Good lord, what year is it? With all that is going on in the world it’s hard to tell sometimes. First off, many apologies to the three readers out there for the lengthy absence. When I just don’t feel confident or good about something it seems easier to always find something else to do in order to procrastinate. You should see the floor next to my desk right now. It’s piled high like an Arby’s Roast Beef sandwich with photo and fishing crap I still haven’t unpacked since moving in at the end of August. It’s a problem I have, apparently.
To summarize my season simply: it was full of small bass pretty much everywhere I went. I also caught a squid on a rubber shad. I fished a lot up in Caumsett State Park and there was beautiful water everywhere. Small bass by day on poppers and small bass by night on swimmers in the boulder field under a full moon. I did not venture out onto the Diamond Bar, but did once spy a guy who looked like he was 100 yards off the beach standing out there. I’m not sure that’s something I want to explore until I’m a little more familiar with the area. There’s a pretty good series of videos from this guy Mark McGowan on Youtube that takes you on a little video tour of the park and that’s inspired some ideas for the early season. Back in our NYC waters, I witnessed a bass blitz a football field wide along the beach. The water was a washing machine of chocolate milk brown and a constant, howling wind made casting near impossible. Out in the distance I could see gannets diving and gulls roiling over the rough water, tumbling over each other it seemed from so far away, and thought they would surely not make it back in this direction. After an hour though the wind shifted and back the birds tumbled, so tantalizingly within distance but the constant wind swatted everything aside. I could not cast 10 yards in front of me. I battled in chest-deep waves (which I guess is not really that deep) to hurl a 2.5oz bucktail far enough to reach the edge of the blitz and nailed a couple barely-legal fish. With the birds and fish came the trucks and the guys who got out, fished for 2 minutes, caught nothing, got back in the truck, drove, LA-style, 30 feet, got back out, fished for 2 minutes…. A few guys were doing alright with metals so I swapped out and did just as well, but with better distance did not come better fish. In fact, I think they actually got smaller.
I finished my season in New Jersey, in the exact same spot as last year—almost on the same rock. More small bass at the Asbury Park shore where I managed to sneak away for last light while the Lady graciously went about Christmas shopping. The week before that I got hammered on the IBSP jetty for a bunch of small bass and several of us almost got a free ride into the inlet behind us on what at first appeared to be a bright, calm morning. The water was clean and cold, and had no concerns if it wanted to pick you up and move you back a few feet.
Now it’s winter and I have nothing to do but play with fishing lures and make (probably) unnecessary modifications to gear. Youtube has plenty of videos for homework, like Rich Troxler’s new surf fishing series , and of course there’s an unending video loop of fish porn to make you feel inadequate. There’s also Peter Laurelli’s new video and it’s been a while, but it’s right up there with his previous work, and there’s even more dimension to this one, even if it’s “only” an 8-minute excerpt of a 20+ minute film that’s to come. The footage this guy gets is just incredible. There’s really no other word for it. Take a few minutes, grab a drink, put the headphones on, and turn the volume up.
I suppose the offseason is time for more than just replacing rusty hooks and watching fishing videos. Than just reevaluating those days you didn’t change your techniques or weren’t humble enough or you slept in a little longer than you should have. Than just planning goals you hope you won’t abandon this year. It’s easy for me in the winter to bury my head in work and drop out until spring, but we’re losing our buddy Dave Cole to the land of AC/DC and the kangaroo, where he will no doubt regale us with stories from his adventures with the Morning Tide Crew.
I met Dave years ago working a Derby table on Bedford Avenue. He likes to tell his friends I’m the first friend he met in NYC that didn’t initially involve drinking or drugs. Dave fished his ass off that Derby and picked up a nice bass on North 5th Pier on an all-night session with Denton. That picture of them late at night under whatever that sculpture is supposed to be is still one of my favorite Derby photos of all time. I remember the first time I fished with Dave—we destroyed two digital cameras and I sunk my phone and learned a valuable “waterproofing” lesson about Ziploc bags. I remember the time in Montauk when he wandered down this gravel drop off near Browns and turned and asked me, “Am I going to regret standing here?” right before getting his ass smashed by a series of waves. I remember teaching him how to use a bail-less reel in the Rockaways and catching my plug on the fence behind us and snapping my rod into 3 pieces. He caught a bunch of fish at that spot one night. He was so stoked, he kept dropping his gear in the wash and his reel got gunked up with sand and he had to go back to the car and get another and then he’d catch another fish. I don’t think I ever caught a fish with Dave; maybe I did, but I always loved fishing with him. It was so easy for him to talk to anyone around us, and we’d get some good stories, then I’d go home and write about it later and now I suck at that. Godspeed, Dave! Take good care of that gigantic VS300, shining like the trophy you deserve. Love ya, dude!