Thursday, August 17, 2017

13

That's the goal. I just spoke with Mike Maxwell and Philippe Rochat on my way into the neighborhood after work, as they prepare for the Howie Behr Hybrid Tournament this weekend. Behr's Bait and Tackle projects that the winner will weigh-in two hybrids at a total of about 13 pounds.

I told them they have stiff competition. They know it. But they do have a secret weapon. Our rally curbside confident and strong, I know they must have a chance, because I've seen unexpected things happen, but some of the guys who fish Spruce Run Reservoir are practiced like professionals.

So my favorite number gets sent out worldwide as a prayer for Michael and his friend. I've been behind them along in their effort towards this tournament, and if Jim Morrison cares for a dedicated admirer, I know Michael is the one to give a nod after the album title. 

The Dog of Odysseus Before the Arrows



That week's vacation I mentioned in an earlier post is over as of this past Monday. It seemed to pass too quickly, until the charter trip sort of took me out to sea. And in fact. The next morning, my family boarded a Boeing 737 at 8:00 a.m. in Newark. Haven't flown with United in many decades. Landed at Bush International, Houston, and though we boarded again on Sunday at 7:44 p.m., it felt as though we had spent a week.

My nephew Michael got married to Melissa on Saturday. They had previously vacationed in New Orleans and visited a great plantation outside the city, Melissa so impressed with the estate that she researched possibilities in the Houston region. A gorgeous hall and property is the result. The music leading into the ceremony was of the highest genius. I have never before better heard Beethoven's "Moonlight Sonata."

We had some time as a family on Saturday. This is our second visit to family on Patricia's side in little over a year, and we took a thorough tour of the Johnson Space Center in January. As it turned out, Trish and Matt took another ride and visit of the center this time, but I had gorged myself at dinner the night before and got sick. I am under 200 pounds for the first time since 1993, not on a diet; I just don't eat as much as used to, and my job has required extreme daily exertion. I felt like taking a big exception. Woke up ill in the morning Saturday, but went along with Trish and Matt, and then decided to let them tour without me. I drove back to the Inn and picked them up later.

During several drives, I noticed creeks we passed over. As I said, it seemed as if we were away a week, but as we drove back to Bush International, it felt as if I never quite experienced Texas. I didn't feel this way in January. For one thing, it was January but 85 degrees out. For another, I took the tour. The Space Center is Texas for sure. But what piqued interest in this special respect on that tour was catching sight from the tour bus of turtles basking on a log in a slough. This time around--had I felt better--I would have liked visiting a green space I viewed on a map. Some water associated. Once Trish concluded upon Johnson Space Center, I felt relief that I had not uttered my humble preference. I never did utter it. Trish and Matt would have felt disappointment in me, and I fully understand. I don't forget those turtles on a log.

Trish had spotted a lizard near a curb when we stopped for a red light. Had we simply visited this wild place I saw designated on a map, my camera would have served use for something similar, but here's the gist. At least I myself don't get much of a feel for a faraway place by limiting my activities to venues on the same general grid pattern nationwide. The old plantation and wedding was an exception. You don't find 400-acre estates quite like it in New Jersey. I also took leave from the reception afterwards and visited a large pond in the night, a little wary of any possible night-feeding alligator. They can run a lot faster than I can, if I'm not mistaken. Not certain they exist in Texas. Or if cottonmouths do. The snakes occur to me now. And I know coral snakes do exist there. I went back inside the hall and soon invited Trish outside. She wouldn't leave the porch, but it was nice sitting in relative quiet and talking, another of the guests we knew out there with us. Ted sighted a possum over the rail and along the building. We leaned against it and delighted in watching the creature just below, unafraid of us. I asked Trish to have a look. The fur on the head such a striking pattern of black and white. She wouldn't get off her chair. To her credit, she told me she would never go camping. When she did--through Cub Scouts--she loved it. We've gone a number of times since. But she remains essentially an urbanite. There's no conflict from me about this, since I have a lot of urbanity in my biography too. We never would have dated, had I not. We plan on moving to Manhattan in about 10 years. I'm not saying we will. I can't quite believe it. But Trish researches, and she's smart as most living there. If we do, I plan to come to Jersey to fish. Often. Wouldn't mind having a boat docked on the Hudson, either.

