Contest: 60 Words on Saltwater Contest
“Cast! Cast!” screams the Captain as the marlin he has teased to the boat lights up in an excited flush of neon blue in the prop wash. I dump a 15″ bonito fly unceremoniously in front of the thrashing bill. “Strip!” yells the Captain. My legs turn to mush as the giant fish turns on my fly.
That feeling you get as you step off a plane and your worries melt away like so much else in the equatorial heat. It’s looking into clear water imagining that there are in fact fish in there, millions of them. It’s the possibility and probability that some time soon, one of those fish will be seconds away from inhaling my fly.
Fishing the salt rejuvenates the soul. The pursuit itself awakens a survival instinct buried within us. When connected to a powerful fish, the adrenaline infused joyride livens our spirits–briefly we dance with nature. The vastness and power of the sea remind us that a presence stirs in the universe far greater than ourselves, bigger than we could even dream.
The hard flat sun burned the bay into a plain of sizzling glass, defended by sharpened swordgrass, where copper sentries cloaked in centuries stalked parapets of shell and stone. We now deliver the Trojan Horse of gilt and deception.The trap springs and his world spews and spits and splits the molten mirror. And still the battle.
— Jule McDowell
I’m up early to check the buoys: plenty of wind and the swell is up but still fishable. Perfect big fish weather. Arriving at the ledges in the dark I can hear the waves on the rocks and I string up the ten weight. Not so much for the fish as for the wind, but a guy can hope.
Sand. Ferrules don’t fit right without it. Finds its way into your tent, even if the chick down the beach doesn’t. Gives old reels new sounds. Because scrambled eggs were meant to be crunchy. Gives you a reason to change your underwear. Because every co-ed who’s ever ordered a Sex on the Beach deserves a bit of a let down.
I toss’d dem’ feddas
Made her look ‘dis way.
But she ain’t gonna’ come,
No matter what ‘de guide say.
Seen her stirrin’ de’ mud,
Tail waggin’ so fine,
But now she’s leavin’,
After seein’ ‘de line.
She jus’ ain’t gonna’ come,
Likes all ‘dem times befo’.
It’s ‘dem bonefish blues,
Dues been paid, fo’sho.
Our honeymoon ship stopped in Key West. The kayak guy drove all the way down from mm 14 to pick us up. I’d begged him. Windy, cold, and my bride was miserable paddling her kayak. Shark spotted, bad cast, started stripping anyway. My fly rod became a chainsaw, running. Broke my rod landing the big jack. Good Thing. Still married.
When I was ten years old, a little tarpon was born off Florida’s coast. My teen years, he was growing. While I started a family, he was growing. Last month, our lives intersected–him rolling in a channel, me standing atop a flats boat. He chose this day to engulf my fly
—and created one of the best moments of my life.
I’ve caught twenty-inch rainbows on a two weight. I’ve caught an eight-pound channel cat on a five weight. None of it was ever as fun as casting to a ninety-pound tarpon for eight hours, only to have it refuse, stare me in the eyes and mock my effort.