A Mind of Fishing

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It’s a daily journey for me that starts with one thought  “where are the fish today”.  It leads me places I only dreamed of and fills me up with knowledge of things I had no idea existed.  This wonderful, beautiful world and life we all walk though with so much going on around us.  I invite you to stop a bit and consider if  and when you leave makes no difference as nature continues to exists on its own terms.

It’s often by accident I am studying one thing with great conviction  that I stumble upon another great discovery  that makes me look at everything differently. My recent reads have been about the New York Bight and the Apex facts and findings, Ben Franklin mapping the Gulf and his cod eating habit’s and lastly Men’s Lives: The Surfmen and Baymen of the South Fork  by Peter Matthiessen .

Some days I have to stop and take it all in.. because we walk on sandy beaches as did people in our past on the same quest but for different reasons.  It leads me to the thoughts of such a vast difference in the way we handle technology and publication now.  People of  past worked so hard to catch fish to provide a meal for their families.  If you think there were not cyclical years please do some reading.  They relied upon  fish to sustain them. And now for the majority it is for internet notoriety or to be best among peers – a different kind of personal thing to feed.  Years from now I often wonder how will this blip in history will tell our generations story… and stories of the simple fishing trips. The kind you keep close to your heart, family and friends that mean the most.

 

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 A Simple Fishing Trip

2016

My morning alarm is set to lull me out of sleep with the voice of Jeremy Wade screaming “Fish On” over and over.  I am ready Mr. Wade.  In the morning shuffle I pick and chose to throw a couple bucktails that have always given me success into the pouch. Feathers all dried I run my finger tips down them to make sure all is intact.  These are my favorites, my go to’s, try as I may with other things I just love fishing bucktails.

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Step outside to see the moon still up and bit of a glimmer of light towards the water.  The night crew will be leaving, I’ll see them packing it in and heading home. Most will have no fish with them. The surf fisherman I know almost never take a fish. It’s often not because they would not like to share a meal of them – it’s because of stocks and also the stigma of someone seeing you take home a legal fish for your family. It’s 2016 and you’re damned if you do or don’t. Greed still runs rampant. But for many people, most of us we are more conservation minded when it comes to this beloved fish – Morone saxatilis.

It is still the most exciting feeling to me to load up the gear and leave knowing what my destination is. A thousand things go through my mind as I am checking off again the –  do I have everything – water and sunblock included.  Upon reaching the destination for the first few minutes I am an observer of the display nature is putting on.  Waders on and my heart starts to pump a little faster those first few steps. Some days I feel like I am almost running when I get on the water although I know I am not.  Just as the sun makes direct contact I am throwing into it with hopes of presenting perfectly to a passer-by in the water. Living so close to this is where I find myself and the world melts away.  For now until this time ends I am myself at the apex of happiness.

So often now when I have a bite I wade into the water to let it go there. Trying to be so careful as not to stress the fish I almost panic if it is not quick enough on my terms.  I am not keeping it, not today.  I get to do this everyday as long as fish are around.  For that I am grateful.  For that I respect this fish. What you do is your own business. I stopped looking. Looking at the same thing over and over of fish held high above heads like trophy’s.  It took me this long to realize that we are different. We fish for different reasons.   Technology pushes hard on ego’s and some look to the path of least resistance.  I needed to quiet my own mind before I got caught up in what the internet deems me a good fishermen and come into my own. When I sopped looking at all those reports online I set myself free to experience this on my terms in this pace in my heart.

Happy for you – happier for me.

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The whole time I am walking I watching, learning, filled with wonder.  With miles under my feel having walked I start to head back.

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Usually some kind person will stop me and share their love along my journey of fishing, surfing, the sea… whatever it is that calls our hearts here.

Packing my gear back in the truck with grateful intention I know God willing, I’ll be back again tomorrow.

For  I  bring home with me the greatest gift – a heart filled with so much love for this life and fishing.

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To go fishing is the chance to wash one’s soul with pure air, with the rush of the brook, or with the shimmer of sun on blue water. It brings meekness and inspiration from the decency of nature, charity toward tackle-makers, patience toward fish, a mockery of profits and egos, a quieting of hate, a rejoicing that you do not have to decide a darned thing until next week. And it is discipline in the equality of men – for all men are equal before fish.- Herbert Hoover

 

Weakfish, whale and wind

Almost every fisherman can agree, you spend your days looking at weather updates. Thinking…watching…. planning.  Your checking the buoy reports days ahead of time, mentally preparing.  Someone whispers wind and you cringe at the thought of another trip mother nature is about to over-ride. Then there are times you just have to look and see because saying “put the gear away” is as bad as saying “Christmas is cancelled”.

With a full on vision of flounder and sea bass we went yesterday (Sunday). Upon arrival at the dock we noticed one boat had left and another on the way out. Everyone else was in. So the Capt made his own observation with calculated information and knowledge. We headed out the inlet to West wind at 10-15 with gust that would get to about 20, sea was a 2-3 ft chop, with water temps of 66-68. To the reef sites we made our way.

Upon arrival it was a little bumpy but it would really calm down nice. The day would heat up and the seas would come alive.

One of the first things we noticed were pots… everywhere we looked on the reef sites. We got our lines in and immediately saw a FIN WHALE,Balaenoptera physalus surface. It took us by surprise as we usually encounter whales more often, much further out. The day would be filled with another visit from the whale, porpoises, and dolphin all working the same water we were fishing.

We had multiple hook-up all day, sea bass, flounder and even quite a few bergals but one fish would capture my attention the most. Not even a keeper, a little guy only about 8″ long but absolutely stunning in color. A weakfish: a legend, a fish I had only ever heard people talk about like a long-lost friend.

That little fish made me feel special, even after hooking up BFT, YFT, Stripers, Mahi, flounder, seabass, etc…. because I thought I would never see one. I believed they were gone long ago.

I am hearing some pretty terrific stories of what it was like to fish for them. Great memories shared between generations of fishermen. I sincerely hope some reports we are hearing means they are making a comeback. I’d love to see a tide-runner.

Some background on weakfish and facst I did not know:

The weakfishCynoscion regalis, is a marine fish of the drum family Sciaenidae.

A large slender marine fish found along the east coast of North America. The largest weakfish was 19 pounds 2 ounces. The head and back of this fish are dark brown in color with a greenish tinge. The sides have a faint silvery hue with dusky specks, and the belly is white. The origin of its name is based on the weakness of the mouth muscles, which often cause a hook to tear free, allowing the fish to escape. The weakfish grows to 1 m (3 feet) in length and 8.7 kg (19 pounds 2 ounces) in weight. It is found along the eastern coast of North America from Nova ScotiaCanada to northern Florida, where it is fished both commercially and recreationally.

In the mid-Atlantic states, the fish is sometimes referred to by the name Sea Trout, though it is not related to the fishes properly called Trout, which are in the family Salmonidae. In New England it is also known as the Squeteague.

The weakfish is the state fish of Delaware.

(*source : wiki online)

So there is my some what limited knowledge, right now it’s a quest to find more, listen to stories and see pictures on the beauties. I did look up the IGFA record and it’s a monster!

Back to the trip the way in winds picked up and we made it in time to watch the storms roll in.

From the sea, through the city to the country I looked at the sky and kept thinking about…. weakfish.