That January I mentioned, while staying in Webster, outside of Houston--Trish's brother and his family live in Friendswood--we watched news on TV at the Hilton Inn, as we did this past week, same Hilton. United States Supreme Court Justice Scalea died in Texas on a hunting trip. I happened to pick up a letter from the lamp table next to the bed, a letter from my outdoor writer friend Jim Stabile. An instant before news of Scalea's death broke, I was about to begin reading. The envelope contained a printout of an article Jim had published in Field & Stream or Outdoor Life--almost certain the former. I have it in my messy study. Away from home, weeks after I received the mailing, I made a point of packing the letter along with very little else, which is just peculiar, but all my life I've exercised peculiar habits. Drove my dear father nuts. Why not have simply opened the envelope here at home and have read what was inside? Some hunch informed me to wait. And some hunch informed me to take the letter with us to Texas and read it there.

My son Matt is politically on the ball. Follows all sorts of sources. He was concerned about Altright fanatics having a rally in Charlottesville, VA, weeks before the event, which broke news when we were in Texas this past week. We watched on TV back-and-forth between Charlottesville, VA, and Bedminster, NJ, not happy that the sitting President of the United States spoke such vague drivel in response to the violence, our hometown spelled out as the place from where the words came.

Litton's Fishing Lines comes to you from Bedminster, also, although some posts have come from Ocracoke, NC, and one from Exmore, VA. I hope the words are better adjusted to reality than what comes out of Trump's mouth. Nationalism, which does not amount to individuals valuing particular places for their true and independent substance, especially places amounting to country (land and water), places appreciated for particular values and events within them, which is what this post is about, nationalism is left without a nation. This country we name America is, in essence, beyond human conventions, such as nationality, because country is nature independent of and including man, but man, to apprehend nature, must do so by choice. Nationalists want fulfillment in the dream of a "nation," when fulfillment can only be realized existentially. I think of Ernest Hemingway in this respect. He would laugh at being called an existentialist, and if he were here with me now, I'd compliment him by remarking that he has one up on Martin Buber, because his idea of country is better grounded than the notion of the existential. There is no nation of any substance without individuals who actually value country. People, at least in their better moments, appreciate dirt for what it is, which is not only what we are made of--all plants grow in it and we eat them, for just one example of why we are "clay." People may value dirt not only for what they are, but for what they may grow to become; these individuals I regard as realists, because the ground at the feet supports the head up top, and the heart closer to the midriff might feel that awesome rough character in an expanse of dry dirt, not as a burden, but as an invitation to new beginning. The human potential implies beginning with barren expanse by binding what little the space does contain to an idea. (There is no space without some content.) And building gradually. I am always reminded of Winston Churchill. He understood the need to progress gradually. In a similar way, so did 17th Century English philosopher Francis Bacon, who inaugurated the modern age of science.

I emphasize individuals. Nationalists who make a gruesome show of not respecting other individuals' boundaries make a display of their unfit character as citizens of a nation. And a so-called President who refuses to name the offenders shows clear evidence that the Presidency is vacant. As an example of individual boundaries violated, a woman was killed by an Altright fanatic who drove his Charger into her during that rally. Obviously, I hold President Trump--and those who voted for him--responsible. This is not to confuse the issue. Of course the man who killed the woman--and injured many others--is the man to have been charged with second-degree murder. He acted independently, which, also, is not to say he didn't act within a larger context of possibility. Oh, sure, Trump named names later, regarding the drivel we heard from Bedminster. But then he began to say worse, as if these fanatics include among them some who are not fanatics. No one who would join ranks with the group which unleashed the violence shown on TV is not guilty. Guilt by association is a serious issue to anyone with a conscience, and all the more likely lethal for anyone without a conscience. How were these fanatics so emboldened in the first place? Trump could have named names before he got elected. He might not have got elected, had he done that. He clearly seems to demonstrate that he thinks this the case. Why did he sympathize with the likes of these fanatics in the first place? Stay tuned if you like specific personal stories that offer clues, as more about the situation may get published in this blog yet. But any of my readers knows I can't afford a full-time commitment. Not with a $12.875-per-hour job. Was the sacrifice of Iphigenia right, so the Trojan War could be fought? Judge consequences for yourself. A relative few of the victorious made it home, and more to the point: When Agamemnon did make it home, he was promptly murdered by his wife for the killing of his own daughter. Any decent American knows at least on some level within--human sacrifice is not just.

