Monday, October 1, 2012

Too Early


Alarm's set 3:45 ugly.

Eyes open at 2:28. Happens on fishing days.
Try to close them. Just another hour.
Barred owl screams. Dog barks.
Not to be.

Slip quietly from bed. Feel through the house. Bathroom. Dress.
Granola bar. Liquid breakfast.
Packet-plus-milk. Not the hair of the barking dog.
But it’s tempting.

Kill time. Reread yesterday’s mail. Browse the fishin’ web.
Look for watch.
Try to wake up. Try to guess what's forgotten.
Try not to trip over the dog.
Just try.

Mount up. 4:15.
Next hour’s a blur.
I-85.
Tunnel of light.
Highway hypnosis.

Exit 202. Oxford. Wal-Mart parking lot. 5:25.
Five minutes to spare.

Outparcel Bojangles.
Chicken biscuit quiets the still noisy stomach.
Should've given it the hair.
That would teach it.

Bill arrives. 5:45.
Ken right behind.
Bo’s for them too.
Convoy the final few miles.

Self-pay at launch gate.
Numbered envelope. Tear-off rearview mirror tag. Slip cash into the box.
$4 fee. Have only a ten spot. Ken has two fives.
Borrow one. Both overpay.

Bill stuffs his envelope.
Quarters, dimes, nickels.
Predictable results.


Skiff skips into a rising sun.
Bill navigates.
Ken nods. Dreams of landlocked stripers.

Perhaps they’re back.

Full moon.
Cool weather.
Falling barometer.
Storm front arriving tonight.

Perhaps they’re back.

Here to find out.
Look for the birds. Search the coves. Fish the bridge.
8wt. 350 grain. 15lb floro.
Big-ass clousers.

Roll. Haul. Shoot.
Let it drop. Count to ten. Next time fifteen.
Twenty.
Get it down. Snap-strip it home. Pray for the bump.

Perhaps they’re back.

But no. They're not. Not yet.
It's too early.

Home by noon for a proper nap.


16 comments:

Kevin Frank said...

I really enjoyed this. I've spent a lot of time in "highway hypnosis" especially before fishing trips. You described a few of my striper trips spot on except for the lack of stopping to warm up just to move to another spot hoping for more fishing but dreading the wind that's about to hit me.

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks Kevin. We were good with just sleeves and a windbreaker that day, therein lying the problem. The air, and the water, need a little longer to cool before we'll see the striped bass. But it was good to be on the water with friends - fish or no.

e.m.b. said...

Those 3:45 alarms are tough. Tough. But being on the water as light rises, birds call, moon sets. Can't beat that. Sounds eerily akin to my pike fishing Sunday. Afternoon nap and all.

Mike Sepelak said...

Tough, for sure, Erin. And while our trips do sound eerily akin, you netted a beauty. That's a fine fish. Well done!

Fishin Fool said...

Man, this post makes all the early morning feelings come back to you as you read it. Well done! To bad about not catching fish though.

Mike Sepelak said...

Thanks, Rick! Those early morning feelings seem to be a regular theme here. I guess that they leave a deep impression on me.

And no worries about the lack of fish. It's better to have gone and found out that they aren't there than to have stayed home and wondered.

Mel Moore said...

Well, Mike, all I can say is, damn! I used to get up that early for fishing, now, I am just an ol' Geezer that rolls out of bed closer to 7:00A.M. looking for coffee!

Steve Z said...

3:45 a.m. Damn, that's some passion for the sport, right there.

Pure poetry, by the way. Yours in still the only stuff I can get through.

Nancy Claeys said...

So enjoyed your halting description of early morning, Mike. The suspense was killing me though. :)

Mike Sepelak said...

Mel, ol' geezer here too. Not something I'd wish to do every day, but on the occasional fishing morning it's quite charming. And no coffee. Mt. Dew, here.

Passion's one explanation, Steve. Insanity might be another. And this wasn't poetry. It was my being too lazy to expand my hastily scribbled notes into a proper post.

Glad to keep you on the edge of your seat, Nancy. But then you're no stranger to early starts yourself. Right? THANKS for stopping by! Always nice to hear from one of my favorite places, A Rural Journal.

River Mud said...

Difference between a coldwater guy and a warmwater guy is what time they voluntarily offer to meet you in the morning. Don't think I've ever left home before 4am (3am for surfing and 2am for duck hunting), but 5am is pretty standard. Occasionally, a new fishing buddy will ask, "so are you thinking like 11am or more like 3pm?"

Ha ha. Trout guys.

"Highway hypnosis." Describes a lot!

Mike Sepelak said...

Terrific observation, Kirk. 11am/3pm indeed. And while I consider myself a pretty hardy soul, duck hunters are a completely different breed.

Even I shudder.

Sanders said...

You rise for the fish...and leave for the nap. Sometimes early is good.

Cheers

Mike Sepelak said...

You're right, Sean. Sometimes early is good. Sometimes it's just early.

cofisher said...

I've got my wife convinced that trout don't wake up until at least 9 O'clock, preferably 10! Thanks Mike...enjoyable.

Mike Sepelak said...

Then it's a darn good thing she doesn't read this stuff, isn't it? I wouldn't rat on you, Howard. I promise.