Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Tranquility at the End

Well, I need to wrap up 2006, and I have fallen considerably behind . So, I am not going to try and remember each and every outing since my weekend with Chip. But I remember the essence of the final month or so of fishing in Duxbury.

The fish lasted quite some time. I continued to find blues and bass in numbers throughout the first few weeks of October. Then the blues took off. But bass were still numerous, often congregating in the dog leg and just east towards Clarkes Island. Other times they were bunched up against the beach.

The final days of fishing the 2006 season were solo, except for one last day with my neighbor Frank Tenaglia. On a whim one Saturday afternoon we threw some gear in the truck, grabbed a few Heinekens, and were soon on the glassy water. The air was cold and the sun was sinking fast. I took us to a little rip just south of Clarkes Island and we hooked up immediately. Every cast a nice 22” fish. Then, as the sun sank and the colors turned bright tan, we fished along the western shore of the beach…near High Pines. Lots of schoolies. I hooked a bunch on the fly and on rubber shads and the like. Frank and I had a blast. At one point he looked to me and then to the almost-setting sun: “Shit man, why would anyone want to live anywhere else? We are so fucking lucky, aren’t we?” I agreed wholeheartedly because he was right. I joined Frank's gaze toward the backlit island and sighed in pleasure. But I didn’t want to push my luck so I said, "We'd better head in now and make sure we keep out of trouble."

On our way in Skip Bennett intercepted us along the northern side of the bay. The water was glassy smooth and the sun was just inches from touching the treeline on the horizon. We docked up to one another and drifte lazily in the calm water. Skip had just harvested thousands of oysters and had them all sitting right there in front of us in bins and buckets. They were spilling over and Skip had a hard time avoided them with his feet. I had a knife and so we started shucking. We slurped down a bunch of them – the best in the world – and finished what was left of the Heinekens. The sun set and twilight set in. We told stories and laughed. We admired the beauty and in silence, we all knew what we were thinking - much the same of what Frank proclaimed earlier. It was an absolutely awesome evening and we all felt lucky to be alive.

We finally realized it was time to head in. And we did. And that was the last night out fishing on the bay in 2006.

Compound Fracture 9/24/06

Part 3.

On Sunday morning we rose to marginal weather. It was cloudy, a bit drizzly, and the wind was there although we couldn’t really assess its strength from the driveway. After a little coffee we trudged out to the truck, loaded up, and drove the 1.5 miles to the dock.

On the water: not too bad but not that great. I took us out to the middle of the bay where most of the schools from the day before were found. But we found nothing there. The tide was quite low and still draining, the wind from the SW and threatening to pick up, so I guessed that we ought to visit a few narrow, very shallow, eelgrass fringed channels on the southern side of the bay. We motored out there and immediately my bet was paid off because there were fish everywhere. And we were the only boat. Now a little fog mixed in and as we marveled at the dawn colors, I set us up onto a few drifts through this narrow channel – bounded by sand bars and eelgrass, and fog.

Chip was psyched. Every cast produced a fish. These were small fish, but the action was great and Chip, on his fly rod, was enjoying himself to no end.

And then it happened: Chip high-sticked his rod and , it shattered about 7 inches from the tip.

“Fuck!” he yelled into the fog. “Fucking shit!” he yelled again. “Piece of shit! I can’t believe this…..….fuckin’-A, man…” His anger tailed off to resignation and he accepted his fate. The rod, a nice custom that he purchased in Greenwich, was total history. This was the third such episode I witnessed – unfortunately, with Chip – over the past year and because of this coincidental, or rather, predictive self-repeating phenomenon – I couldn’t help but laugh uncontrollably. It was kind of like a TV show: poor guy pays the price of poor luck while the others laughs in disbelief. But it sucked nevertheless.

I had an extra spinning rod all set to go and we continued for a while. Chip caught plenty of fish, but the pain of his rod’s compound fracture still seethed within. After some time my phone rang and it was Don Gunster. He was on his way out of the harbor in his 23-foot Grady White and wanted to know where the action was. I told him our coordinates and soon he was nearby. However, Chip and I decided that we should head in, get some breakfast, and grab at least one of my fly rods for the remainder of the day. We headed toward Duxbury and on the way stopped along Captain’s Flats for good measure. Don followed us through the shallows and immediately found himself grounded on a shallow bar. The tide had just turned, so his wait was probably not too long. But he was bummed. We continued on – poor fellow – and scanned through the northern side of the bay before heading in. The sun was peaking through and we were hopeful that the weather would hold throughout the day.

It didn’t.

After breakfast we returned to the bay, which was now rolling and heaving. Sun and clouds and fast SW gusts. The seas were up and rolling us around. But we found the fish. Schools of stripers were found just north of Clarke Island and many were spread between the island and Eagles Nest. They’d come up, feed voraciously, then go down and pop up a quarter mile away. We chased them and caught many, then moved into Eagles Nest for a spell before heading into port. Chip had a flight to catch and the conditions were worsening.

We returned to the house, ate some lunch, and Chip departed in his rental car for Logan. It wasn’t what I hoped for – the weather – but we had fun and did manage to hook up, and break a rod or two.


Monday, January 22, 2007

Leonard Nimoy - Ballad of Bilbo Baggins (MZK)

I thought this cheesy little ditty would provide some limited entertainment for those who happen upon this page...I'll complete 2006 soon.