Saturday, June 23, 2007

Water Like Chocolate

Friday, June 15

I was worried about the wind. On Thursday night it was blowing and I didn’t pay enough attention to the weather because, like a dolt, I read the extended forecast a few days earlier and it was for nice weather. I was nervous because my Friday morning charter was to be predominantly on flies and the wind would louse that up. The wind in the trees usually makes for good sleeping, but not this night. It continued, out of the north, even as I left the boat ramp at 4:30. But then, miraculously, it laid down to 5 – 10 and in an instant my hopes were up.

I picked up Dave and John at the town dock just before 5:00. John was running a few minutes late – he was driving down from his hotel in Boston. From Pennsylvania, John was in town for business and had been up late with Dave at Fenway Park to watch the Sox lose terribly. These guys were tired. We began out of the harbor and as we passed Captain’s Flats the wind became an issue again. The tide was draining out – a minus tide at 6:15 or so. So, between the wind and tide, our options narrowed significantly. But we attempted some open spots first in case the wind was indeed manageable. It wasn’t. Although the fetch of the bay was temporarily reduced by the surrounding sand flats it was making a mess of the lines and frustrating all of us.

We finally opted to find some shade from the north wind and that is hard to do in this bay. Behind Clark’s Island was the nearest choice and we fished it for a while. It was calm along the southern point but as we drifted south the wind and chop would slowly increase. We ran numerous drifts through here and on the second or third one John suddenly had a screaming reel. His flyrod, a nice Loomis, was bent hard and he had to work hard to get this one in. It was a fine keeper sized striper – and fat too. He was happy about this. I was happy about this too. If my memory serves, despite a lifetime of fishing all over the world for all kinds of species, I think this was his first striper.

Dave took the bow next. We repeated the drift several times and soon enough he had one on. The fight lasted only a short time, however, because the fish was small. John took a few photos of Dave with the fish, which made Dave laugh. But it wasn’t ludicrous at all because on days like this it takes a lot of time, patience, and skill to hook up on the fly.

Next we moved to some structure, a little more into the path of the wind (which just got worse). Dave took a few casts with some light spinning gear with a storm shad. Almost instantly he was onto a nice one. The reel screeched a little bit and a smile emerged on his face. The fish was 22” or so and had provided a nice fight.

We tried a few more drifts along this area but had no more luck. I then took the guys into Kingston Bay, to the vicinity of the Jones River where the wind was a bit less intrusive. The water was quite murky and we skunked there. John entertained us with several good stories of fishing in Chile and other locales. But I was preoccupied with finding more fish for these guys. We ended up trying several more areas, including a return to the one spot that proved successful earlier. But by this hour several other fishermen had arrived on the bay and were in the same situation - also seeking out the wind shade below Clark’s. We spent a couple more hours fishing and storytelling. The weather was curious but beautiful; the maritime low out over Nova Scotia was pumping rows of low clouds from north to south, but brilliant sunshine would alternate with the cloud cover every few minutes.

Despite all further efforts no additional fish were hooked. It was a marginal day, but this is fishing. I’ll refrain from quoting that bozo, Forest Gump, but still, you never know what to expect out there.

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