Editor’s Log: A Bad Night? - The Fisherman

Editor’s Log: A Bad Night?

After making a late-innings call to reschedule a blackfish trip with Capt. Jason Colby because of an ugly forecast calling for big seas that would have made shooting video next to impossible (and then seeing that the seas never really came up to forecasted heights), I decided to try and salvage the day by fishing for stripers after dinner. There were hard winds coming out of the northwest, but the night was beautiful and dark, the seas were raucous but manageable and it felt like a decent night to fish one of my favorite spots to swim a needlefish.

I won’t bore you with the details of the fishing because it was honestly one of the deadest nights I’ve ever experienced in that spot. But we covered a ton of water, deep and shallow, wind-blown and sheltered, and there just weren’t any fish in the area that were willing to play. Once we made the call to toss in the towel, I started to get a little down on myself for making the late decision to go and for calling my buddy last minute and rousing him from a warm night at home with the wife.

Back at the parking spot, Keith thanked me for calling him out and I kind of chuckled and said, “You probably wish I hadn’t!” Of course, Keith and I have endured plenty of skunkings in between the epic nights we’ve shared and we both understand that fishless nights are part of the grind. But these thoughts weren’t doing much to lift my spirits.

As I drove away from the parking spot, I took a few minutes to replay the night. Within minutes of stepping into the dark surf and firing my first cast with an old Hab’s needlefish, I looked into the sky and saw a downright majestic shooting star, a long-track, slow-burner with a bright white tip and a faint, dusty tail. I remember watching it dip close to the water and wondering if it might have plunged into the ocean. When we were walking between spots, I again turned my eye to the sky and spotted Mars, a flame-colored orb among the millions of perfect white stars and it was one of those nights when all of the stars, along with the black-blue universe behind them, appeared to be in a higher focus and resolution than anything else the naked eye can see. Almost like it would be impossible for things so far away to look so crisp in the moonless dark.

Without even realizing it, I was counting deer on the way home. It’s really kind of amazing how they seem to roam neighborhoods like zombies during the ‘non-human hours’. There were does everywhere, standing in driveways, nibbling untrimmed grass around the post of a mailbox and two more standing mere feet from the snoring windows of a dark house. I passed several on the road, flabbergasted old ladies hurrying out of my headlights. One of the things I love about them is how they appear to pretend not to look as you rumble past.

As I continued to ride along, every house, every window, was dark. I started to feel lucky, seeing all these things that the hundreds of sleeping people in those dark houses probably never see. I know how odd it sounds to a non-fisherman, working all day and then choosing to stay out past 2 a.m. casting into a fishless ocean. And even though so many of my trips are successful, when you take a minute to see the forest for the trees, it becomes a lot easier to find the benefits that come from every trip—they’re all just another link in the chain of the life of an angler and I wouldn’t trade them for anything.


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