The water outside the inlet looked glassy and the rain bait made audible splashes as they circled together and jumped to escape pursuit. Bluefish caused this. They appeared as bright flashes when they turned sideways and slashed through the tiny fish with their mouths open. Once in a while one would break the surface with its forked tail. Then everything would go down but fish oil slicked on the surface and the water glittered from the refraction off thousands of tiny free-floating scales. Evidence of dismemberment.
One bait ball remained tight and we idled over to it and I witnessed something I had never seen before. The rain bait pulsated and we made casts around the edges and waited for the thump. Something peeled away from the bait ball and followed my fly but it was not quite right. It swam lazily behind right up to the boat, and another followed and they were red and clumsy and did not eat. We moved closer and watched as two dozen of their kind fanned their pectorals and jacked the bait. Sea robins.
Hey man, this is the ocean. Everything eats everything, and everything’s looking for a reason to go off.
The fall didn’t end on such a hot note. The decent weather sandwiched between Noreasters left little windows of fishability. If you weren’t in a position to capitalize on those slots on the quick then, well, that was just too bad for you. Too bad for me for way too damn certain. [Exclamation point.]
I’m off to Florida next week and I’m not so sure what I’m going to find. Some bad shit went down, man.I haven’t heard much about my ditches on the inside, but butterfly peacocks die when the water temps fall below 60 degrees. Usually not a problem in South Florida but this year…The only way to know for sure is to keep casting.
Nothing like coming up on it and having it all laid out in front of you. The representative Northeast scene on a November day, with bait popping and birds busting. Only minor detail is, no one told the game fish. So unless I get a call about the herring run, and the coinciding means to be spontaneous, it ends with a whimper.
There are some things on the horizon: The chance to try for my first chrome upstate around Christmas, the Bay Bridge and Tunnel prospect, the proposed clown knife fish junket, and plans to push into the Florida back country. But it’s all nebulous at the moment.
Until something is set in concrete, it’s time to learn some new knots, get underway with the prescribed equipment maintenance, dress some j hooks on the vise, and break out the skis.
Tosh Brown and I have been working on making an idea for a book project a reality. A “large format pictorial on fly-fishing the Northeast coast” won’t work without large format-worthy pictures. So we’re blasting our way through some of the fall run this week.
We’re in the middle of fishing around New York Metro and surrounding salt, with Tosh working the lens.