Any of us who voted Trump in knows the only voting alternative was not for Hillary Clinton. I decided not to vote for her, because the status quo has done me personal damage. I voted for Jill Stein. I was not vehemently opposed to Clinton. I had no reason to feel vehemence. I know she is knowledgeable, responsible, stable, Presidential, and had I judged New Jersey as in any threat of going to Trump, I would have voted for her. I don't know the Green Party's policies. I was childlike about my vote. Green is the color of the sunlit realm, land-bound, during summertime. This sunlit realm I sometimes mention is not a moniker of my origination. I borrow it from Ayn Rand. From her novel Atlas Shrugged. My silence with respect to explicitly condemning Trump in Litton's Fishing Lines until now regards a complicated inner situation. (I borrow this two-word phrase from 20th century depth psychologist Carl Jung.) My private journals are another matter, as have been some private communications going back to when Trump entered the race for 2016.

We arrived back in Bedminster just after 1:00 a.m. on Monday morning. When I opened my study door, I met a wave of familiar odor. Dead fish. For once in two or three years, I have killies. (Fundulus heteroclitus, the Atlantic killiefish.) To be exact, four. Three years it is, I recall. Father's Day 2014, last I had them, while I yet worked for Affinity Federal Credit Union. Then I enjoyed weekends off, and vacation days amounting to about five weeks each year rather than one week. But this purchase on Sunday more than a week ago shows I'm still in the habit of buying killies, using them in the surf for fluke, taking the remainder home, and setting any that survive in the sights of smallmouth bass while fishing the South Branch of the Raritan River. I would certainly use them in the North Branch Raritan as well, but I do not recall ever having done so, and don't particularly care to research the information in my handwritten log just now. Unfortunately, these remaining four of at least three dozen will surely perish before my son and I get out in my Great Canadian canoe next week. As yet, once again my aerator hums, and bubbles emit scintillating sound in my study. Nothing lost, because these fish accompanied a fulfilling possibility. More than that. These fish essentially are that possibility. Even though all will die before it could happen. Most likely. They help redeem the future, because exercising the habit makes such fishing possible yet, though I really did mean to put them to this good use soon. I didn't set them free. Anyone can infer: I could have simply dumped them in the ocean where I had surf fished. Not anyone can judge that action would amount to no freedom whatsoever. This species does not exist in the ocean. So I could have stopped the car bayside somewhere. Nope. Instead, it was a shot in the dark. I sure had hopes of aggressive smallmouths killing them.

How can true affection--these four fish are my truly beloved pets--coexist with that kind of ruthlessness implied? Perhaps this relationship of extremity is no more than the whisper of a hint you can't hear. Homer's Iliad may reveal less of the reality to you than the work he composed in later and wiser years. The Odyssey gives a clue I hold dear. The dog of Odysseus upon his return home.



http://littonsfishinglines.blogspot.com/2012/06/adventure-in-underground-economy-when.html 


Thursday, August 10, 2017

Last Lady II Charter: Beautiful Day


Long awaited charter trip with New Jersey Federated Sportsmen's News writers aboard the Lucky Lady II this morning and early afternoon. We sailed out of Neptune through the Shark River, out the inlet and northward to fish rocks between about 72 and 86 feet deep. Seas remained pretty calm, and I think generally we had no problem keeping contact with bottom using three-ounce bucktails and bank sinkers, although Oliver Shapiro remarked to me, when drift speed did pick up near the end of our fishing, that he was dropping six ounces.

