Ok, I admit it: I had a case of the summer blues. Bad.
It started this spring, when everything was late. I went to the Gaspe, in search of my beloved Atlantic salmon, and found the river empty. The talk was about how the run was “late.” One fish, one hookup, and a year’s worth of anticipation, and I returned home. (Read my post and watch my video here.)
The same was true for stripers. I caught my first striper of the year later than in years past and, despite repeated attempts, caught little but schoolies. And so I started asking around. A few conversations later, and the pattern was clear: people had — Cape Cod, Maine, Rhode Island — had caught some fish, but not in the same numbers, nor in the same size.
First, it seemed like it was a late season. Then, when the summer doldrums arrived, it was clear that the season had failed to arrive as it once did. It was at this point that I took a break from fishing — from blogging, from fishing, from the whole thing. I walked away, preferring to regrade my entire lawn than dust off my fly rod.
And then, all of a sudden, the signs of late summer and fall starting flowing in.
First, I got photos of bones. Lots of beautiful bonito. That got me thinking of false albacore. And then, a few days ago, I got my first photo of an albie caught off the south side of the Cape from my good friend and fellow Compleat Angler Todd Fedele — the first albie I’ve heard reported from that region of the Cape.
For their size, albies exert a disproportionately strong pull on my heart: an albie blitz is so much fun, filled with so much adrenaline and energy, that it requires the same in response to have any action. They are so so efficient, so beautiful and strong for their size, that they restore a sense of hope when I hold one aloft: the little albie’s force is so visceral, so unarguable, that is comes almost as a challenge to one’s own strength and energy, not viscerally but metaphysically. Ask yourself, for instance, if you were that size in that ocean, would you be capable of such incredible things? It’s the perfect way to end the season, this challenge, and their affirmation of marine strength and beauty. (I’ve written about them before, here.)
It’s also the perfect antidote to the summer blues. I’ve got a few trips planned to chase albies, with more in the works. The season may have arrived late, but I’m going out strong, if I’m going at all.