I have been plying a rocky area with big plugs this week. It’s one of my favorites, and it has yielded me some really nice fish over the years.
Not in 2020, however.
In fact, let this post be a proclamation to my fellow Surf Anglers: this season is going to be tough.
Still, every cast during a specific period of the tide could yield a “50”, and I’m perpetually and pathologically hopeful when I’m fishing here in early summer. It’s going to happen. Rather, if it’s going to happen anywhere for me, it’s going to happen here.
The stars were bright last night, but the fishing was dull. I cycled through every lure in my bag, and even succumbed to curiosity a few times and let fly a plastic swimmer; something I typically only reserve for small fish later in the year.
Nothing, nothing, nothing.
Yet, I knew there were fish. There are always fish nearby. I mean, literally, always. From the middle of May through the middle of November, there are always fish.
It’s a rock. A single rock that holds these small fish. I know it’s not the same fish each night, but I tend to think of it that way. I talk to “him”; when the night is long and the bite slow. I’ll start having a conversation with the fish.
“Hey- you over there? I bet you are. Bet you’re hungry, too, aren’t you little guy.” I’ll query the little fish.
Then I’ll sling over a Slug-Go, and I’ll get a hit on the first cast. Always. There is always a fish there. If I don’t hook-up on the first cast, I typically won’t even bother casting again. It’s just nice knowing there is life around. I don’t have to reel in the little baby fish, too small to even reproduce yet.
However, a few times, it’s been bigger than I anticipated.
One year I nonchalantly tossed over a Slug-go and was rewarded with a drag-peeling rocket ship of a fish. Not huge- I could tell simply by the head shakes- but it was no 15-pounder, either. Another year, I caught a Black Sea Bass in the spot on a small metal lip. You just never know.
But, for the most part, it’s just a 20-inch Striper or two.
Last night after almost three hours of no hits, I gave in, shrugged my shoulders, clipped on a Slug-Go, and lobbed it over towards the rock. It hardly takes more than an underhand cast, the rock is so close.
Three cranks of the handle, a couple twitches, and the piece of plastic was slammed. I set the hook, but it was a whiff. I burned in the bait, which came back to me pushed down the hook and fouled.
I couldn’t help but laugh.
“I’ll see you tomorrow night, buddy.” A little wave, almost a salute, and I turned and jumped off the rock, waded to shore, and went home.