I have a bad habit, not by any means awful, of carrying in too much stuff. I even had a third cooler just large enough to carry three Brooklyn Lagers with ice packs. I drank only one of them, offering the others, but they came back home with me. That beer hit the spot...after drinking five or six coffees and feeling as jittery as a silverside. My nerves stayed settled for the rest of the fishing. I also brought three rods and never set up my Trevala jigging rod with the Penn Squall 60 I had bracketed on to the reel seat, as if I would do battle with a mahi or yellowfin tuna. But the little St. Croix I use for bass did handle a Deadly Dick deftly, and though no Boston mackerel hit the metal, those fish were around; at least eight of them got caught inadvertently when jigs and/or bait/or teasers got reeled towards the rail. I feel it's always better to at least employ an idea, than it is to think an idea and have no means to implement the notion.

So I never really felt bad about that third rod and reel. Just a little burdened hauling all my stuff off the boat and back to my car. I guess it's as if a piece of equipment on standby is always loaded with potential, so long as know-how accompanies it. (I was a little uncertain about remembering how to operate that big reel.)

John Toth caught the leading fish, a 23-inch fluke. Plenty of other fluke got caught, including maybe nine or 10 keepers among the dozen of us fishing. I guess as many keeper seabass went home, also, including mine of about 15 inches. A few cocktail bluefish cut through the upper water column to intersect baits, as I mentioned of the mackerel, and more southern sea robins--brown coloration--got caught than the typical florid northern species. I caught a couple of squirrel hakes about 10 inches long. Brown slimy fish tossed back.

It's a funny thing about fluke 16, 17 inches long. I caught three that size, and seeing these fish appear in the greenish water as I reeled them closer to the rail was sort of an act of now-you-see-it, now-you-don't. My truest evaluation bestowed value on these fish. You could say: Well, after all, they went back to grow big. But that's not all the feeling amounted to. I don't fish because governmental agency monitors population and size statistics amounting to a fishery. I fish because I'm part of the system of life and desire to participate. I've always felt convinced aesthetics are really prior to economics (food). Just offhand I think of the early Christians who died for an idea. I'd say that's because it was beautiful to them.

And there's the flipside. The awful reduction of a living creature to a non-value--because not meeting governmental size limit to take home.

Finally, on our final drift, the very last fish--I think--besides one more of Oliver's many mackerel. I felt a chomp on the end of my sensitive Power Pro braid line I knew was a nice fish and almost certainly a fluke, since I'm experienced at the likes from many keepers of about 18 inches. I gave that fish some slack by extending my rod by use of my right arm, and after two seconds or so, set the hook...into undoubtedly a nice one.

I always think of a tambourine. The way a fluke shakes its head. An unmistakable clicking bounce. Truly unmistakable if you get fully in touch. The seabass sent tight vibes up the line too, but not quite the same.

Twenty-two inches. My family ate a fine dinner.







Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Summer Hybrid Bass Attempt



Mike Maxwell and his friend Phillipe got on hybrid stripers in Spruce Run Reservoir little more than a week ago, dropped herring among them, and began hooking up. I happened on the two of them with Phillipe's trailered boat in front of Mike's house as I came home from work, and my hopes for this Lake Hopatcong trip with my family rose. But you know how it is, if you fish hybrids in the summer. Not the same as May or October, not when it comes down to catch expectancy. I know guys like Zach Merchant on Spruce Run, and Ed Mackin on Lake Hopatcong, score frequently. Guys with thorough knowledge of fish movements in these waters, highly skilled with sophisticated techniques. They put in the time and the effort necessary to achieve results that would graph a little exponentially during the slow summer season.

