It was a dark and stormy night during the winter season. The moon cast an eerie glow over the wind whipped waves battering the wooden pier as it peered through the thick and menacing clouds blowing by overhead.
Sounds like an opening to a Stephen King or Edgar Allen Poe novel, right?
Actually, it was an evening this past week as I made my way to the coast for an evening paddle and fishing trip. My final text to my wife before heading out as the radar showed a few hours of light to no rain ahead read, “Paddling in the Basin. I reckon I have done crazier things. Love you.”
I guess that statement could have been right up there with “hey man, here hold my beer” as a foreshadowing of something bad was about to happen.
But it was not bad at all. I have to admit, there is something a bit unnerving as you get sloshed around in a kayak with a circling current with minimal light other than a few street lights on shore, some running lights from several tug boats in the bay, and a filtered gray glow from the clouds overhead.
I thought the woods could play tricks in the dark; the water plays outright dirty pranks in the dark.
One I was in a spot where I thought I could bring in a few panfish, I dropped anchor. Next I baited two poles and dropped the bottom rigs as well. Honestly, the waves slapping the side of the kayak and the dark skies made it nearly impossible to tell if I had a hit or not. I did feel a series of bumps on my right side, at least I thought I did. I could not tell anything from the rid tip though, as the steady rocking had the tip dancing all over like a 1960s hippie that had too much happy flowing.
I grabbed the rod, and by gosh, I was able to feel the pop-pop-pop of the fish’s tug. A mid-sized sea mullet had feasted on my bit of shrimp and managed to get a hook through its lip.
By this time, the rain had turned to drizzle, and the drizzle turned to mist, and the mist turned to a fog rising ever so higher. It appeared as if a cloud was a couple dozen feet above the salt water. The water’s surface had also calmed down. It wasn’t like glass by no means, but there were no longer choppy white caps slamming the side either. Where the river current was flowing into the basin, the water was smooth but ever changing. Imagine a freshly washed sheet gently swaying on a clothesline from a soft spring breeze.
One of the panfish I ended up catching provided bait for a bigger hook, rod, and reel. Another rod was adorned with a trusty metal jig set to entice a gray trout somewhere beneath.
As the moon broke through the cloud cover and the stars made an appearance, two of the tug boats sprang to life. Those two tugs and myself were the only things on the water that night. I turned on my light to mark my spot in case the tug boats passage was heading in my direction. Several of the guys waved and pointed, as I am sure they thought it was crazy to see a kayak angler fishing in the dark on the salt water. But, I reckon they have seen crazier things.
Over all, it wasn’t that crazy. It was a well needed paddle and a short adventure, and the last thing of the year to bring sanity into my otherwise hectic world.