Monday, October 15, 2012

Salt Substitute



I leaned back for a moment, closed my eyes, and breathed deeply the
spicy bouquet of salt, sweat, and scorched cork.

That was going to be such a good opening line. It rolled around in my head the entire three hours that I followed Bill’s boat trailer taillights down Highway 70, east towards Cape Lookout. A good line, yes, but now I can’t use it. For while there was plenty of salt and a fair share of sweat, no reels were harmed in the making of this post. No drags were toasted. The albies were nowhere to be found.

I have to admit that my saltwater fishing experience is thin, but one thing that I’ve come to learn is that while you might hit our North Carolinian blue waters with a target species in mind, you often end up fishing for something else - fishing for whatever’s decided to show up. A salt substitute.


The redfish are not being cooperative? There are probably speckled trout running along those same grass lines. No cobia hanging around the buoys? You can bet there's bluefish chasing mullet in the surf just to the west. And if the autumn bait ball blitzes aren’t being driven by false albacore, then catching the Spanish mackerel that are creating the chaos is a mighty fine fallback.


We listened to the crackle of the radio, eavesdropping on the guides as they, too, searched for pods of the armor-plated torpedoes. And, in between the static they're-not-here-eithers, we crashed one feeding frenzy after another, putting deep bends in the 9wts, catching substitute mackerel and blues - that is, when we weren’t hastily tying on new clousers after our previous offerings had been shredded to the hook or sawed off at the 40lb mono. They're toothy buggers, you see.


So while we failed to truly test our Abels and Lamsons or to get reacquainted with our bright fluorescent backing, we did just fine with the stand-ins. We may have missed the albies, but, when you come right down to it, it’s the place and the company that typically makes the trip worthwhile anyway.

And for that there’s simply no substitute.



Note: That was Friday. Sunday, I hear, the albies were all over the place. What can you do?

10 comments:

Steve Zakur said...

And you shoulda been here yesterday. Unless you were, then it was the day before. Fantastic fishing!

Some days you just have to settle for a reasonable tug on the line.

Mike Sepelak said...

Yeah, the dreaded "shoulda been here yesterday." Some days you settle for any tug on the line.

Alex said...

Bonito can be so frustrating. All over the place one day, then gone the next. Still a hoot on the fly though. Better luck next time!

Mike Sepelak said...

A hoot and then some, Alex. Great fun!

Kent Klewein said...

Mike,

Enjoyed the fishing tale. Glad you kept your rod bent. You'll get the albacore next time I'm sure. Nice photos as well man.

Kent

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks, Kent. Hope to get back at them soon.

upacreek333 said...

Soooo familiar with the substitute thing... nice work, as always... I wonder what the substitute is for snook.. I'm guessing ... margaritas...

Mike Sepelak said...

Yeah, Chris. Like black drum for redfish. And I think your on to something with that snook substitute. We'll just have to see...

Matt Smythe said...

Fish for what's swimming, with good company, and you always have a good day.

Great post, Mike

Mike Sepelak said...

The perfect recipe, Matt. THANKS!