I tried to write this on Tuesday, the day after I got back but I spent the entire day cleaning up gear and cleaning up the "Beach Camo" colored truck.
by the time it got dark I still wasn't through and I was beat to a pulp. Wednesday I got up and finished getting things back in order and sat down and spent almost 2 hours on the report. Then I some how dumped it and I have no idea what I did. I promise y'all one thing, if I EVER find out what key it is that I hit and dump all that I had just been working on I will pull it out by it's evil roots! I have a pair of 440 Channel Locks next to the computer for just that purpose. Anyway I am over the vitrolic conniption of Wednesday and ready to try again.
I would like to begin by explaining the obvious absence of any pics. It will be hard for me to properly explaing but I will try. I pulled off the Bluewater Hwy onto Access Rd #5 and Sam's Beach at 3:10 PM on Friday. The skies were blue with only a few high white clouds. The wind was ESE at about 8 or 10 mph. The water was clear-green to the beach and no waves breaking beyond the 1st bar. Visibility was about 4 to 4 1/2'. I had been down the day before to check it out and found the tides slightly elevated but by the time I got there the next day, the were closer to normal and returned to normal over the next couple of days. The sand was CLEAN and FLAT. No powder. All hard-pack right up to the vegetation line.
I was overcome by a strange state of mind. As I got out and walked around the truck, visualizing where to put the tent and the "Kitchen" I achieved a state of euphoria that I was just not prepared for. I realized that I was FINALLY going to have my good days on the beach. For all the times, lately, that I have been washed/blown/stormed off the beach, my perserverence, determination, and refusal to give up were finally going to be rewarded. I just somehow knew that I was not going to have anything but the best of conditions the entire time. I didn't even put the rain-fly on the tent and that is a decision that required some serious confidence.
Then I thought about taking some pics and I realize that the inclination to take any pics what-so-ever of this trip were completey gone. I felt more like just "being there" and not having to "step out of the moment" to take any pics. Does any of that make any sense to y'all? Now I kind of wish I'd taken some but at the time it was just not a thing I felt like doing. After waiting as long as I did and enduring all the busted trips, this was just going to be too good to suffer any distractions. Even though you will not have the pictures, you will get the proverbial thousand words. I hope this will suffice.
Let me begin by thanking the good friends that came by to visit with me on this trip. Was in the water Saturday, mid-morning and I saw a brown Chevy truck pullin' a skinny-water boat pull up. I was out too far to recognize the driver as he got out and the guy got out a lawn chair and sat down. I watched him long enough to decide that he wasn't there to go through the tent or truck and relieve me of my meager possessions, he was a friend and there to visit. I fished a few more minutes and got out to go greet my guest.
It was Brad Greuter. He mostly lurkes but does post up once in a while. Back in the days when we used to have the pier gatherings he turned up for one of those and it was the first time I'd met him. He is a cool feller and I enjoyed seeing him again and visiting with him. Brad, thanks for coming by. You need to jump in here and post up some times!
While Brad and I were solving some of the worlds more serious problems, Pat Patteron, his son Josh, and his daughter Morgan pulled up and we had us a nice little crowd. Brad finally had to leave and Pat and I hit the waves. I'll get into the fishing details later. The Pattersons had a nice visit and the kids had a blast. While they were still there, none other than the erst-while Steve Mountain came by in his new Jeep. He had his daughter Dawn and her friend with him and they stayed for a nice visit. Steve, Congratulations on yer new Jeep. It's really cool and I know you will have a lot of fun cruisin' the beaches in it.
Later that day Krash came by, on his way to a spot he knows where the toothy critters tend to hang out. He had a very large and very cool rod with a reel on it about the size of a Volkswagen. His pants were on fire to get to fishing so he left to go get into the sharks. Then, after dark, Guy and Cassaundra Nichols showed up and guy set up a big rod and we just all sat there by the water's edge and waited for the action. Nothing ever took the hook but we had a great visit. All of you that know Guy and Cassaundra know how cool it is to hang with them. Later, Krash came back with tales of having caught, tagged, and released, a 52" blacktip shark. He was buzzed up pretty good over that, don'tcha know!
Congratulations Krash. Sorry that I folded up so early and had to hit the sack.
That was all on Saturday. On Sunday I had a return visit from The Pattersons and Pat's offshore bud, Dan and his wife. More fishin',n playin', and visitin'. Pat, Thanks a million for the ice and bait. You will never know how much it was appreciated!
The bottom line is, that this trip was the PERFECT blend of solitude hanging with friends. The friends dropping by kept me company and kept me from getting too lonely, and the time alone was much needed and long overdue. Some serious reflection and introspection occured over those 4 days and it was the best quality time I've had with myself for a long time.
As you might guess I didn't suffer none in the chow department. I bar-b-qued half a chicken Friday night. I fried and ate fish Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. I also had a nice T-bone Saturday night. Campbell's, Dinty Moore, and Hormel covered me well in between all the "fiestas"
. Perhaps my favorite meal was breakfast Monday morning. Scrambled eggs, fried fish, and chili. It ain't meal I'd ever order at Denney's but cooked up fresh on the beach, it is hard to beat, and I ain't lyin'.
