Thursday, August 9, 2018

Chasing Striped Bass... It's Exhausting.

Some believe that fly fishing is such a relaxing, peaceful sport. Yes, sometimes it can be. But if you were in my shoes, you'd see it differently. Today we're going on a trip to Rhode Island, and I'd like you to take a walk, and a paddle, in my shoes:

It's 9:00 and still impossibly muggy. There is a breeze out of the southwest, but on this side of the point it is coming over the trees and cliffs too far over your head to dry the sweat that just won't stop building up. Clambering over unbelievably slimy rocks is never easy but definitely less so in the dark. You find a spot where barnacles make standing more easy, dump line into the stripping basket, and send a big squid fly just past the break. Two strips in you're tight to a bass. Oh yes, this is going to be a good night.

The night bite was good. Many fish came to hand. But it is time to get some rest. 

It is important to note that three hours of sleep in a van with your fishing partner is not equivalent to three hours of sleep at home, in your own bed. 

You wake up not much less tired than you went to sleep. But you have to be up early. The clock is ticking on this trip. You and your fishing partner both have to work today. You clamber back out onto the ledges. Things are more quiet this morning though. A few fish boil just out of range. 

From up on the cliffs you watch the sunrise. In the distance, a blitz manifests itself. Striped bass boil on rain bait a long way away. They put on a show, and you watch knowing you won't catch those fish right now, but also that you don't need to. 

With the sun coming up and the wind oddly dying, you make the move to look for tunoids out in open water. The paddle out of the inlet is a tiny bit sketchy and you take two waves over the bow. Not enough to need to bail water, but enough to make things annoyingly wet. You head straight out, looking for birds and breaking fish. You find them about a mile offshore, but they aren't bonito. They are stripers, and, oddly, sea robins. 

The fish dictate your moves. The blitzes move out, and you follow them into trawler territory. You cast, move, cast, move, trying to keep up. Takes happen. Hook ups do not. That's frustrating, these are all nice fish. The time of day pulls you away from them. Now you have to paddle a mile back in and shoot up the inlet against the tide. Then put the kayak and SUP on top of the van. Then you have to ride for an hour and go to work in the heat of the day.

Fly fishing isn't what I do to relax. If it were, I doubt I'd be as good at it as I am. 

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