As I prepared to launch, the skies opened and a cold wind kicked up I pulled on my raingear, cinching up my hood against the elements. A few minutes of paddling, and I reached my first spot. The skies cleared, and the drag soon sang with the pull of a mystery fish. It came unbuttoned, but my confidence was up. A nice seatrout put me on the board. I unhooked him, slipped the grip into his mouth, and reached for my tagging gun. The fish was sitting in the water and with one flop, it freed itself before I could measure and tag it. At least the day had yielded something other than relaxation in the sun.
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A few pelicans kept me company as I paddled around, and I found the remains of their lunch, taunting me in the shallows.
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I paddled to a section of shoreline and quickly landed a small red. I measured, tagged, and released him. Interested to see what else was on the feed, I went searching for marks in deeper water. When my rod doubled over, I pulled back on a silvery, acrobatic flash––a shad, my first of the year.
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Another species, another terrible picture.
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At least I got something to come out.
I continued working my way around to a few more likely locations, picking up a few small seatrout and reds before pulling in a nearly 20” speck - the doppelgänger of my first fish of the day. A quick measurement and tag, and the speck was on its way.
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On my way back to the launch, I pulled out a small striper; the perfect cap to the trip. The striper rounded out the readily available species for this time of year, perhaps with the exception of white perch. As I had in the morning, I paddled against the wind and tide––“uphill both ways,” as I like to say––and loaded up the truck to head home for an ice cold drink.
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Somehow, I’d managed to take a horrible photo of each species, making for a hilarious synopsis of the day’s catch. Fortunately, I don’t head out to take pictures; spring is in swing, and my spirit is in the total experience on the water.
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