12-17-2001, 06:48 PM
It was a time when the air felt warm even at night, when all humanity slows down and takes the time to feel the sand between it's toes. Every dawn brings an adrenalin rush that only an angler feels while the world sleeps. Baitfish small and large abound on every ridge of sand, in every flume of current and breaking wave in the surf. You wouldn't want to be a baitfish because it's never long before a stealthy linesider or marauding blue appears from the depths to indulge in eating you or your kin, a strafing pack of pounding mouths and teeth. If you didn't look before you leaped the birds would have you in a flash from above. Within this vicious cycle the angler stalks, flyrod in hand walking lightly on the sand. Haul, cast, strip. Strip-strip. He presents the image of a victim yet is himself the predator. Alone in his pursuit his thoughts wander from the gnarls left tangled in the day job to something cute a child said to pondering the unrest overseas. Strip-strip. Strip-THWONK! For a few moments, nothing matters except the force to be reckoned with on the end of the line as the flyline shoots from the reel and disappears into the waves. A sense of insecurity accompanies the joy of the moment as a thin fiber of braided nylon connects him to something strong and unseen that doesn't come easy. Eventually it really doesn't matter if the fish comes to hand or not. What matters is that you're there, living the moment with the streaking red sky in your eyes and the fresh morning tide scent in your lungs. It was the heart of the season, and it will come again.