July 13, Friday – Jones Beach –
Hey Mack, Hope all is well on your end.
A friend of mine lives in our old town (but in the village). He is one of the trout guys who also enjoys surf casting. I went with him last year and we went again today. With Hurricane Chris passing by out at sea the waves were powerful.
Spro jigs with curly tails tied in a high low configuration was the rig; we were hoping for some fluke. I met him at 7:30 and we drove in his car since he had an Empire Pass for the state parks. We could have gotten in for free anyway since I am a senior – no charge on weekdays!
We went to West End 2 and the walk to the water is as far as it always was. The erosion of the eastern parking lots is not evident here. In fact, the beach may be even wider. Beautiful soft sand and no people, at least not at this hour. Just a few other fishermen.
Luke has a system – a small pack for tackle, not too much, a sand spike made out of PVC with a loop of cord so you can put it over your shoulder while walking and fishing. When you take off your flip flops you put them on the cord as well so your hands are free. When you want to take a break, or change your rig, you slip it off and spiral it into the sand, stick your rod in it – so easy and minimalist.
We walked in from what was the concession stand. The bathrooms are still open but no food or drinks. Once at the surf we headed east. West would be toward the jetty, but he has had good luck to the east, plus there is a giant shipping buoy that has washed up I wanted to see. I waded into the foam and quickly realized the power of the surf. The sand at the edge was very steep and the waves pounding. I was soaked from the explosion of the outgoing hitting the incoming. It was beautiful and exciting. So good to be back in this element.
The waves were not ride-able in surfing terms, not yet. It was high tide and they would peak, then peter out, reforming in the shore break. BOOM. The thrill. I am not that great a surf caster; with this rig maybe 50 yards. Barely enough to get it into the troth. They say many fish are caught right in the roll of the waves so I let it sink and then varied my retrieve, sometimes bringing it straight in and other times popping it up and down or crawling it on the bottom.
It wasn’t long before I had a fish on, a good one. I was so excited, calling to Luke and backing up. Then the wave must have washed him sideways and dragged him out and then off. I didn’t get to see but a flash. I was stoked. An early hit like that keeps you going.
I made a few hundred casts, such that my arms and shoulders started to protest. Two sea robins, a few plastic bags, weed and a bump or two that could have been what I was looking for made up our eastward walk. Luke had a few bumps and one sea robin, a big one. We turned and walked back, casting less intently while chatting and looking at the other beach goers – a life guard getting in her morning run, a guy who was enjoying the surf au natural and a few gals strolling in the proper, if brief, attire.
I remember when you came home from Nam, we took a ride out here together and marveled at the beauty of these beaches after having seen other parts of the country and world. I still feel love for the sand dunes, the smell of the salt from the crashing waves. It is so very special. It brings back many memories, but more so, just a feeling of being attached. Being a part of.
Like we are a part of each other. Take care buddy.