It’s been a long stretch. Now, more than ever, my secret dreams of becoming a powerful and high-paid blogger seem pitiable. But not to worry (or rejoice as the case may be), I’ve no plans for abandoning the cause or the blog of lowbrow angling. I closed out carp season, as required, and made my way to the salt in an unprecedented manner.
We went camping in the Keys. It was not, in fact, a fishing trip, though I did spend 5-6 hours over the course of several days poking around the flats. Did I confidently plan to stand out among the herds of vacationing dads by casually catching bonefish in my spare time off the campground beach? Yes. Alas. I saw some fish, which was exciting, and caught any number of misc. tiny non-sexy fish.
So moved was I by this brief exposure that I planned a solo trip a few weeks later to more local salty environs. This was a balls-to trip by my standards. I drove after work on Friday to catch a late tide and finished the 2-hour paddle to an uninhabited island in the wee hours. I poked around the grass next morning, seeing no evidence of fish, spent the afternoon scouting around and casting the net, then fished with bait. Yes indeed, bait. I’ve had a few words to say about bait and purism in the past, and I’m aware of the risk of sounding awkwardly defensive or apologetic. But I must say that I’m a fly angler deep inside, and a catcher, in general, deeper inside. For many years, outside of fishing with the kids, rare episodes of fishing in the surf with bait have been my only deviation from relative purity. This fishing remains one of the most viscerally enjoyable things I do in any given year. I like throwing a cast net. So much so that I spent a lot of time doing it when I could have been nobly casting about with the 8 wt. So I spent the eve and into the darkest hours tossing cut baits into the racing tide at the mouth of the inlet. I caught a couple big red drum, the target of the endeavor, and reveled in the exposure and wildness of a southern barrier island.
Now it is fall, season of the 2-pairs-of-pants work week, and for once I have ignored the striped fish deep into the season. And I’ll continue to do so for another week or so. Then it will be time to get back on the usual program.