Tomorrow is the big day; Ellen and Reid will know of things early on. I suppose one aspect of a letter is to put things ‘out there’ and in some ways it’s easier to put ideas on paper than it might be in words.
January 20, 2015
Ellen/Reid: To judge by the photo of you and Emma lounging in the pool with the Sea of Cortez behind you, Ellen, you got precisely what you wanted on the trip to Mexico. Reid, I assume you were out of camera range with a cold adult beverage in your hand. Of course, I need to hear all about the details, so don’t be too sparing about things.
It truly was a cathartic trip for me. I left behind the events of the last 10 days by hitting the road on Thursday night and sleeping when I got tired at various rest stops all along the way. You’d be surprised at how hard I zonked out. It was amazing. I can’t recall ever doing such an overnight drive. Dave and I had a good time in Florida. The weather was warm, sunny and pleasant. The Camry rolled into Dave’s place about 10 a.m. I was refreshed and ready to go. We headed to his boat club to fish the Intracoastal but all we caught on our frozen shrimp were a few small pufferfish type things. The next morning we didn’t get on the water with the other kayakers, and as noted before, that was really no big deal. We did make it to the Captain’s party, which was great fun. There are one hell of a lot of serious kayak fishermen.
You only had to go to the morning launch of the tournament. I mean, my rig is elementary (and far less costly) than the elaborate outfits we saw, from kayaks sporting live wells, two GoPro cameras, technology from depth indicators to fish finders, to other assorted – and expensive – gizmos. Our boats are naked compared to those. Maybe that’s why they catch fish and we don’t. On Sunday we ventured out into deep water, but aside from one strong jolt, we didn’t have any luck. We did intersect the small flotilla of kayakers. One guy was from Charlotte, and he’d landed the only sailfish among the group on Sunday. If his catch stood, he’d bank the $3,000 first place check. Dave and I weren’t entirely skunked; in the small pond out behind his house we caught a big 7 lb. bowfin, which is an ancient fish and highly edible although we allowed it to go free. But we agreed it was still great fun, and we’ll return next year to the Smackdown as bona fide entrants. I did buy some swordfish at the market this morning in observance of the tournament.
The intent was to make it home ASAP on Monday, but when I was about to drive past the exit to Beaufort, South Carolina, the car made a sudden veer to the right and headed down Routes 17 and 21 in search of a place on the Intracoastal. I put in at Gray’s Hill Landing and paddled around for a few hours but didn’t land anything. It was some solace that three boats of locals didn’t report a single bite either. It felt like one of my better forays in terms of technique and baits and presentation. There were just no bites.
My surgery is a week from today. The more I read, the more hopeful I become although I’m sure part of that is wishful thinking. Depth seems to be a big deal, and given the nickel-sized chunk of my right forearm removed during the ‘scoop’ biopsy, it’s no wonder the dermatologist wondered aloud if that procedure got all of it. She may get a call from me to reiterate what she told me just so I’m on the same page with her and the surgeon. His resume looks to be pretty extensive so that’s where my trust will go. One of the reasons I went down to Florida, and later kayak near Beaufort, was because I can either mope and whine, or get on with things. The latter seems much more preferable. If/when the surgery gets the ‘clear margins’ the docs and the literature talk about, then we’ll celebrate in style. I’ll head back down to ‘The Barge’ and fish with cut bait, Reid, like our new acquaintance Ryan. There won’t be any leaving without something on the stringer, and it won’t be small fry. We’ll come home with the real thing.