The most difficult part of striper fishing in December isn’t the cold. It’s finding the fish. Once you do, you can pretty much get out the tally sheets.
So I headed south to see who might be out and about. Save for a multitude of sea birds and one other fly angler, I had the beach all to myself. This being a powerful moon tide, there was no shortage of sexy rips and seams to cast into. I was two-handing it with a floating line, a six-foot section of T-11, and a three-foot leader of 20-pound mono. A four-inch long September Night seemed like a fine choice of a fly, although I spent considerable time debating the merits of throwing a sparse bucktail like the Magog Smelt.
I fell into the meditative rhythm of cast, mend, mend, swing, slow retrieve. I was ready for the pull of a hungry fish.
The answer was no. All I was catching was sea lettuce and marsh grass. The other angler across the way was likewise blanking. Then he got into a small striper. And another. I kept waiting for the hits that never came. Since I had a limited time slot — I was slagging off work — I reeled in and headed for another spot. The distance and brisk pace I kept made me sorry I had put on that extra layer of fleece.
New venue, same results. There comes a point in every skunking where you make peace with the fact that you’re not going to catch anything. So I reminded myself that while most of the world was working, I was fishing. The sun was out. I had the pleasure of a peppery, earthy Churchill. But, I asked, could I please get just one fish? I raised the question out loud, because I find that when you’re alone, that works a lot better than just thinking it. How else to explain the strident bap! at the end of the next swing?
These stripers didn’t know there weren’t any mullet around. Not to worry, for the September Night worked quite nicely on this December afternoon.
And that was the start of the Bass-o-Matic. All small fish, but each of them fresh from the ocean, flawless and gleaming bright.
With great discipline, I peeled myself away from the frenzy five minutes before my hard stop. So much to do. So little time.
At least now I could cross “catch December stripers” off my list.