Wednesday, May 22, 2013
The Lucky Spot
I awake with a cold nose on my neck its still dark not even any moon light peeking through the window I try to listen closely to the wind but all can hear is panting and a collar jangling to and fro. I peek at the clock 5:30 right on time I haven't set it since I adopted my puppy last November it been almost a year and besides a few misses he wakes me like clockwork. I roll the handle down from my lazy boy and drop my legs to the ground in a ungracefully plop been sleeping here since I rung my back out hiking the smokies back in May. I stand stretch and moan my knees and back pop simultaneously I whisper an old favorite I'm much to young to feel this dam old, sleeping for months in a chair will do that to you I flick my flops on and step to the bathroom to see man about a horse my dog continuously by my side I step back out grab his leash open the door to the apartment and rumble down the stairs. The breeze outside is chilly but not cold and smells of the first days of fall. The wind is out of the south west and the tide should be high at nine got to get moving. Rush the dog up and stumble back up the steps head to the fridge stumbling over a rubber bone and half a rope that I swear was longer when I went to bed. I fumble with the gate grab a cup from the strainer and get the jug out and fill the glass to the top and gulp down the sweet smooth tea ahhh. I toss some chicken like treats to Levi and grab a slice of cold pizza, perfect to fix this headache. Minutes later I'm dressed and headed to the car I jump in crank it up and immediately pull away while running the window down. There isn't much traffic yet but I'm sure Fridays rush will catch one of the poor working stiffs I'm sitting next to at the light but me I'm headed in the other direction I can smell it before I can see it the sweet air sours with the smell of the Patapsco its a good smell like the hoppyness in a good beer. As I cross Stoney Creek I get my first glimpse of water the breeze is steady here not subtle as it was 2 miles inland but still out of the south west. I make my left and head deep into the neighborhood passing people jogging and loafing to there cars almost to the end I pull in open the gate and head for the garage roll open the door and start to gather my gear. My kayak is all rigged up on its cart and ready to go I at least got that much right before I decided to go out and have a few which led to many. I roll it to my car and push it up on the rack throw my rods on top and jump in its half a block to the launch. The lot is empty except for the squirrels and a lonely goose. I drag the boat down grab my cooler and rods and begin to rig her up. The water is cold on my feet as I steady the boat and sit down summer has finally given up its hold but the fish are here like always I know they are. It will be a tough paddle quartering the wind for the first half so that I can get below the hump and drift to the north east across it. there not much cover here just mud bottom theres rocks near but not here nobody would fish here and I would not have either if it weren't by chance along while ago. Its just a small hump indistinguishable from the rest but different in every way. Its subtle in direction steepness not much but enough or so I guess it has been the spot long before I started paddling to it back when a motor on a small john boat unfit for the bay and a old fish finder found it by accident. Its where the motor stopped running and where we dropped anchor to work on the motor and decided to fish and drink where we sat. It turned out to be productive we caught our limit in minutes beautiful fat bellied stripped bass on a small hump most just ride by to get to the good spots. So we fished it every year for awhile and it produced more than not and then it was forgotten. But now I paddle and fish and the spot is close enough to get to only about 1/2 mile out so I have to get back there but with no electronics it gotta be by feel alone I know where it is in my minds eye. Halfway there and the wind seems to be picking up the closer I get to where I want to turn and jig past where I think I should be . I feel exhausted already as the fog starts to clear from my head I paddle a little further and hydrate before I turn. I run where I think my spot is with no luck I know Im close three more long paddles and nothing. Finally I readjust take my bearings and head a little east. I'm the only one out here but when I turn I can almost see that old boat anchor there where we used to fish . I ready my rod and slow jig as I drift north east the wind has slowed and the drift is perfect three twitches in and I feel it not a strike but weight then nothing then bam FISH ON I hold on for the sleigh ride shes dragging me to the channel like she can see the cruise ship bearing down on us I pull back and tighten my drag she darts left and then right I'm wearing here down she slows my anxiety grows I really want this one in the boat she dives and then turns course I paddle with my free hand to turn around as I pull on the rudder with my feet and finally I swing side saddle and crank she headed to me . As she come across my bow I see her side flash in the sun shes a hog the sweat beads down my nose as I pull her closer I reach hard almost pulling my self in touch is fleeting as she humps backwards out of my reach then NOOOOO! the line goes slack she gone. I paddle back to the start beating my self up how could I let her go so close. I drift many more times with no bites now running low I turn west and head back to the beach. I may not have caught her but the lucky spot never fails I don't know whats on that hump I just know it there.