Some days are better than others

Some days are better than others

A guest blog by David Caprera

We got to bed in New Smyrna Beach about 2am Wednesday morning (our flight landed about midnight in Orlando).  I went out fishing in my kayak Wednesday afternoon, saw three fish, caught none, lost interest, played 9 year old kid at the frog pond and came back with three crabs, six dog whelk, one horse conch, and seven oysters (one was a mudder.)

Pulling the kayak out I wrenched my back.  Bad.  It was a four Ibuprophin, two martini, back ache.  I woke up this morning and could not even roll out of bed.  (In our bathroom, the toilet paper is on the opposite wall… Too much information, but I digress.)

It was a drop dead gorgeous day.  I got up, sat on the dock, drank my coffee.  At eleven, my back was feeling a bit better.  I ran for 36 minutes on the beach, REAL SLOW. It loosened up.  I had lunch.  At 1:30, I could not stand it anymore, and in some discomfort, dragged the kayak to the ramp and set off.

I went to Raccoon Bay, my closest spot.  Visibility was good, but no fish. I continued west, poled a mile of shore and still not a single sighting.  I crossed the cut to the Redfish Motel (the redfish get in but they never leave – kinda like Hotel California.) It was 3:30, calm and clear.  Poling down the west side, 50 yards ahead, I see a splash.  Probably a mullet.  Another splash, more like a tail.  I cross.

And there they are.  Two beautiful copper torpedoes, cruising ten feet off the bank, not too fast but with purpose.  I position the kayak about 60 feet from them and cast a crab fly ten feet in front of their path.  Stop.  Bump.  Bump.  Strike.  Charge.  Fish on.

Nice redfish.  The reel clicks whir. (I don’t use Abels anymore because I love the sound.) Now he is towing the kayak.  It is a fucking sleigh ride. In my delirium I start singing, “Rudolph the red nose redfish, had a very shiny nose.” Easter weekend no less.  It has been a tough couple of months, fishing wise.  It felt good, primeval, to feel the pull at the other end. My backache is cured.  (Later I determine the cure is temporary.)

“And if you ever saw him, you would say it really glows.” You can sing along the rest.  In my euphoria, the only word I changed was “redfish” for “reindeer.”

I get the redfish close to the kayak and try to grab the leader.  I fail to hold on.  But that makes it an “official catch.” (I have questioned this.  I picture a poor, subsistence fisherman living in a debt laden country, say Greece, coming home.  “Boy, we are going to eat well tonight.  I caught three fish.” “Where are they dad?” “Well I didn’t actually put them in the boat but I touched the leader.  Doesn’t that count?”)

But the redfish stayed hooked and I did bring it to the boat.  It measured 26 inches. It was hooked in the lip and with a bit of wiggling the hook came free.  I grabbed the fish’s tail and it swam away.

Guides say that ” practice casting makes you a better fisherman.” I will tell you what makes you a better fisherman, “catching fish.” I had been fishing lethargically, with little effort.  Catch a fish and now you are charged.  Let’s go find another one.  I had two more shots this afternoon.  I failed with both but the sight was good and the casts were crisp. One was in deeper water and I lost sight of the fish, the other was weird in that the cast was good but I think he may have sensed my presence and ignored the fly.

It is 7 pm, I have taken my vodka and vermouth back medicine, and a beautiful sunset is commencing. Some days are better than others.

David Caprera is a talented writer who writes entertaining stories about catching, and not catching, fish with fly tackle. He splits his time between New Smyrna Beach and Denver.

All content in this article, including writing and photos, copyright John Kumiski 2015. All rights are reserved.