There’s a vodka called Tito’s that reportedly has a moonshiner’s heritage and I drank too much of it. As this happened, the enthusiasm for fishing at sunrise crescendoed but everyone else involved knew it would no longer come to pass.
The rod tube and sling resting by the door would remain so.
In the morning, the moment of recognition to this did not come until after three tepid glasses of water and a round of seven push-ups.
Fishing and writing are two things I like to do that are predisposed to disappointment. Either from not doing them, or doing them and finding the effort unrewarded.
The rejection letter still sat better than the not fishing. Upon rereading, the supportive tone of it made it seem more injurious than it actually was. “You are a skilled writer but your submission lacks the necessary tension…”
I knew he was right. Without tension, I might as well have submitted instructions for building a cabinet. To paraphrase something someone else said once that deserves recap, “Get to the point, and make the point as uncomfortable as possible.”
He had me until the last sentence, “Good luck with your future writing!” Which seems innocuous but for the exclamation point. Whenever I see one of those¹ I want to snap it over my knee like bonfire kindling.
(1. Exclamation points should only be permissible in children’s books and text messages.)
I Google Earthed the locale near my hotel. Water. Accessible water.
Sometimes the satellites do not present the full picture.
I took to Beta testing some bad-ass prototypes from WT. Prognosis? They cast well and swim well. Fish? What do you want? It’s Florida in July; 95 degrees in the freaking gloaming. Due time for paydirt.
Field testing in the name of science builds an appetite. This is what you call a dynamic cuban sandwich.
On to the hotel bar to cleanse the palate and hear the lounge act.
I drove by this spot a million times when I ran these waters by boat for 12 years. There are boulders on the outside, known as elephants, that hold fish well enough and in any event don’t take kindly to molded fiberglass.
By land, I came across it by accident–on a walk, of all things. You don’t want to go there, it’s all schoolie bass anyhow (in the 16-24 inch class) but for me, it’s worked out just fine for now. There are times when a bent rod is a bent rod.
Sometimes the carp thing seems overplayed, like drinking PBR or wearing ironic T-shirts in Brooklyn. But take away the alt -fly aspect of it, and ask the question: In a vacuum, is there a more compelling freshwater fish to chase? Probably, no.
It took me two years of trying to finally get a carp to eat, with a major assist to carp crack, but the payoff has been worth it. I’m still several echelons below Mr. Montana in the “Master of Fat Pigs of Majesty” department, but I’ve been getting some fish this season.
Here’s some of the things I’ve enjoyed while reveling in my nascent carp success.
–Carp take you to the reel. Always. Not in that way where you hook a fish and use your free hand to spin the line back onto the reel, but in the saltwater way where you hold the line and let it slip through as the fish runs. It’s always cool to watch a fish make your reel spin while pulling off line, creating a V wake in the shallow water.
–Accuracy counts. Every fish I’ve hooked or had a realistic chance of hooking has been inside 30 feet, with the fly landing within a foot of an ugly yellow face.
–The hookset is always mysterious. Yesterday I watched a 30-inch fish turn to hoover my fly, I saw it lower its rubbery mouth over the carp crack and felt…nothing. I tried to strip set and pulled the fly from its mouth, causing a freakout followed by a vacated premises, and pangs of wondering what might have been.
–For the time constrained, it’s a short drive to the muni park of choice and they’re either in shallow eating or they’re not. There’s no tide dependency, no prospecting, and no loitering for too long in one spot because you caught fish there last time.
–Fishing in muni parks, no one else, I mean NO ONE else, is ever fly fishing. You are looked at strange. When you hook a fish it becomes a spectator sport. You get commentary such as,
My Man! You gonna eat that thing?
Did you hook the same fish again?
Catch me that turtle, son. That’s soup.
All things being equal, I’d still rather be in the salt. But these muni fatties are good times.
For the record, I am not Fishing Jones. I started this blog 7.5 years ago because I had a fishing jones. I don’t like going long stretches off the water, and this has been one. May started off with such promise, with nine days on the water in the first 14. I had to turn down trips to keep true to the ones to which I had committed. Then the wheels came off and it has been a solid stretch of nothingness and staring at photographs (see above).
In the words of Rakim, “I get a craving, like a fiend for nicotine. But I don’t need a cigarette, know what I mean?”
That changes this week. I’m busting out of the inlet at 6000 rpm and blowing the doors off this place.
Fat slobbery striped fish, you and me are going to make acquaintance.
Just a guess that everything usable has been taken and sold. Once maybe part of a suburban soccer convoy until somebody rolled it into the salt marsh where it stands rusty sentry over early season striper water.