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Went fishing yesterday.  Didn't feel like it.  Arrived way too early and sat in the truck wondering why I was even there...

It was a surprisingly cold and foggy morning when I got out to start unloading my kayak.  The fog was so thick I couldn't see farther than 100 feet, and it was alternating between floating fog and falling fog ("falling fog" is a gentler type of misty rain).

I thought about calling the fellow I fish with to tell him it was cold and foggy, and perhaps we should wait for a better day.  Sadly, I had no mobile phone service in the parking lot and that, too, was a surprise.  How do I call the sheriff to come rescue that other guy if my phone doesn't work?  Hmm...

A few shore anglers were coming back, heading home, and chatted just a little as they passed.  I'm not a chatty kind of a guy - and as a rule, I never ask anyone, "How's the fishing?" - so it was mostly "Hi!" and "Good luck".

My companion finally showed-up and broke - shattered - the morning's silence.  I don't know if you've ever engaged him in a conversation, but those who have know how that guy can fill every bit of air for miles around with his answers.  Yesterday, standing in the fog, feeling chilled, wondering why I was there, his banter didn't improve my mood.

"Look at the fog!"  I'd given it a thorough examination by then.  "It's lifting at the Walmart store.  It won't be here long."  But the fellows who'd been fishing from the rocks just told me the fog rolled in only 30 minutes earlier.

"Hey!  Are those pelicans out there?"  I didn't know, I hadn't looked, but yes, those are pelicans.  "That means the baitfish are in.  We may see rockfish on a topwater frenzy!"  Okay.  I've heard about rockfish feeding at the surface, but I've never seen it.  Now I was getting a smidgen interested.

My companion looked to be about 90% ready to go when some fellow - a touristy type - wandered up and asked him a question about what we were almost, but not quite, up to.  Great!  Nothing my companion likes more in all the known and theoretical universes than to answer questions, and an intense conversation ensued.

I try to be polite when this happens, but did I mention it was chilly and foggy?  So I started towards the water, hoping he'd realize I was down on the beach and it would give him an excuse to finish rigging and join me.  Someone I didn't know drove up next to where I was standing on the beach and started unloading his kayak.  Ten minutes went by.  I took my kayak off the cart.  Fifteen minutes.  The guy next to me was putting on his wetsuit.  Twenty... okay, standing there like an idiot was pure cow flop, so I launched without him.  There was a thin layer of clear air above the water, but that guy was hidden in the fog while I paddled in a circle and finally radioed: "Dude, are you planning to go fishing today?"  Yeah he was, but exactly when that might happen was anyone's guess.

I made a couple of practice casts to see how the rod was going to behave, noticed a group of pelicans diving for fish, and realized I should be where they were, not bobbing around in mid-Bay, so I headed that way.  Getting closer, I saw it wasn't a group of pelicans, it was a mob.  A dozen birds were in the water gulping down their catch, but several dozen more were circling in the fog.

The guy on the beach had rigged, parked his truck, and launched, and was now paddling towards me when the pelicans - many dozens more than I'd already seen - burst into the air.  I'm not a pelican expert and can only guess I'd been sitting still and being quiet long enough they'd forgotten I was there because, in a Hitchcock moment, I was ducking as pelicans - pelicans are rather large birds, you know - zipped past, inches from my head.

Oh, I had faith the pelicans didn't want to collide with me one bit more than I wanted to be hit by a fleeing bird, but, as I said, I'm not a pelican aficionado and I had no idea if pelicans, like gulls, poo when they panic.  Sea gull poo is a gooey mess and I was determined to avoid cleaning pelican poo off my sunglasses.  I swear that's the only reason I was ducking and squealing.

Then, as if that spectacle wasn't enough to give a guy the heebie-jeebies, a trio of seals decided now was the time to start bobbing up and rolling - loudly - within arm's reach of me while the pelicans, those who'd gathered their wits about them, started kamikaze bombing the ocean for fish - and I was dead center in their target zone, frozen in place, not knowing if I should move or if moving might put me between a pelican - which are big birds, by the way - and the water it was aimed at.

