Thanks for joining the adventure, and tight lines.
My constant pursuit of new fish species has been far more rewarding than I ever thought it would be when I started. There are too many fish species on this planet to catch in a lifetime, much less on a fly rod. The hunt is never really the same. Techniques, locations, gear... it may be close, even the same at surface value, from one species to another, but there is always something new to learn. Always. Sometimes I learn enough before catching a new species that I get it on the first try. Sometimes, as with my grass carp campaign, it takes a bunch of trips to same body of water to learn enough to succeed. And, sometimes, you drive more than 140 miles in a day only to fail to locate your query. Such was the case this Sunday for Noah and I.
We wanted to intercept the Northeast's second herring run. Every late fall and early winter Atlantic herring make grace us with their presence, starting up north and progressing south as waters cool. They often bring the last big striper bite out front before making themselves targets for shore bound anglers looking to extend their saltwater fishing just a little longer. Unlike the spring river herring run, Clupea harengus do not enter our inshore and nearshore water to spawn, not in December. Atlantic herring spawn in the summer, and are not anadromous. The early winter herring run here has more to do with changing water temperatures and food availability. Hoping to intercept some big schools of these silvery, slim bodied fish, Noah and I jumped in the van and drove into the urban jungle.
There are parts of this state that I have not thoroughly explored. And when that is the case it is a smart idea to enlist the assistance of someone local. Lucky for us, Noah and I were stepping onto the turf of my good friend John Huber. Before we went off on or herring mission, he gave us the tour of some of his trout, striper, and bluefish spots. We saw and fished some good water although the conditions were not ideal. And I found some sweet old glass coke bottles and some quartz crystals, so it isn't just the fish that will draw me back to these spots.
After we parted ways with John, we fished or tried to fish a number of known herring spots. Nobody seemed to be out there targeting them, which was problematic. Typically if they are around there are folks out there in the cold loading up sabiki rigs with fish to take home. We saw signs of life, we were there for what should have been the right tide, fishing the right stuff, but we did not get so much as a bump. There is more to be learned here.
I wanted to salvage the skunk, I've had a few this week trying to find safe ice (there was none). A wild trout stream on the way home gave up the goods. A pretty fish it was, but not what we did all that driving for.
These are the realities of my pursuit. On any given day I could chose to go after something I've caught many times before, or a new species. If I got for what I've caught before I'm liable to have better success. I am also not as likely to learn as much. But when I've caught most (not all) of the species in close proximity to home, it becomes more costly and time consuming to go for something new. Is it worth it? Hell yes it is.
Whether or not I will catch #101 before I go back to Florida remains to be seen, but I am going to try.