For the second or third time, I missed my fishing buddy in the predawn lack of light.
“All cats are gray in the dark.” (Ben Franklin)
The quote doesn’t translate but as an analogy, sure, it works.
As the sun crept closer to the horizon, I noticed my buddy, dressed in cargo shorts and Hawaiian shirt — my people.
“That is so my people.”
As an experience, for my time? Nothing is quite as exhilarating as a stropping red1 on light spinning tackle. Good tackle makes the experience even more enjoyable. Late in the morning, afternoon, really, finally found the reds I was hunting. Medium-sized, with more attitude than brains, up against a sandy shoreline, backside of the intercostal.
Over on one shore, captains of industry and off-shore rigs in and out of repair, one sailing vessel, and few guided tours, but mostly, I was fishing.
Another Pisces Moon
Took all morning, but before noon, there was one nice trout, a one nice black drum, and one decent sand trout. Four fish. Four varieties.
Think it was 10-pound Trilene, Lo-Vis Green, not unlike the water breaking in front of the Corpus Christi water break, no, not unlike the jade-colored rollers. I gave the bait a mighty cast, landed it in a sweet spot, and waiting, dropping the butt of the pole into a rod-holder. Long day, sore from exertions.
Tip then backbone of the pole bent over, line started to strip off, screaming against the drag setting on the reel. I knelt down to pick up the rod and just stayed squatting on the foredeck, for a few moments, pole bent over, the flight of the fish momentarily arrested, and then, the process of slowly winding her back in.
Wasn’t the first to fight like a monster, but what surprised us was the previous reds with shoulder versus the length. Strong, healthy and not big enough to keep. Happened twice before, and it was great fun for me.
20 meters out, up against a sandy bank, Big Reds with fight, brawn, and enough tussle on the light line to make it feel like a worthy experience.
The entire morning, and the last several fishing trips, all condensed and amplified, in that single experience, kneeling, then standing, me crusted with sun block and dried sweat, my shirt perpetually damp from sun-sweat and sea spray, stumbling around the craft when the action is on? The moment, in the moment, remember this, the few minutes of pure action, never mind what goes into the set-up.
I’m suddenly not tired, the fish pulling hard against the pole, finally landing a keeper-sized red, and at maybe a whole two feet in length? Really good eating. Blackened, broiled, baked, or best? Fried. Fresh.
It was that moment, wake up at 4 in the morning, get dressed quietly in the dark, drive through a breakfast thing at What-a-burger, and two large cups of their coffee? Hours bouncing around the bay, that jade-colored sea, swells up to a few feet, kind of hammered by the wind? What it looks like from boat ramp? Another Pisces Moon hanging in the sky, next to Jupiter?
Then, squatting down to pluck the rod from its holder, and fighting the good fight, in those few moments, it all comes together.
Another Pisces Moon
These days, a few hours on a bay boat is sheer happiness. 20 years ago, it was the same on a lake, bass fishing. The more it changes, the more it remains the same. But this experience, right then, in the moment, that’s when it all came together, about two minutes of sheer, child-like glee, all concerns left behind, just wind, water, and a big fish on light gear.
By the time we got back to the dock, the Pisces Moon had set, and the summer bake was on “full broil.”
The candle was just guttering when I got home, protection and reward.
- Redfish, Red Drum, Spot-Tail Bass. ↩
- Aperture: ƒ/1.6
- Camera: iPhone 12
- Flash fired: no
- Focal length: 4.2mm
- ISO: 32
- Shutter speed: 1/1595s