Text and Images Property of Juro Mukai, All Rights Reserved

Bonus Trip for the
Good Doctor

Recalling a "unique" outing on Cape Cod's Outer Beaches

by Juro Mukai, Forum Writer's Guild

I met up with the professor at a coffee shop that had made it's way from quaint beginnings in Pike's Place Market (Seattle) down route 90 all the way out to the other end of that interstate near Boston, MA. There are some parallels to my own history in there somewhere, but these would pale in comparison to the history of the Aussie professor who now lives in Scotland, yet was here on sabbatical at a local university biding time before his trip to the Kenai Peninsula in a month.  His looks characterized the world traveling outdoorsman/professor in every respect.  Not that this is so common a persona that it instantly builds a mental image, but if it was - he was it.  Being a professor of computer science, he was a brilliant man yet possessed a passion for fly-fishing rivaled only by a 12 year old boy up the street whom I had been teaching to cast lately.  Our conversation segued from web technology to single malt whiskey to Spey rods to saltwater predatory behavior as we crossed the Sagamore bridge to put four wheels on the big sandy spit we call Cape Cod. 

Before long, we were in the land of miniature golf and ice cream shops, zigzagging the back roads past scrub pines and sand dunes to the sprawling vista of the vast temperate saltwater flats known as Brewster Flats on the bayside of the cape. In the beach parking lot, I lent him a scruffy hat, bolle sunglasses, vented bonefish shirt, waders, stripping basket, sage rod, scuba shoes, and a box of flies - and he was instantly converted into a mass stripah maniac with a slight Einstein look (hair and all) ;-). 

The tide was ebbing and with luck, the flow from the estuary would bring strafing gamefish to our reach. He was a skilled caster and before long we were working our way to a rocky outcropping where the fish were in a feeding frenzy.

In the twilight hours when the fish surround you, you feel like part of the rhythm of the tides; a living dock piling bearing witness to the scurrying striped predators that ride these floods onto the flats.  The doctor cast, lowered his rod tip and began his strip retrieve.  I think he was about to speak when >THUNK!< he let out a holler as he tied into his first ever striper.

He landed several stripers before the school moved beyond reach and the beach balled, towel-clad, boombox shift took over the beach.  I've dragged 15 pound slammer blues onto the beach as mothers with children arrived, and have been asked - was that swimming right there in front of us? Johnny - get out of the water! 

On a normal full day charter I only fish dawn to late morning, then again late afternoon to dark - but since I was driving and we had eaten an early lunch of beer battered fish and chips at Clancy's, we decided to try some mid-day angling despite the scorching heat.  I had recently been fishing the Cape's outer beaches, where wild Atlantic surf pounds the peninsula into an ever-changing seascape; whose subtle bars, rips and depressions attract the largest striped bass in the world.  Tony Stetzko caught a 73 pound bass on these beaches - the world record.  Tony is an accomplished painter and an incredible all around angler and it's always a pleasure to talk to him on the beach.  Anyway it was mid-day and high tide, so I thought if there was anyplace to find a decent fish right then it would be there.  My most recent mid-day visit to a beach north of here was greeted by an epic bluefish blitz, chasing sand eels whose bodies were the diameter of a nickel onto the beach, often severed into pieces. 

The ranger waved us through the National Seashore gate house at Truro.  We walked along this beach past the last lifeguard to the recreational area where it's OK to fish throughout the day. We donned our attack gear and walked with not so much as an acknowledging glance for the neon fluorescent basking subspecies of our human race, treading heavily on the hot sand toward the beach beyond the last lifeguard. As we passed the marker, widow-maker waves rumbled and roared their thundering breath at us, beckoning us to probe them with our herring flies and oversized sand eel patterns in search of gamefish that lay hidden within the surf.  We complied. 

As we began to fish, we had to be cautious about people walking behind us.  Although there was no crowd like a bit south of here, there were couples and small groups walking to the wide open beach beyond where we fished.  As we pushed along the beach, a particularly attractive woman walked past us, then stopped and set down her bag... then her towel, then her shirt, then her bikini!  It suddenly dawned on me that I had never fished THIS beach before during the day despite many dawns and dusks.  It also dawned on me that this was Truro, of nude beach fame, the one I had always heard about as a kid growing up in the Boston burbs.  We turned around to realize that there were humans of all denominations and ages and sexes frolicking about nude as we flung feathered steel hooks through the air! 

The doc and I exchanged looks of surprise. Our conversation had been formal to this point. I tried to make an intelligent gesture amidst all this and offered "I'm not sure that I fully understand the rationale of nudity in a public place", meaning to retain my decorum.  He chuckled a bit and replied... "That's an easy one!  It's a chance to check out some naked (breasts) and show off your (wiener)!".  I fell over laughing, and reeled up to go sit down on a large driftwood log to remove some of now seemingly ridiculous fishing gear.  Clearly the hunt was over.

Without skipping a beat, the doctor came over and handed me his hat.  Then his glasses... then he dropped his waders!  Off came the flats shirt and.. I couldn't look!  Luckily, he had a pair of undershorts and left them on as he dove into the waves for a swim, looking a little over-dressed for the occasion.  Not being one to squander a photo moment, I asked him if he'd go totally nude and put the stripping basket, hat and glasses back on.  Then if he'd only take a few casts I could capture a photo to be entitled "nude flyfishing".  He declined, but if you could envision that in your mind's eye as I see it from my memory, you'd surely be entertained.  Maybe I'll go talk to the Truro Chamber of Commerce about a new postcard with said title, choosing a different model of course.  Perhaps that other sunbather...

Evening finally arrived and we finished up by releasing four nice stripers as darkness fell.  

We had a lot of laughs on the way home.  I enjoyed sharing my experiences from the Pacific Northwest with someone who was anticipating a lifetime journey to Alaska not long afterwards.

I interrogated him about his new homeland and the River Spey, and the River Dee (among the other great legacies) of Scotland.  I told him that if I should be so fortunate as to visit him on the Dee or the Spey, I'd prefer he take me to a "clothing optional" beat... just in case the fish aren't biting.

- Juro

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