Ah, my favorite month: September. Here in South/Central New England, it’s not really summer, not really fall, but has the perfect blend of weather and angling opportunities. It’s often one of the most consistent months for fast-action in the surf for many of my spots, and there’s always a good shot at a big fish either coming in from off shore, or starting their journey South. It’s an exciting time; there’s lot of season left, but there is often a distinct shift coming out of the second moon of the month.
And it’s not just in the surf, either. This month, I’ll start feeling comfortable going after my small stream trout again after a hot summer. It’s early for the spawn in my area, so I feel doubly accepting of the stress I may impose on these fish. Later in October and into November it’ll be about balancing guilt with desire. Also, night time bass fishing is still strong right now, and actually starting to crescendo, while being even more comfortable for the angler. It’s just an all-around feel-good time; easy living compared to the rushed, panicked feeling I endure in October. I’m hopeful, as I am every year for better or worse, and right now is the time of bounty.
Get out there, and take advantage of it.
When I sat down to write this update, the first thing that popped into my head was how happy I’ve been to get a few emails recently from those that were in my seminar series last year, who have been having success this season. It’s tough for me to respond quickly, or sometimes I miss responding all together: don’t be offended, I read every email. Indeed, a few of you are having much, much better seasons than I am (though goals and standards vary wildly), and it’s even motivating for me to read about your success; it has helped me get out the door when things were rough this summer. This makes me happy on a multitude of levels.
It’s a tough line to walk sometimes, between giving away too much, and also helping other anglers out enough that doesn’t cheapen the advice or mislead. I do this- write and give seminars- because I like hearing other anglers doing it “the right way”, and enjoy sharing my passion and transcendental love for angling. “Doing it the right way” really means, the way I think surf fishing should be undertaken. And, lest you think it has to be the way I do it, let me ease your mind: the “right way” really means whatever is authentic to you, what you really want. Not what others tell you, or what you think you should be doing, but instead engaging in this pastime (sport?) in the way you want. As long as you’re treating the fish with respect, and treasure them for the amazing thing that they are, I’m happy. There are, as I always say, no rules. And, in all honesty, I’m positive the way I do this is hardly the most efficient, or even the most fun for the majority of angler; indeed, probably even most of you.
But, the point is, it’s the way I want to fish. And that really is the point, of all of this. There was an angler who recently emailed me asking for advice about a specific situation- which I won’t get into- that was forcing them to decide between what they wanted to do, and what they felt they “had” to do, given both social pressure, and, worse, things they were reading online. As you might guess, the thing they wanted to do would likely mean catching less large fish, but what they would have had to do in order to catch “large” was something they were having trouble even thinking about, let alone pursuing. And, it’s easy for us out here in our glass houses to say “just do what you want”, or on the flip side “suck it up, how much do you really want this?” Yet, this decision- to be authentic and go your own way- is sometimes the hardest. It takes guts in this age of constant information and social media overload. Yet, it's also what makes a pursuit the most rewarding.
Case in point. I was recently listening to Steve Campo’s interview with Zeno from Surfcasters Journal. Lest you think I have anything to do with these podcasts, let me refute that idea right now: I do not. So it was just as new to me as it is to you. There were a lot of things I learned from those conversations- both good and bad- and many opinions I walked away with as well.
However, for certain, there was one thing in particular I took away from the aggregate of the discussions: Steve did it the way he wanted to do it. He was truly an authentic surfcaster. Yes, he was competitive. Yes, he was probably an ass hole sometimes. Yes, it was probably borderline unhealthy for parts- or even the whole- of his career. Maybe. And I don't like hearing over and over how they killed tons of fish but that's just the way it is, and then saying he got out of it because (as I interpreted) it was too expensive without selling fish.
But, without a doubt, he did it exactly the way he wanted. He fished his own way, without an qualifiers. And he said as much repeatedly during the conversation as well. For that reason alone, the podcast is worth a listen, if you haven’t had a chance yet. If you take nothing else from it (which I doubt), I think this should be the moral of the story.
Fish. How. You. Want.
So, this fall, do what you want. Ignore the internet hero's, report chasers, lies and deceit, bickering and petty garbage, and just be the angler you want to be.
And if you want to be an internet hero, who lies and fights on SOL and Facebook about petty garbage? Well, then, email me and I’m happy to talk to you about getting a therapist.
On the editorial side, the latest edition of Surfcasters Journal- Number 69- will be out imminently. In this edition, we have a lot to look forward to. We have instructional pieces from Dennis Zambrotta (bridge fishing), Frank Daignault (small baits in the surf), Toby Lapinski (unconventional needlefish tactics) and Brendan Richards (albies!). We also have great stories to go with the instruction in all of these pieces, as you would expect from Surfcasters. Further, Bill Jakobs does a fine job relaying his history with the legendary Van Staal, going all the way back to the birth of the reel, and I tell a story about a chain of events that lead to phenomenal night of fishing from this past summer. As always, our columnists cover a wide gambit of topics, with lots of great Fall Run tips. From big treble hooks (Al), to retrieve speed (Dave), to using a bike to cover ground with the fly rod (Peter), to tog from the shore (John), there’s something for everyone. Also, there will be video content, a short story, embedded podcast, and much more!
On the Water
In this month’s On The Water, you’ll find a fun story-oriented piece I wrote that ties together several stories from my experiences in the surf over the years. It was a fun one to write, and I think it’ll touch a chord for anyone looking forward to the fall run. I just glanced it over again while putting this post together, and it got me all pumped up for the coming tides.
In The Fisherman, in the glossy section available to all subscribers in all regions, I have an article about trying new techniques in order to become a more well-rounded angler. In this article, I talk about how I’ve forced myself to try new techniques, in order to make myself a better at what I love (wait, what did I just write this blog above about? Ha!). It’s a straight forward concept that we can all benefit from.
Finally, I am DYING to tell you all about something up and coming- but I have to wait one more month. I have been working my ass off to make it into this publication, and I am beyond thrilled by the result. This will be out in the October update.