Laurie at Dow's Boat Rentals told me the hybrids have been moving along the shelf from Bonaparte Point to Sharp's Rock across the lake from her Nolan's Point station. Someone or other had action inside Davis Cove the other day, hybrids actually boiling the surface, a situation reminiscent of springtime, although I've never seen hybrids go on the jump during the earlier season. We started there and worked our way to Sharp's, having fished the Pickerel Point area thoroughly, something having grabbed one of Matt's herring. I should have made sure my fish finder was charged; apparently, it got inadvertently turned on, and so we had some but very limited use of it. My mistake was to forget to disengage the power terminals from the battery stored with the unit.

The day had already worn on well, when by a sort of inevitable motivation I decided we go try the ledge, where at least I caught a smallmouth a year ago, and also a six-pound walleye last October. We drifted this small range of that edge across the lake from where hybrids have been moving recently--out beyond the drop-off, on that drop, and in a ways--for more than an hour, Matt catching a nice-size yellow perch we took home for part of our dinner afterwards, that on a live herring, but also a pumpkinseed on chicken liver, both of these fish from the shallower side of the ledge; all the while we made sure not to weight baits too deeply, as the lake stratifies without oxygen deeper than about 25 feet. The water temperature at the surface, however, ranged between 74 and 76.

Well, rather than stay on that edge, I had Bonaparte Point prominently in mind, because just west of this spot I have marked a lot of hybrids in the past. So we got at least 20 minutes fishing that area and the point thoroughly before the sun touched down and we motored back. By that time, Patricia was well into reading a John Grisham novel, having read Mary Astor's Purple Diary: The Great American Sex Scandal of 1936 by Edward Sorel cover to cover, all during this afternoon on the water.

Cliff's Homemade Ice Cream is a busy place, and listed among the top 33 American ice cream joints by the Huffington Post.





Monday, August 7, 2017

Lush Closure on Famous Bedminster Pond


Showers and thunderstorms in the forecast for today, I put rain gear in the trunk, along with essentials, and got to bed before I would be too tired this morning. Matt and I had purchased nonresident NY fishing licenses for the day, and after I awoke and after Trish filled me in--heavy rain and flooding--that's what I rued. They're only $10.00 for a day, so the state of New York really does offer a deal...as they have to, as sales slipped when license fees increased too much...and I dismissed the issue as a friendly contribution to the state's fisheries on our part. What the hell, the DECALS site must state somewhere the fee is nonrefundable.

I already had the hunch. A good reason to have waited on purchasing and printing licenses at the last possible minute, but the way my family operates on the fly, we might have forgotten. And then we would have had to drive to whatever that town's named way up in the hills...and have hoped the resort there still sells licenses. Now that Trish and Matt own mobile devices, this would have made making connections easier, but I won't go into that.

The hunch. I forget specifically. Something moved me to have a good look at the framed photo in our living room--Trish and Matt underneath a big sign for Port Jervis Diner, where we always eat after our Barryville river floats--and that made me feel sure, as I've felt for the past three years...sure that moment framed for generations to come is of our last moments at Port Jervis Diner, and Barryville is a thing of our past as well.

I mentioned my feeling to Trish yesterday. I was wrong, of course, she said. But it's just how events unfold. I can always feel this. That is, if I happen to be in touch, which I'm not always--I thought the drive to the shore yesterday would be a breeze--but I seem to usually know in advance an outcome. It's just that a hunch is never knowledge. You never know an outcome until you have it.

Helps to be prepared. They say so in Boy Scouts. And if Baden-Powell came up with the notion, it's probably a very good one to heed.

I'm happy Trish did not take disappointment deeply. She loves Barryville trips. "Can we go tomorrow and Hopatchcong (she affectionately mispronounces the lake's name) on Wednesday?"

"The river may be more than muddy. Flooded." Besides, I indicated, there in Barryville, it's not so near its sources as to possibly crest after rain stops.

(We've caught smallmouths in the muddied river, but not the really flooded.) Judging the downpours and the current level of the North Branch Raritan as any rough gauge to judge the greater river, that Wild & Scenic stretch is flooded. So now she says she'll get a Wednesday off near her birthday. She wants to be on the river up there. And at the Diner thereafter. Hopatcong will patch us up in the meantime.

