Labor Day weekend for all intents and purposes marks the end of summer. This long weekend, once an eagerly anticipated way point in my year now serves as an annual reminder that once again I spent more time over the summer in the office furthering someone else’s agenda than I did out of the office living my own. Sadly, I realize that I have created the situation, enabled it, chained myself to it and continually allow it to drag me off course. It’s affecting my health but worse it’s affecting my fishing life. The cinder worm hatch, Nantucket, Montauk, Flamingo, Jupiter, a couple of new fly patterns…just a few of the things on the short list I made in May. None have been checked off. Sometimes I really piss myself off. But I digress. I just want to go fishing.
So on Friday afternoon I bid farewell to the office, emails and conference calls. I put the top down on the Jeep, cranked the “oldies” station on the radio and headed north to Maine to see my daughter and hang out on the lake with my sister and family for a few days. Sitting in traffic on 93 I looked in the rear view and thought of the south side of Cape Cod and wondered if the albies would show up this weekend. As I pondered the question and my schedule for next weekend, Sheryl Crow’s voice came across the radio;
“It’s not about having what you want
It’s wanting what you’ve got”
This sent me down another avenue of contemplation. Last winter at the Bears Den Fly Fishing Show I was set up tying flies beside my friends Pat Cohen and Rich Strolis, two of the best fly tiers out there. At one point during the day we were talking with a gentleman who was jammed up about not being able to fish in some of the popular “adventure fishing destination locations’ because of finances and logistics. Collectively we assured him that he could find “adventure” on his local water for less than a dollar just by changing things up a bit. Targeting a different species, a different type of water, a different time of day, trying a new spot close to home …the possibilities are only limited by one’s own creativity. At some point in the conversation I am pretty sure that something along the lines of “fishing where you can and forgetting about where you can’t” was said. I thought about this, and Sheryl, for the next hundred miles. I put the albies out of my mind and made a plan.
First light on Saturday morning found me paddling in search of adventure. During my last visit to the lake I had found a shallow cove full of (chain) pickerel while hunting for largemouth from the kayak. Some of them were good sized and in shallow water when they realize they’re hooked and can’t dive, they run and explode out of the water. They are aggressive and will eat almost anything but what draws me to this spot is that it is very similar to fishing mangroves for snook. Long casts over the weed beds, floating plant life, stumps, dropping the fly into a space the size of a shoe box underneath overhanging branches and bushes. It’s long ball and short game all wrapped into one. Fast strips, vicious hits, boiling water. I couldn’t stop.
Saturday morning was all sub-surface fishing using a multi-colored fly I call April’s Reign. Simple, beautiful and catches everything.
Sunday morning I was back at it but arrived in the dark. It was top water with orange and yellow poppers. Throwing ‘Glades style right at the overhanging canopy so the popper would hit the branches and drop to the water, one or two strips and the pickerel would inhale the popper. Or follow it and envelop it like the sea creature did to Kevin Costner in “Waterworld.” At least that’s what it looked like from my seat.
I sit and write this on Labor Day morning looking out on the lake as rain falls in torrential downpours. My Beulah Bluewater 8/9 weight loaded with a Cheeky Mojo 425 leans against the picnic table rigged and ready, faithfully staring back at me through the window like my dogs used to waiting for a tennis ball to be thrown. In the distance thunder rolls and the wind drives waves onto the beach. I sit back with my coffee and close my eyes. There will be no fishing this morning. I gladly embrace the peace of this moment. I have the images of the last two mornings playing a slide show in my mind, set to proverbial lyrics;
“I’m gonna soak up the sun
Got my 45 on
So I can rock on.”
At a lake in Maine
2 September 2013