Out Of The Slip­stream

Soundings - - Fishing -

Iam fish­ing out­side the main chan­nel, well be­yond the red and green mark­ers, while the rest of the world zooms past at full throt­tle. I am as far south as you can go on the lower reaches of this tidal river with­out be­ing on terra firma, back in the boney wa­ter, amid sub­merged boul­ders, some of which show their backs at low wa­ter, ap­pear­ing to spout or por­poise when the wind is strong and spray flies off their dark nog­gins.

I am hap­pily ( and stealth­ily) work­ing the flats, points and coves, ex­plor­ing new wa­ter, back on the fringes and mar­gins where the striped bass are piled up. I fished this river as a boy, but not this section and not us­ing this method — slow-trolling the shal­lows with a sim­ple tube-and-worm rig. The rod shakes in its holder — some­times a fish crashes the sur­face on the strike — and the drag sings out. It’s a sim­ple magic trick, one that nei­ther the fish nor I seem to tire of.

An ac­quain­tance sniffs pre­ten­tiously. “On the fly?” he asks. “Are you get­ting them on the fly?” God help these knuck­le­heads; you won- der if they could find enough to eat if they were turned loose in the Gar­den of Eden.

The nice thing about striped bass is that over the course of a sea­son I will chase them with spin, fly and con­ven­tional tackle, in knee-deep wa­ter and in depths to 75 feet, from the surf, in salt ponds and from a proper boat stem­ming a rip. But for the last few weeks, I have mer­rily pad­dled off Lit­tle Marsh and Con­stel­la­tion Rocks, trail­ing the pedes­trian tube-and-worm and cre­at­ing a se­ries of small, won­der­ful ruckuses.

The shore greens up, and pollen and petals drift on the tide. Scratchy bird­song floats over the shal­lows from first light to dusk. A great blue heron croaks across my bow, and the nest­ing ospreys are their usual vo­cal selves. I say good morn­ing to the terns squab­bling from their rocks.

A har­bor seal bal­ances as mo­tion­less as a weath­ered bronze sculp­ture on a rock that barely crests the sur­face. A cor­morant leans for­ward and shoots the con­tents of its morn­ing meal out its back­side be­fore aban­don­ing its perch as I glide past.

Work­ing the edges, flats and rocky coves from a kayak is peace­ful.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.