Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Another One Fly

The 3rd Annual One Fly

I looked over to Ken and said, “Well, it seems that the fish have either moved or gone down.” After a short pause Ken scratched his white beard and replied quite calmly, “It’s a good time to have lunch.” A sailboat had just cut through the school of stripers we had spent ten minutes setting up on. They were pressing baitfish against a patch of salt marsh in very skinny water north of High Pines. But this odd timing was just that – odd. We waved, said hellos (I knew the skipper), they continued their daring path sailing southward along the shoreline, surely spooking any other fish along their way. It was high noon and indeed, a good time to have lunch.

So this was the 2009 one fly tournament in Duxbury. The weather was too good, too nice, and it had attracted too many boats. As a result the fishing was tough and frustrating. Ken and I were on different teams yet shared the responsibility of keeping each other honest and striving for the “longest boat” prize. We did this from 10 until 5, which really is the worst slice of time to attempt to catch large stripers. With the sun, high tide, and all the idiots out there slicing up the rips it was just plain frustrating. But not for all of us.

The planning for this event began last fall when our organizing committee (me included) resumed regular evenings at Jon Nash’s house (sometimes Tom Nichols’ or other locations….the Winsor) to scheme out the details. This might actually be more fun than the tournament itself because we can get together, tell jokes, look at charts, drink Tito’s, slurp oysters, and just get outright stupid for a couple hours here and there. The tournament, on the other hand, is more stressful, at least to me. “Come on Brawley, you’re a guide….where are all the fish?” Yes, yes, I know. I fish a lot on the bay, but usually not between 10 and 5.

But besides my obvious whining (above) the event was fun and it is, and will always be a cherished memory. This is because I get to hang out with some of my best friends, go fishing all day, then wine and dine without any feelings of remorse. We gather at the Nash barn, tell funny stories (at least mine are) and feed ourselves the fish we caught that day.

The end of my day on the water, with Ken, was great. We had set up, on his suggestion, along a narrow channel where fish were sure to be using to exit the area at the end of the ebbing tide. This came to be true and we hooked a few there. Ten minutes before the end of the official tournament I lost my fly and proceeded to throw slug-gos out from my spinning rod. I had figured the end was here and I really didn’t have my heart set on the trophy. I just wanted to hook a large fish. So there, in the flat water, my slug-go sidewinded just an inch in depth, and boom, a 30-something bass went over it. Though it never hooked, it took several tries up to the boat (eye to eye) and this made Ken’s juices flow. He quickly threw his fly at the same spot several times. But nothing happened. I put my gear away, looked at my clock to see it was 5:00 pm, and then we both decided it would be best to head in for the party.

Ken took a few fish and I landed one. Earlier that morning, prior to the tournament, Chip Cornell and I had a fantastic time with blitzing schools of stripers. I landed a keeper and Chip released several in the upper 20s. Yet the day ahead was somewhat of a disappointment.

However, the party was the nuts.

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