So yesterday I talked about an intersection, a six point meet-up that had to happen to catch a big fish this spring. Well, a few nights ago I was at the intersection, traffic all going by, and I just proverbially sat in my car and never traversed through. Todays corny analogy will be like going to a dance.
So you're nerdy high school kid and the annual dance is coming. It's a singles dance, no date required. You find out the details, time, location, and attire. You know about this dance a year in advance, it happens just about the same time each year. So you count down in your head for that big day.
The year turns into months, then weeks, then days. The dance falls just about the week of the Pink Moon in April. You buy your suit. You check your outfit every day. You even go to the location of the dance many, many times before just so you know how to get there, what the place looks like, who may be doing the same thing.
The week arrives and its all a buzz of when it ill go down. We're just days away. So when the day hits you shower up, you do some stretches, you check yourself, and then you go. You nervously get there too early, sitting in our car, walking around, even checking in and standing there like an idiot. When the time is right others come, at the right time. You suddenly feel out of place.
Your goal is to get the girl, preferably one of the bigger ones in the class. Now as people arrive the music starts, people pair up, and you watch and wish you can only have what others have at that moment. You are at the dance, you made it, you did it.
But then the time is flying by, you are nervous, sweating, almost in pain watching others have so much fun. You are asked several times to take photos of others having a blast. In fact, you should take off your jacket and put on one that has "Photo" on its back, so people know what you are truly there for.
And with the bottom of the ninth inning near, you position yourself near the edge of the dance floor. Music pumping, people are feeling it, and then you see a few girls on the edge of the floor, out of reach, out of earshot. In order to get them you would have to cross the dance floor itself, but that is too risky. So, what do you do, what did I do? I called out, "Would you like to dance". "Hello, what about me?". My words are far too short for the big girls to hear, and any scrawny little ones in front of me never turn laugh, never acknowledging my offering.
So, I raise my voice, loudly, boldly, hurriedly, "Hey, do you want to dance?".....and then the lights come on and its over. Done, later, see you next year. All I can do is kick the balloons on the way out, dejected, loser, knowing that I am not a dancer at this type of party, and should spend my time smarter maybe targeting the cuter little girls, and guys, that will be more eager to dance with me.
So do you feel me? Since moving out here I have wanted to learn, and I have, spent a great deal of time in and around the river. I have traveled it and even experienced other rivers to the north that have a similar, yet different, yearly ritual. I have been lucky, got a few good ones here and there, but I haven't got that fish, in that place, at that time, on that day, like I was so trying to get.
I can remember those early morning and late afternoon blitzes from Long Branch to Asbury Park around 8-10 years ago. Me standing there with my fly rod, as anglers stand waiting for the bunker to get pushed in, there vertical swords having their weapons clipped in, Danny's, swimmers, poppers, metal Lips, pencils, and snag hooks. And then there's me, standing there on the beach end of the groin holding a 10 weight with a five inch Deceiver tied to the end. And yes, then too, I had my camera ready to capture others peoples joy.
So this year the moon bought the goodness. Big tides, each way, water temps that were holding but jumped up on the moon and the south winds, and fish that are doing what they are supposed to have done and do. They are in the ocean in February and in March start their way up river to do two things, spawn and eat, which can be in either order. You know when you see big girls with eggs, or post spawn, without. Those fish are lighter and leaner, but need to build up energy to get back to the ocean to spend the summers off Cape Cod.
Sometimes fish eat what is front of them, they choose where and when to eat. You can't reach for a fork, or a snack, if its way on the other side of the table, as Mom used to say, "Eat what's in front of you". And how it goes down are big plugs and or 2 ounce swim shads casting way out and then down, and then around and then quickly in, in water that moves from right to left at a pace that is quicker then you can strip your line through, and forget about it getting in down, and especially if there are others fishing, or, unless you can cast a 60 foot 550 gr sinking line with a 15 foot backcast, don't forget about the trees and the now non-submerged bunkers from last century.
So last night I did it right, got there good, walked a lot, my ass hurting me from the days rectal exam and testosterone shot courtesy of my doctor, and fly fishing buddy Brendan Muholland. But last night I had as secret weapon, my 12 weight with a 550 gr sinking line and the above fly, a real beauty, it was "perfect" and would be effective. I would compete with the ripping current, and the mega shads and lead head jigs that have been very successful, I've seen it with my own eyes.
I am now carrying two rods, like Two-Rod Mike, MC55, from Stripers Online, who walks the beach with a duo of weapons. My 10 and 12 weights, 350 and 550 gr, three new sweet flies, and a confidence it would happen. So lets just say, I made it to the dance, and left home very disappointed.
Within 20 minutes I fell onto a large rock on my right buttock that I thought the pain from the injection would cause me to have a stroke. The spot was now infiltrated by anglers who I haven't seen this spring. My "early spots" sucked and I donated to the river my prized beloved fly, 6/0 tied on a jig hook, and another Andrew-kinda-loooking-but-not-close kind of large herring fly. I also donated two other flys before settling in on the side of the dance floor watching others enjoy what I came for in the first place.
Yes, fly fishing is wonderful, I feel connected, I feel happy, I feel all Orvisy, me and the outdoors, one with nature, the challenge of the fly.....alright fuck all that, I have focused on this week, those fish, and it didn't come. You know, sometimes you have tip your hat to those fish that you can't catch, and others can. You can do what you can do, one day, most likely when its least expected, one of those dancing big girls will come up to me and ask me to dance, when all the stars align, and hopefully I will be able to say yes, hold her hand, dance, and then let her go back into the crowd.