Life balance is not always easy to maintain. Just like all of us, there are many roles I need to play to live a normal life, and I want to play all of these roles well. I need to be a solid husband, I need to meet all my work deadlines and – what’s most important to me – is I need to be a good and present father. So, when my wife asked me if I would mind if she and my daughter went away for an overnight, Saturday into Sunday, on the weekend of Father’s Day, I didn’t have to think about it, of course I didn’t mind.
I thought ahead to what should be a great weekend for fishing, I knew I would be able to fish like I did when I was 25 and no one could stop me! As the weekend approached, I had been out of the local surf scene for most of the week, I was at the Canal for work, early mornings shooting video with Yo-Zuri during a particularly lame set of tides. I was getting reports and they were good, friends were catching fish from 20 to 40 pounds in several areas. On that Friday, I was feeling torn, I didn’t want to blow my one night of guilt-free fishing on a non-productive spot, so I decided to try one spot Friday, and if it didn’t pan out, then I could focus on the others the following night.
So that’s what I did. One thing I didn’t really consider was how late the tide was for that Friday spot. On the water at 11 p.m. and getting home around 4:30 a.m.…that takes its toll, especially when you know you’ll be up at 7:30. The fishing in the Friday spot was completely dead, not even a hit, at least I could cross that one off the list.
The other half of having the house to oneself is a long list of things that should get done begins to write itself inside your head. Exhausted, but determined, I tried to check off as many as I could—one of the tasks that didn’t get done was an afternoon nap.
Around 4 p.m. the wind started to howl, experience told me that it would kill a couple of the spots I had on my ‘maybe’ list. High tide was around 10:40 p.m. so I planned to start at high water, giving up on a couple incoming spots that would be tough to fish in that particular wind. I put the Sox game on and watched a few innings, next thing I knew I was waking up on the couch, as my blurry eyes focused on the clock it was 9:54 p.m. Feeling lazy and comfortable, I almost talked myself out of going at all, but I dragged my butt off the couch, slid into my cold wetsuit and drove myself to the spot on pure will.
As predicted, the hard winds had kicked up a good surf and, being alone, I was apprehensive about fighting those waves to get to my rock. I stood in the shallow wash and gunned a darter into the night, a fish crushed the plug and popped off—then nothing for like 15 casts. I switched to a Hab’s needle and hooked up immediately, that fish popped off too! Then not another hit for at least 15 more casts!
Meanwhile, the building sea was beating me up good. So I made a play for the rock 30 yards out and in neck-deep water. When I stood on the rock, the swells were passing at knee height. My first two casts produced fish in the 20-pound class and I had two more before the tide window closed. A solidly productive hour standing on my rock.
When I got back to the truck, the weight of my pre-fishing pulled me down and the howling winds convinced me to go home and sleep. A full night of guilt-free fishing had been whittled down to two hours in the spot I knew had the best chance of producing. I can’t say I felt great about it when I woke up, but I did feel well-rested and refreshed. Priorities can change in the blink of an eye.