The calendar said soccer tournament for the weekend, but I packed my gear anyway. We were staying in North Kingstown, RI. Any number of prime striper waters would be just a short drive. The only question was, would I have the energy — or the desire — to get out after a day of schlepping around soccer pitches in the hot sun?
The answer was yes. Saturday night, I headed to one of my favorite spots, My Father Le Bijou 1922 Belicoso in hand. I fished for about two-and-a-half hours. The thing was, I never wet a line.
I stood on a dock and searched for signs of life. There were horseshoe crabs, blue crabs, silversides, and jellyfish. But no stripers. I walked along a rock wall and watched the swirls and eddies formed by the last of the incoming tide. I peered over a bridge and marveled at the dessert-plate sized blue crabs swimming across the outgoing tide, faster than such seemingly un-aquadynamic creatures had a right to, as they hunted silversides.
When I returned to the dock, the stripers had moved in. I watched one fish for a half hour. He was about two feet long, and fat. He travelled in the same counter-clockwise circle, approaching from down current, sweeping along the bottom slowly and methodically, then cutting sharply to the left, accelerating, and disappearing into the void before materializing below a few minutes later. On rhythm. Perfectly.
It was magic.
A few of his friends made slashes on the surface, neither timed nor spaced.
I thought about getting out my rod. More than once. But I knew that was not the right thing on this night. I was doing what I was supposed to be doing. Just like the stripers.
The next time I go back, I’ll catch some. They will understand.