Today is a Good Day

Today is a Good Day
One of my favorite moments is pulling up to the launch spot super-early, well before sunrise. The wind is laid down and everything is still. You can see the reflection of the moon on the glassy surface of the water. The anticipation is heightened even further if there is a wispy fog hovering in thin patches.

You may have fished a thousand times, same or similar routine and destination in mind, but something in that predawn creates an aura that makes it feel brand new.

The next few minutes are spent unloading gear. I have a habit of laying all my gear out on the ground and then packing the kayak one piece at a time. Your gear must always be kept to a minimum, of course, but needing something and not having it on the boat is a bummer. Finally satisfied, I am ready to launch.

Pushing out into the water and taking those first few paddle strokes is another bullet point on the timeline. It's the "OK I'm here, I'm one with the water, let's do this thing" moment. When all is quiet in the dark you are easily overcome by a very surreal and stealthy sensation as you glide along in the kayak. It's a long paddle to the honey hole so you snap back to reality and press on.

If your timing is right you approach your fishing spot just as the sun begins to provide enough light to see ripples and backs in the shallow water. You cruise slowly along, eyes peeled for a casting opportunity. You reach behind the seat to grab a rod, must be ever-so quiet, disturb the peace and waste a chance. Those are the rules in shallow water sight-fishing.

Your first cast, though the reel barely hums, seems too loud as the lure arcs toward the target. But what a great sound. In these early casting moments I am nervous in a way, high on anticipation for the first bite of the day. Slowly, you move down the shoreline. Up ahead you hear a popping sound, a splash, you know this sound. It is the sound of a hungry red feeding along the grassline. This is it. Make it happen!

Ever carefully you creep closer and closer to the commotion that is breaking the still silence of the morning. You lay your paddle in your lap and pick up your rod. You know you have to make a perfect cast to entice the fish. You cast, in your mind you curse yourself; too far left. You bring your lure in and cast again, perfect.

The retrieve begins; the lure is coming by the fish. The fish detects it, turns, darts towards it, slam, setFISH ON!

In the shallow water the fish is within sight during the whole fight, cutting across the flat as it tries its best to escape, baitfish and tiny shrimp showering ahead of the racing predator. Finally the battle is over and you have retrieved your catch. If nothing else happens for the rest of the day, it has already been a good one.

A few moments to revive the fish and it swims off hurriedly. Why do they have to throw water on your glasses?

You get yourself reset in the kayak and then take a few moments to drink the experience back in. With a smile on your face you take your paddle in hand and press on to find the next redfish that will give you your next thrilling fight. Today is a good day!