Fish 1, Dave 0…


If your diet of fish depended in large part on my abilities as an angler, you’d be better served by making a bee line to the frozen fish section for Mrs. Paul’s. My first foray into salt water was a bust. But I’m rarin’ to try again. I can’t wait.

———————

June 30, 2014

Ellen/Reid: Reid, you’d better not be too scant on the details of the trip to Israel. You went for a wedding but that’s about the extent of the knowledge on this end. You’ll read this days after you return but I can’t wait for pictures and details of your latest adventure.What a traveler.

Cute photo of you and Emma with Nonnie, Ellen. That was very sweet. The Art Festival looked fun, too. Hopefully the weather was cooperative, which it hasn’t been all the time. I’ve still got a couple of artist catalogs laying around here from when I last attended. The plan was to buy a few objects for the house but never got around to it. Instead, my decor is almost entirely golf.

But after this weekend there may be a few fishing items strewn about. The kayak trip to Oak Island was just a fabulous time. It really was. There were a series of tactical blunders that led to no fish – as in zero – being boated, but that was almost beside the point. It was honestly a shake down cruise to get my feet wet in a kayak for the very first time. I put in at the public kayak ramp on 31st Street S.E. which made the getting in and out a whole lot easier. It was along a finger of the Intercoastal waterway which was probably 20 – 30 yards wide at the max. The Intercoastal itself was about five miles away according to one of the staff at the dock. She said most fisher-people put in closer to if not on the Intercoastal, and in hindsight (always the best teacher) I might have been better served and hooked more fish had I put in where she suggested. But I was bound and determined to do it my way and it worked out okay.

As NASA might say, we had ideal launch conditions for the Miss Emma at Oak Island. The kayak worked perfectly; the operator, not so much.

As NASA might say, we had ideal launch conditions for the Miss Emma at Oak Island. The kayak worked perfectly; the operator, not so much.

Unfortunately, no fish were harmed during the foray. There were lots of strikes but I must’ve been asleep at the switch when it came to hooking them. I did manage to hook a 14 – 15” flounder which must’ve been starving. But it wiggled off at the side of the kayak just as I was yelling “I caught a fish!” No matter. At least something was caught. It’s just a learning process. Of course, I was about one-third of the way on my drift with the tide when I struck up a conversation with a guy fishing just below his house. I asked what was biting (“a lot” he said) and what bait he was using, and once he saw my offering he opined that it was too large (almost all my bait was of the same size). So he told me to sit tight/tread water while he raced to his house and returned with a bag of Gulp baits and some lead head jigs. The jigs and the white plastic lures were much smaller shad imitations than I had, and after thanking him profusely, I re-started my drift and almost instantly started to get some serious bites. The problem was the fish bit off the tail portion of each of the baits he’d given me, and in no time I was reduced to using what I brought. Nibbles tailed off considerably after that so next time I’ll come armed with the right lures in size and quantity. That guy, Eric, taught me a lot.

That wasn’t the only thing I learned. Notably, I found out it’s easy to go with the tide but there’s straight hell to pay to paddle back against it. The first three hours were fun just moseying along and by the time I thought to head back, a little over three miles, the tide was against me in full force. I mean, I grossly underestimated it. It was exhausting to paddle against it. I counted progress in yards and the return trip was utter drudgery. But it was overcast and rainy, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching what lived on the banks. Once I dragged my carcass to the take out spot, it took me 90 minutes to stow everything and wrestle the Ocean Kayak Trident 13 atop the car. But I can tell you this: I can’t wait to put the boat in the water again, and very soon. It was everything I thought it would be and then some. I hesitate to say ‘Fish, watch out’ but I’ll bring a bag to keep one or two.

Love, Dad

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