I was looking forward to getting some stripers to bite on the fly I tied up last night. I got out early on the outgoing stepping foot on the sand around 420 am. I started a cast count, that way I would know how irresistible the fly was to a hungry fish. I figured if one hit in the first 10 casts then I had a winner. I stopped counting at 20. I fished along the beach finding some real good structure and rips but the fish weren't there, weren't hungry, or were laughing at my fly. I did get a small cocktail blue to take the fly but he flipped of as I reached for my camera. But today the best part wasn't about the fishing.
I saw Al down the beach from where I was in ankle high water throwing a Clouser in the wash. Al goes back and forth between the fly and spin rod and I am always happy to see him throw the fly rod. We eventually met up and talked about what we did and didn't do up to that point in the morning. We talked about the bait, the tide, the wind, the approaching clouds, the lack of fish....and then I realized how much the relationships I develop while I fish mean to me. I love to fish alone, and I love to make images of anglers fishing alone....but I enjoy the camaraderie and friendship that I share with people who have the same love of fly fishing as I do.
When I catch a fish, or when a friend catches a fish.....we can't wait to hear the details as if we are re-living that moment as our own. Yesterday when I texted Al that I caught a striper he texted back, "I'll be dammed. Where, when, how. Want to relive with you". And if you are telling or listening you're just as excited as the person who caught the fish. You can almost picture it as if you are there at that very moment.
Although today I was strictly just trying to field test my fly and see if something would bite, it became a nice morning of standing next to a friend tossing flies in the wash. I forget sometimes that Al is twice my age, with me at 44 and him at, well if you can't do the math, 88. He has probably caught more fish then days that I am alive, well maybe not, that's 44 years times 365 days which would be 16,060 striped bass, and sorry I don't think he's logged that many! But his experience of fishing for over 50 years is evident every time we fish together or talk about fishing because I learn something every time.