What a luscious wet day. I wanted to fish at least a little, after going to the Bookworm as a family in Bernardsville, directly across Claremont Road from Saint Bernard's Episcopal Church, the roadway crossing over a possible trout stream (I examined the brook and it might be), the name of the road having suggested to me the famous Claremont stretch of the South Branch Raritan River, which I've fly fished and blogged about. Saint Bernard struggled with philosopher Peter Abelard, against the philosopher's analytical approach to knowledge, and emphasized Lectio Divina, or the apprehension of "The Living Word." In other words, direct and unabridged presence of spirit; a power which is no small matter. Bernard cooled his lust by ice baths, and frankly, I'm reminded of Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin, imploring, in the song "Whole Lot of Love," the subject's need of cooling. Wild juxtaposition this may seem, it's really no joke. To take too much of this presence is to fall as heavily as tungsten, much less lead.

After wonderful experience at the bookstore, we ate at the Bernardsville Café, the portabella pillia or whatever that is I ate, delicious. I had bought a biography of Leonardo Da Vinci's younger years. Recently, I told a friend Leonardo was just a farm boy who went to the city, interested in becoming an artist. Da Vinci means "from the Vinci," and the Vinci is no place of distinction at all...except now that Leonardo came from the fields. True to my ruthless self-criticisms, I positively lust for the author of this book to correct my blithe, fairy tale assumptions about this genius. As if this monumental figure were every bit as naïve as my rural teenage moods, my singing "Sarah Smile" by Hall & Oates to abandoned pre-dawn twilight while pedaling miles in perfect solitude...to go fishing, of course. He came to the city as an artistic greenhorn at age 20. By what foolishness--I guess--that I've gathered.

And I had to buy To Have and Have Not by Ernest Hemingway. Haven't read that one. And the harsh realism--minus the story's content involving criminality--seems appropriate to me now. The job I hold. Read the first three pages there in Bernardsville. Not least is the biography about The American Visionary, John Quincy Adams, "a sadly underrated character." This I must read, I told myself, and placed the book back on the shelf with the absolute precision of prayer. I never over extend my means. I know the book. I know the spirit. And the latter awaits me.

I wanted to fish a little, but, rod in hand, I came upon police presence at the neighborhood pond quite contrary to my innocent desire, and I did not want to make company with any questionable scene, so I turned back, gathered my wallet and car keys, drove to the famous Bedminster Pond with little light left to get some photographs....and that's all I expected. The open water you see in the photo opening these lines I write is an illusion. Its actual space hardly extends 15 feet from shore and there the water is too shallow to hold fish. Inches. Wall to wall weed cover. (Almost, that is.) A sort of living likeness to some Jurassic Swamp now fundamentally providing for Exxon's profit.

Very nice over there. You've got to love a swampy pond. Especially if you live in a society driven by fossil fuel and presided over by some logical outcome or other of Middle East involvement. After all, the dancing step of Fred Astaire, while he sang "That's Entertainment," depended upon spoils to have had the mainstream reach Hollywood still enjoys today. I walked in lush humid wetness, got in my car, parked at home, and walked back over to our pond. No one present. I fished. And 20 minutes later, finished. Quite dark. No bass lunged for my spinnerbait, despite this exquisite spring-like spell of precipitation's closure. 

Beach Day


Sometimes a foregone assumption is no better than a kite on a calm day. It's supposed to fly, but just doesn't. I figured we would roll straight down the Parkway to Island Beach State Park smooth as one of those fast European hydroplanes, but about a half mile from the entry from Route 440, traffic began to slow.

Somewhere down the line--heavy traffic all the way--a sign informed us Island Beach State Park was full. No admittance. "I think Chris Christy's vacation advertised Island Beach," Trish said. No doubt, the coverage IBSP got from that escapade spelled out the Park loud and clear. Whatever the case, it was Sunday, and though I expected few incoming visitors and many leaving the beaches at weekend's finish, we could have slipped Bob Marley's "Exodus" into the player for appropriate celebration.

