Monday, December 17, 2012

Rekindling an Old Flame

It's a sad state of affairs for me. I loved to trout fish in my teens. Back then , a friend and I would go at every opportunity and it often seemed we would have whole streams entirely to ourselves. It was a fun couple of years , but then I developed a taste for warm water fishing.

Bass and catfish sang a siren song that drew me increasingly to the riverbank for all night sessions of bait fishing debauchery. The trout had lost their standing to slightly larger and harder fighting fish. This started a disturbing downward trend in the number of days I spent on the water.

Soon enough , I was a lure throwing machine. I would spend every weekend thrashing the brush at the lake in search of largemouth or dragging topwater lures ever so slowly through shallow water at the back of a cove. I don't think it was ever meant to last.

As if it had been preordained , I hooked my first Striper while bass fishing on the upper end of the lake. I never landed that first Striper , but I did get a good look at him has he made off with a five dollar crankbait. He seemed to be four feet long and made of mercury , a shimmering mass of silver flesh throbbing at the end of my line for what seemed an eternity , while the drag on my reel screamed like a banshee. Sadly , the Leviathan's initial run was of greater scope and power than what bass reels and eight pound line are designed to handle. I like to think that I could have went back to trout fishing before that fateful day , but alas , something broke inside of me and I have since been a very different kind of fisherman.

I'm no longer content to stumble blindly along a stream listening to the tinkling of water rushing over rocks. Listening to the splunk-splunk-splunk of a topwater plug seems tedious. Now I long for the sound of thousands of baitfish leaving the water to escape marauding schools of linesiders intent on their destruction. And yet , even as I write this , I question my devotion to my beloved Striped Bass.

The pounding of the surf calls me , as does the laughter of gulls. Zip-lining a bluefish off the end of a pier on a King rig , only to have a King Mackerel pull a sky job on it as soon as it hits the water , changes something. Seeing a Cobia open its mouth to swallow a bluefish whole , seconds before your bait clicker snarls to life like an unoiled chainsaw , changes everything.

There is no going back to the misspent years of my teens and my love for trout , try as I might. Instead it has become a pilgrimage of sorts , something I do to pay homage to the fish and streams I cut my teeth on. I'm OK with that.

Have a great week my friends! With any luck , I'll be back to trout fishing after the dawn of the New Year.

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