On the kid's popper....
Maybe it was the tsunami sand eel I gave that guy last fall on the beach when he wasn't catching, maybe it was helping out a few upside down horseshoe crabs this spring... the fishing gods must have seen a healthy balance in my karma account and decided to give me a day I wouldn't forget.
A last minute day off, a 9am camp drop off, grandma had already made plans to come watch the little guy until my wife was done with work, and Montauk is thattaway.
I made a quick stop to buy something I really didn't need but really do, and threw the Montauk idea across the counter at Tom of Haskell's in East Quogue. I already had the lighthouse punched into Wayz when I pulled up and it was the little nudge of "Yeah if I could head there I would.", that I needed.
A perfect summer day. I looked like a bad attempt at being the invisible man for Halloween I had so much sunblock on. It was the worst time to fish if you follow the rules. Bright, bright, hot early afternoon sun on crystal clear water with a slight west wind at slack tide before the flood. The only fishing reason to have been there would be coming up on the full moon, the July full moon that a lot of people say is Montauk's best. I only needed the one reason I had to be there, because I could that day.
I'm a sucker for surface lures. The one I clipped on,my little guy bought me with his winnings from a sea robing tournament last season. I justified using something that shouldn't have worked because the kid would be proud. I know I've probably skipped way too many poppers over the heads of fish that were hungry for something else over the years. There's just nothing like it when they work though. Third or so cast I got a small blowup in close. I hadn't broken out the 11' so far this year and she was slinging it well. A few more casts that just came up with seaweed before I started making my way west. Switched to a bucktail and didn't get stuck in the rocks that kept getting bigger. A few hours went by, and between not wanting to sacrifice my ankles to a walking cast and a short cut drive that takes just as long as the long way drive looming, I headed back to the lot.
I would have left happy that I got a few more hours then some fishermen ever get a chance to experience, and drove home wondering if I had gone with the ounce and a half instead of one ounce bucktail would I had.....
Luckily, I took a breath and took in the Point and the rock statues. Ehhh, few more casts, I got time. Just a few more where I got that little blow up. Got a nice launch of a super strike white and blue (yep, a dark color on a bright day) little neck popper. My line bowed from the west wind a bit and I hadn't gotten the slack in to cash in on the first fierce blowup. Next blowup I was tight, and there was at least 75 yards between me and the fish. This strong island tarpon put on a show. I couldn't believe my knots held up. I couldn't believe the plug held up. I couldn't believe I didn't get a treble in me unhooking a half dozen beasty blue fish 15-20lbs. I couldn't believe the whole thing. The only one fishing, like I had dibs on 200 yards of beachfront. If it had been after Labor Day I would have tangled 30 lines the way these gators took the fight against and with the tide fifty yards in each direction.
So the moral of the story is..... 1.) Fish whenever you can, and if it's Montauk figure out a way to fish even if you can't. 2.) Last Cast is an infinite number, a great fishing story always makes it easier to answer why you're late. 3.) Embrace the thrill of these days that every once in a while come together.