember trying to swing too hard.
As I stood there casting I began to notice that the rising sun was slowly changing the night sky from black to grey. The water also began to change. A chill came over me. The water took on the color seen in the opening scene of the movie Jaws. It had that steel grey, “there’s a big fucking fish under here that’s gonna eat your ass,” look to it. It was about this time when I noticed a small black object on the surface of the water a good couple hundred yards from me. I stared at it like Chief Brody looking at the shark in Jaws. What the fuck is that I thought to myself. My instinct was to call out to my bro who was about 50 yards from me but I stopped myself. Nah, couldn’t be a shark, wait.
I was now convinced it was moving, weird, what the fuck is it. It couldn’t be a shark, could it?
Being the blonde that I am I got pre-occupied with untangling a “birds-nest” of fly line that had formed in the tupperware dish bucket I had strapped around my waist to hold the retrieved fly line and forgot about the shark. I finally remembered the shark 15 minutes later and by that time it had gotten sufficiently light out so that I could clearly see that my killer great white shark had morphed into a black buoy. Ughhh
About that time my zen moment was interrupted by the shout of “fish-on.” Having never used that phrase I didn’t quite know what it meant. Was it some kind of motivational saying like, right-on or maybe rock-on? You know, hey guys I know it’s early and we’ve been out here for a couple hours without a single bite, but “FISH-ON!”
As I soon found out via a fly fishing, beach shouting version of the telephone game that Special K had a fish on his line. Cool, I thought, what was I supposed to do. Heck he was the one with the clue, there was no help I could offer, unless of course they needed someone to go get coffee….you know like the husband going to boil water during a pregnancy…
Regardless, I continued to fish as Special K landed a beautifully delicious 32 inch Striped Bass. WOW. I said wow cuz that meant there are actually fish in the water.
Shit! What if I catch one of those monsters. I could see it now, me screeching “fish on” like I knew what I was doing. Shit, I’d be more apt to scream “see-ya” throw my pole to someone near me and run outta the water.
Back to the fishing. It was a very interesting morning weather wise. When we began the wind was coming from the south/southeast at about 12 knots and it was at our back. In the matter of a couple hours it had picked up to 15 to 18 knots and had swung 180 degrees and was blowing in our face. The water had taken on a discernably different look. The gentle rolling waves were now sharp, jagged and white capped. The sea was looking angry.
As a novice (I use that word generously) fly angler a strong wind in my face meant only one thing…..I was spending more time picking the fly off of my neopreme waders than I was getting it into the water. Holy crap! My beautiful 75 foot casts had been reduced to 10 foot tangles of line and fly. Shit the only way I could possibly catch a fish now would be if it swam into the line and got entangled. Hey, isn’t that the way the Japanese catch dolphin?
So we finish up our morning session and leave the now very angry beach for a nice quite breakfast.
It may have been the best breakfast I’ve ever had in my life. Not sure if the food was that good or it was simply the fact that I had been up for 2 1/2 hours and it was barely 7 am or maybe I finally had the opportunity to take off my one wet sock or lastly that I knew that this is going to the first of many breakfasts we have with Special K after spending a couple hours on the beach fly fishing. I was already looking forward to our next adventure with Special K.
I gotta tell you, I couldn’t pour the coffee down my throat fast enough. It tasted so fucking good.
There is so much more to write about……Humphries, GB the dancing Bear and the secret behind bringing rhythm to the white people and who the fuck is Sam McGee.