So we drove through the thick of Seaside to catch sights of commercial grabs, while we discussed Matt's possible employment next summer, which of course, he's in charge of. The young man defended his position against his skeptical mother very well. And northward though Ortley Beach and Lavalette we drove highway 35 into Point Pleasant, where I wanted us to at least walk along Manasquan Inlet, and possibly fluke fish. I spoke to a guy in the know, and it was evident action might pick up in a couple of hours with incoming tide. An assumption further evidenced by talking to yet another savvy guy on down towards the rocks. No use fishing.

We rode out of Pt. Pleasant back towards IBSP. Who knows. It probably opened in the meantime, I thought. Soon some electronic sign or other--my wife saw it, not me--informed us the Park was open. We stopped at Surf Taco for food to carry onto the beach.


I leapt into the surf--not Matt with a recovering ankle--and strode and swam well out there with the breakers, riding a few. The brine felt warmish and full of life. That's not to say I saw any fish. The quality of stuff, sense, and feeling intermixed offered that uncanny promise anyone can receive who opens himself to it. But instead of total self-immersion, I felt a little removed--just a little--and knew there was no hope of getting as fully into this ocean as I always felt during my 13 years living by the beach. No real disappointment. I accepted as much as I could take, feeling thrilled to be 56 and as alive as an adolescent. Nothing foolish about that.

Trish doesn't swim and I don't recall her ever going out into the surf beyond the edge.

I read a few pages of Anders Halverson, An Entirely Synthetic Fish, about stockers. Rainbow trout ultimately from California's McCloud River. And then I told Matt it would be a miracle if I caught a fluke, proceeding to catch a striped bass instead on the first cast, a less likely catch than a fluke in August New Jersey surf. Hit a killiefish bought at the Hook House in Tom's River on the way in. That's the first true striped bass I've caught on my five-and-a-half foot medium power St. Croix and six-pound test monofilament. I had simply tied on a plain shank size 6 hook and crimped a split shot up the line a bit.

Snapper blues provided some fun, too. They really made cut bait of killies.







Sunday, August 6, 2017

Night Romps

Very early yesterday morning, from 1:00 a.m. until after two, my son and I tried topwaters for bass at that secret pond where he and his friend keep catching them over five pounds. He caught a 13 or 14-incher; I caught three 11 and 12 inches. These cool night temperatures. At least temps hung somewhere in the 70's when we fished, though night fishing bass seems better suited to mugginess. Wind wrangled treetops, but the way the two-acre pond is situated sort of like the bottom of a bowl, the surface remained calm. It was nice and Matt wants to get me out there again.

And then late yesterday afternoon and well into the night, as a family we spent five-and-a-half hours at Morristown Memorial Hospital's ER. I had checked my BP at work and got 210/139. I felt alarmed. I know that's enough to cause a stroke. Maybe. Doctors have told me so. Eight years ago, I went to the ER where they recorded my BP at 260 over something or other. I had to stay a night or two. I don't quite remember how long I stayed, but they ran extensive testing, concluded my BP had been about 200 or higher for about six months...and one of the doctors openly wondered at the fact that I didn't suffer a stroke. (Well, we outdoor people know nature keeps us healthy.) So I left work early yesterday, not the way I wanted to end this work week and begin today for a week's vacation. Writing this post helps set me straight for this well deserved time away from the job, and come to terms with the fact that I needed to head to the hospital, not stay the rest of my shift. Had I instead told my regular physician--who I hope to see Wednesday, will phone him tomorrow--that I got that BP reading and stayed at work instead of going to the ER to get stabilized, he would have rightly thought me a fool.

I never really thought twice.

Of course, the plan was to finish my shift at 9:00. But anyone who sticks to a plan, instead of creating a new plan when needed, ends with nothing. If a new plan is needed, but the original is followed, the original will fail. That's true for business and fishing alike. Gratefully, our vacation plans remain in place as we intended, besides this plan to see my doctor on Wednesday.