May 17, 2011

Spring is in Full Swing!

Another glorious New England spring is in full bloom in the wake of the best winter season I have ever experienced, and I couldn't be any happier.  A devout winter sports enthusiast to the core, I have no qualms hanging up the skis when the weather turns here in Connecticut.  Sure, the Greens and Whites may harbor pockets of rideable snow into June, but I'll leave those outings to the locals.  They don't have to drive too far at $4.20 a gallon to ski marginal backcountry routes.  

Cape Pogue...a poetic juxtaposition of sky, sea, and sand.
Anyways...spring!   I regard this season as our annual reward for enduring months of iced-over windshields and heating bill-induced heart palpitations.  Few complaints are lodged during these fleeting weeks of flowery transition between winter and summer; even the most curmudgeonly opponents of "weather" seem to embrace the live-affirming spring rains and silence their atmospheric grumblings, if only temporarily.  The days are warm, the nights encourage open windows for deep sleep, and the gentle rains and tumultuous clouds lend a dramatic backdrop as biology reestablishes seasonal dominance over the reticent geology.  I have found myself engaged in an endless fury of activity spurred by the abundant daylight, and as a result I have made good on some of the aimless goals which I presented in an earlier post.

Can you believe I lived with this salty dog for four years?
The warmer weather and emergent foliage bring out the travel bug in me, so I indulged my fancy with a weekend trip to Martha's Vineyard to visit some old friends and catch a few early season fish.  I am vastly fortunate to have roomed with Captain Roberto during my college days, and not only is he one helluva nice guy, but a skilled fisherman taboot.  The first order of business was to pursue some Morone saxatilis in one of the Vineyard's most scenic and secluded backwaters.  The shallow waters of the pond proved to be the perfect environment for the Gheenoe, the Vineyard boys' recent Florida-inspired small craft acquisition.  With a 15-hp outboard, shallow draft, stable casting deck, and ample beer storage, the Gheenou got us into the goods in the most stylish of redneck fashions.  Armed with a carbon-fiber pole, Roberto skillfully piloted the craft around the edge of the marsh where the stripers were feeding in various inlets.  We met success with a topwater Jumping Minnow and soft plastic baits.  The time spent in the salt pond was a highlight of the season so far...great conversation with a great friend, a fun boat, and good fishing all framed by the pristine coastal dune ecology.

Capt. Roberto at the helm.
To top off an already great outing, the following day found me in the company of the island's elite sportfishing charter guides, the boys of (minus "Carl", who was otherwise "engaged").  Captain WBC was eager to show off his new ship, a 22 Pathfinder outfitted with a custom poling platform.  Talk about a humbling experience, fishing with these guys!  All I could do was hang on tight and cast where they told me, with expected success, though  I'm sure I'm not the first amateur from Connecticut they have brought to sea.  Anyways, if you enjoy great fishing photography and well-written prose, you must check out their blog at  And if you don't know what FTV are talking about in their posts, you must i.) meet Kevin and/or Hoagie, ii.) listen to more Grateful Dead than you currently do,  iii.) book a charter and find out what it's all about, or iv.) listen to Grateful Dead while on a charter.

If Ted Kennedy drove a Gheenoe on that fateful day on Chappaquiddick, he might have been president.
Though the weather surely looked like rain, we found the wads of birds and, between bouts of hurling insults at dejected Phocidae, hooked into some striped bass and entertaining bluefish before the schools of bait gave way to fruitless casts and a fine dockside lunch in Woods Hole.  After two days on a boat, I was thoroughly tired, sunburned, and dehydrated, but the spiritual well was replenished and the cosmic batteries were recharged.  

 Here are a few more from the weekend.  Enjoy.

The Woods Hippie gets one.

If the thunder don't get ya then the skull knob will...

Roberto finds fish in the strangest of places if you look at them right.

30 knots and no skipper to be seen...

The lawyer hooks up on his first cast of the season.