"Tinker, I'm ready now."  Great news!  There's safety in numbers, and while "2" is not a big number, it's better than "1".  "Tinker, I'm launching."  I should explain that, at the end of last season, that fellow with whom I go fishing bought an external microphone for his radio and he clips it to his life vest - allowing him to talk freely - whereas my radio is tucked into a pocket of my life vest.  I thought it was neat when he told me about his fancy new microphone.  Now I understand it will let him remain chatty even while we fish.

"Tinker, I'm paddling..."  Fine, I'll just set my radio on the hatch cover so I don’t need to keep puling it out to answer all the blow-by-blow updates.

Eventually he came into view and the seals and pelicans scattered, so I made my escape.  Once clear of the battleground, I managed to catch a fish.  Woo-woo!  The day was looking-up - but only briefly, because, from that moment on, I put on an award-winning imitation of someone who was making their first ever trip in a kayak while trying to fish for the very first time in their life.

I had to free my line from the tip of the rod at least as many times as I've had to do it in all my past trips, combined.  I snagged flies in the kayak rigging.  I caught more kelp than one would believe could possibly live in the entire Pacific Ocean - but I caught a nice chunk of kelp and dragged up both it and the rock to which it was anchored.

My companion asked if I was going to measure it and get a photo for Angler of the Year.  I decided I'll be forced to cut the cord of that damned microphone one of these days.  It would be that or murder him.

While I was freeing my line from my rod tip for the fortieth or fiftieth time, a lady paddled up and stopped nearby to take pictures of the pelican mob standing on a rock.  "Look," she said, and pointed out past the rock.  "There's a seal!"  M'am, if you’ll turn your head just one more inch, you’d see the harbor seal three feet behind you.  She didn't stay very long after that.

We fished for quite a while, never caught another fish, saw huge, squirming masses of herring fry, and finally came to understand we weren't going to catch lots of fish yesterday because they, like the pelicans, were stuffed to the gills with baby herring.  We should have thought of that right away, but my dumb luck of catching a fish had fooled us.  I can't feel too bad about how long it took me to figure it out, however, because the seals were still there, bobbing around hopefully, and I reckon they should know ever-so-much more than me about fishing when herring fry are cluttering up the ocean.

Sitting side-by-side, trying to decide if we should continue or call it a day, my companion asked me, "Do you remember a few of years back when that couple on the beach recognized you?"  Yeah, I do.  It was more than a bit odd when the couple - folks I didn't know - strolled up after we'd landed our kayaks and pointed at me saying, "You’re Tinker!"

"Well, they're here again.  They came up to me and said 'I recognize you!' and then hollered 'And that's Tinker out there!'"

Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re one - or both - of that couple, I apologize for my earlier behavior.  I was caught off guard the first time and, having been startled, I didn't want to poo on anyone.

We hadn't been out in saltwater all year.  It was great to be bobbing on swells instead of boat wakes, and hearing the surf crash against the rocks again was a symphony to my ears - it more than made up for my inability to behave like I knew what I was doing.  The pelicans and my guard-seals - and my close escape from another "You’re Tinker!" encounter - were icing on the cake.

And hey!  I'm on the board in the Fly-Fishing category.  Watch your back, James.

What a great story Tinker.  I thoroughly enjoyed reading this with my morning coffee.   

My son uses my old Standard Horizon radio and it has an external mic... I know what you are going through.  We should get your fishing partner and my fishing partner together sometime, just to see what happens... maybe a tear in space and time  :spittake:

Thank you, Ray.  There should have been videos but I forgot to charge the batteries... just one more example of acting like I'd never done this stuff before.


--- Quote from: Tinker on July 30, 2021, 04:42:37 AM ---
And hey!  I'm on the board in the Fly-Fishing category.  Watch your back, James.

--- End quote ---

Way to get on the board.  Looks like I better get back out there fishing again.

I'd like to say you should be worried, but every time I try, I laugh hysterically.  It's your year, Mr. days.  We had to get tricky about it, but I'm happy finally being able to get out in the saltwater.

--- Quote from: Nobaddays on July 30, 2021, 02:00:48 PM ---
--- Quote from: Tinker on July 30, 2021, 04:42:37 AM ---And hey!  I'm on the board in the Fly-Fishing category.  Watch your back, James.

--- End quote ---

Way to get on the board.  Looks like I better get back out there fishing again.

--- End quote ---


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