With the calendar page officially flipped to September, we are entering that part of the season where time seems to move faster than it does at any other time during the year. I swear, each week of this month seems like its own mini season; the first week often feels like summer might never end, the second week typically reminds us that fall is coming, the third week feels like fall is upon us and the fourth feels like October. Fishing through the 30 days of September is like trying to hold water in your cupped hands and the opportunities presented in each day tend to be gone (or at least different) the next; so don’t let it get away from you.
One of the things I love most about September is also one of the hardest things about it: there is good reason to fish every single day. I often find myself wanting to do more than my body and mind can handle, every day can be an albie day, togging is great, stripers are feeding day and night, largemouth bass are strapping the feedbag on. And there are the invites, friends calling to ask if I want to go for albies, or head out for tog and the near-constant chess game of matching tide with wind for a night in the surf. But, I’m not 25 anymore, I can’t say yes to everyone, I can’t always do every possible thing that feels like a sure thing and I can’t string zero sleep days together like I once could.
But that’s not the problem. In the years that have separated me from the person I was ‘back then’ I have also matured to ‘be okay with’ missing out on something in favor of another thing that I made the decision to prioritize. I used to live in crippling fear of missing out on a killer bite, but these days I can just be happy for the people that were there and live vicariously through them. The real problem, for me, is nagging temptation.
Let’s say I fished an early night tide in the surf and was in bed by 1 a.m., the subconscious part of my brain will be thinking about the fact that I could cash in on some early morning albies if I can bank three hours of sleep. Sometimes it leeches into my conscious mind and it starts this burning feeling in my stomach that’s about half excitement and half anxiety. Most of the time, I can still fall asleep and then my subconscious mind, that seems to know how to count minutes, will wake me up – with no alarm – about an hour before first light. This hour is key because it gives me enough time to talk myself into it and before I know it I’m leaving a note, in the most cheerful writing voice I can muster, explaining where I am and that I hope they (my wife and daughter) have a great day at school. By the time evening rolls around the feeling will be back—should I go throw a big swimbait for largemouth? Should I go back for an albie encore? Should I go pencil the whitewater at last light for a topwater striper? Or should I act on the text I just got from my friend out on the Cape?
I feel like I live my best life in September, but – to the unknowing outside – I probably look like I need an intervention, and an argument could be made that they’re right. September is a good problem to have.