Sunday, December 13, 2009

"like an old man trying to send back soup"

"The sea was angry that day, my friends, like an old man trying to send back soup in a deli."
-faux marine biologist George Costanza while explaining how he saved a whale - "a great fish" - from a golf ball

The ocean and fish did not cooperate this morning. A front was moving up from the south with gale force winds and heavy rain.
We had a great evening last night with steaks and lobster tails, baked potatoes, wine and all around good company. Up at 6 am and at the dock by 6:30. The captain of the Sea Era met us there and gave us our options. He had been out off of the beach from the Oregon Inlet shoals north to Kitty Hawk the day before and found the waters empty of both stripers and and bunker (also known as menhaden, fatback), the baitfish they feed on. He offered to take us to Croatan Sound to fish the bridges on the west side of Roanoke Island. There could be some small striper there. But with the weather moving up from the south we would have a rough ride back to the docks (and even then catching fish was a maybe). Or we could cancel out and get a full refund on our deposit. With a quick vote we decided to cancel and save our money for a better day.
I cannot say enough good things about Sea Era and Captain Dean Johnson. The captain built the boat himself, a beautiful job. And he was very upfront and honest about our chances for catching fish. Seasons like this can be tough on charter captains - even if the fish go away, their bills don't. But he wanted us to be happy, accepted the cancellation with a smile and a promise to contact us if the fishing improved. We will definitely keep him in mind for our next fishing expedition.
I did make a little progress in getting ready for next spring's trip (or trips - if I work out the weekender in May), buying a Top Spot Pamlico Sound waterproof fold out chart at a tackle shop in Kill Devil Hills. This is a well made, easy to read and durable map. I'll bring along the waterproof chartbook on Spartina too. But I do think this will be a nice addition for our navigation gear. (And I'll take it to California in a few weeks so Bruce and I can sit down and look at the possible routes for our trip.)
So it was back to the condo to clean up, grab our gear and head home. A couple of the guys needed some rest - canceling a fishing trip and having a nice breakfast can be exhausting. I wish we had gotten out on the water - but it was a good trip to the outer banks and a nice chance to visit with some friends.


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