Okay, okay, here's the account of all the fishin'. First of all, I did not see hide nor hair (fin nor scale?) of any thing with spots or dots. But that don't mean I didn't have plenty of action and plenty for the table. I'll take it day-by-day:
Friday: A few whiting and one break off. I fished from about 5:30, after getting all set up and squared away until dusk. I only had dead shrimp but was hoping to catch some small croaker/whiting/piggies that I could put on the big rod as live bait. No problemo! I had a major run on the big rod with a 3" whiting. What ever it was made off with a dang fine home-made leader and 12/0 circle hook. About the last 3" of the line I got in was badly scuffed and that almost always means bullshark. When you hook one of those motor scooters, you need to turn his head and get him coming back your way asap. If not he will turn back and rub his skin over your line until he can break you off. I had the rod in a spike but perhaps if I'd been holding it when he hit I could have beached that critter. Oh well. I got to pull on him for a little while, any way.
Saturday: Saturday was probably the best day for water condidtions. Hard to believe that all the spoons, rattletraps, plastics, topwaters, I threw didn't pick me up any trout. but I did catch some pompano in the 15" and 16" class and, over the 4 days, at LEAST 100 whiting. They ran in all sizes. I couldn't have chosen a better assortment of sizes. Some very small ones to use as live bait, some a little to big to use live but still too small for the table. I used them as cut bait. and many, many huge whiting (the largest I caught was 18 1/2" which went well in the skillet. I quit keeping fish mid-afternoon Sunday. I caught lots and lots of lady fish, which made for some excellent cut bait and I had one break off on Saturday morning just after daylight.
Sunday: The wind picked up slightly and the water got a little bit rougher, but it was still great and the color remained clear green. Visibility up to 4 1/2 feet. The bite slowed up some but not much. The Pattersons stood out on the 2ns bar and caught a bunch of fish. I did notice that the whiting were running a bit smaller. The biggest one I caught that day was about 15 1/2". Still a dang fine eatin' fish.
Monday: When I got up Monday morning the wind had increased considerably. The water has gotten pretty rough and the color was sandy green. Visibility was less than 1'. After a killer breakfast I ventured out and discovered that there was a pretty mean rip, east to west. First trace of any current for the entire trip. Friday thru Sunday you could throw a foat out in front of you, standing in waist deep water and it would stay right there. Anyway, I fished a while, catching mostly whiting, with a few you-know-whats now and then but I didn't keep anything. I had 2 more runs and subsequent break-offs on the big rod w/live whiting. I went in and struck the tent and got drunk and took a nap. Woke up and fished some more. Mid-afternoon the wind began to lay but the water remained rough. About 4:30 the cab of my truck was making enough shade for me to hide in so I took the "kitchen" down and began getting things organized for packing and loading up for the trip home. I fished for the last time from about 5:30 till about 6:30.
I spent the rest of the hours of daylight loading up and getting ready to head back to the real world and my OTHER life. After one final sunset on the beach, I sighed deeply and looked at my watch. 10 minutes pat 8:00 PM. time to call it a trip. I threw the lawn chair into the back of the truck took a quick last look around for forgotten items and to make sure all my trash was picked up, crawled up into the cab and shook my head in amazement at how quickly the time passed. Fired up the old F-150 and left my little patch of Heaven and 4 wonderful days in my rear-view mirror.
I drank a lot of rootbeer this trip. You know how certain tastes, smells and sounds can sometimes trigger childhood memories? Well for me, rootbeer always reminds me of the times my family took me to the beach and my childhood experiences of the beach and all it meant to me then. Seems like that was all we ever took to drink was rootbeer. Now, when I have a rootbeer it takes me back to that time. Back then it was Hires. Now it's A&W but the taste of modern rootbeer is no different than the taste that I remember when I was 5 years old. A good rootbeer is hard to beat!
I tell you this next bit merely to try and describe the state of near euphoria I achieved during my trip. I don't mean it to be funny or titilating or crude. I only want to express how deeply I got into this entire trip. I woke up about 2:30 on Sunday morning. Answered natures call and laid back down on the cot. The rusty old gears in my mind began to slowly turn and I soon realized that I was not going to go back to sleep any time soon. I was overcome with a powerful urge to do something that I haven't done since I was 5 or 6 years old. I expect that many of you in here have never done it. I certainly don't recommend it on a frequent basis or for lengthy periods of time, but under certain circumstances it can be invigorating. It certaily was for me on this occasion.
I got up off the cot, stepped out of the tent and looked up and down the beach. Totally deserted. Not a car, not a person in sight in any direction. It had been like that since just before dark. My heart pounding (not sure why) I took off my shorts and T-shirt and actually went skinny-dipping in the surf. I'm trying to find a word that can describe that feeling. Nothing seems to fit so I guess you'll have to try to figure it out. It was a rush. It was a high. For 2 very distinct and serious reasons I didn't stay out there long. Maybe 10 or 15 minutes. At first I was totally consumed by mighty powerful feelings of being all natural...in nature...under that gorgeous blanket of stars....OMG! What a feeling!! Eventually though, I came to my senses and became aware of some of the more practial realities of my current situation. I gave it a few more minutes but the magic momet was gone now and the over powering urge to get back on the beach while I was still intact began to take over. As I stepped out of the water I looked back and just stood there looking out over the water. I wondered if I would ever live long enough to grow tired of the beach, the surf, Gods beautiful heaven above. NO FRIKKIN' WAY!! Seem like the more I get, the more I need.
Again, I apologize for not having any pics. I hope you all understand that this one was a lot different for me. It took me by surprise and I had no idea I'd get so "into" it. Any way, you have all seen enough pics of Camp WJ, the sand, the sunset, the sunrise, and so on and so forth. It may be a long time before I have one THIS good again. But that's okay. I can live on the memories of this one for a very long time.
Spirits up, Batteries charged, My inner-self appeased....LIFE'S A BEACH!