At 6:30 a.m. this morning, I was floating in my boat off Chappy’s East Beach. The wind was light from the North but was expected to pick up very strongly by mid morning, and I was keeping a wary eye out for the pick-up.
East Beach is one of the great staging areas for the fall migration. If you are lucky to catch the migration full on, you can see large flocks of terns diving for baitfish, swirls of striped bass and blues feeding on sand eels and silversides, and pods of albacore and bonito blitzing on the surface. Sometimes, monarch butterflies are winging their way from the East and come to land on your boat for a quick rest before moving on to Chappy.
I have seen this all happening at once. This morning, though, was quiet, or so I thought.
Not having a lot of time to fish, I prospected some holes along the shoreline that have in the past held bait and large stripers. They were empty.
Off Cape Pogue Light, I drifted with the rising current, keeping watch for the subtle break of an albacore.
None were showing. I blind-casted with my fly rod, anyway. Sometimes, the fish are down low and secretive, and can be caught this way.
Visually, most everything at East Beach is on the horizontal plane. Rarely does one look up or down because it is much more rewarding to scan from side to side, taking in the wide expanse of the ocean and the long, low dunes. This morning I could not find what I was searching for: quietly feeding fish, the little flicker of pushed bait, or perhaps some terns working.
The wind started to pick up and I decided to pull out. Back at the dock, 20 minutes later the wind was howling and the waves were already built up.
Over the telephone, I found out my brother Andrew who was fishing the same area with Clark Goff, just about a mile or two away, had gotten into some nice albacore. They caught a few before calling it quits on account of the sudden wind.