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El viento del Norte

On the Baja, when the wind blows from the north, fishing is a non-starter
Photo: Zach Dischner / cc2.0

It's a theme with me, unfortunately. If the weather can suck, it will.

I’d been looking forward to an early spring trip south to the Baja. It was a bit early for the big, close-to-shore schools of roosters and jacks, so, more than anything, the idea was to just get out of the last thrust of a Rocky Mountain winter and into some sunshine. The fishing would be a nice, added bonus — no pressure. Just chill.

But it never works out that way. As an angler, the fishing is never just a bonus.

Back on the sticks

Maybe I was wrong to turn my back on drift boats all those years ago
Photo: Chad Shmukler

I have an uneasy relationship with boats.

There you go. Now it’s out in the open.

I suspect, though, that most folks who share my views about watercraft come to their ambivalence more honestly. Maybe they’re afraid of water. Perhaps they’re uneasy in a vessel that can tip over in a high wind, or be swamped by waves, or that will take on water and sink if the boat’s structural integrity is breached, or if its weight limit is exceeded, or if there’s a serious operator error.

fish envy | fiSH ˈenvē

noun (pl. fish envies): a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s fish
A saltwater flat (photo: Chad Shmukler).

I’m not usually afflicted with envy or jealousy, at least not when it comes to angling. I guess I’ve caught enough fish over the years that I root for other folks to be successful regardless of whether I’m sticking a few myself.

To the bone

We are all caught up in the music, the song is inescapable
Photo: Johnny Carrol Sain

I’m a little squeamish when it comes to eyeballs and brains. You’d think that after dismembering hundreds of carcasses — cutting into both warm and cold body cavities, pulling out intestines, livers, kidneys, hearts, lungs, etc. — I’d be more stoic in the matter. But those eyes, the window to the soul as Shakespeare said, and that gray matter where the soul (or what we think is a soul) resides, trigger uncomfortable emotions.

Imprinted

The ocean calls to me. Now and then, it needs an answer.
Photo: Captain Tom / cc2.0

“In your belly you hold the treasures few have ever seen.”
— Jimmy Buffett, ‘A Pirate Looks at 40’

When your foot presses into firm, wet sand, it leaves a brief, but detailed imprint on the earth. And though, with the next wave that washes over the beach, that footprint is gone, there’s no shame in knowing you left your mark on this place, at this moment in time. And a fleeting moment it is.

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