The Midnight Rambler ….Ritual (de lo) Habitual

Stay tuned for info on STRIPERTHON 2013 this weekend. Waiting for Tommy to make the contest file. The gist of it is, Catch and Release , no fee, open only to SJ subscribers, October 18 to 20…oh yeah, and something called “ZeeBaaS” for a winner :-)……stay tuned

Here is todays blog by John Papciak

The Midnight Rambler
John Papciak

Ritual (de lo) Habitual

The other night I attended the NY Fisherman Surf Fishing Seminar on Long Island.

I’ve been going to this seminar, and earlier versions, for as long as I can remember. And the truth is I hope to always go, as long as work and health allows – and so long as it doesn’t conflict with any serious fishing.

Was there a seminar that I just had to see? Did I need any tackle? Did I need to know about any new products?

Not particularly.

I just reorganized my tackle and uncovered bags and bags of plugs – dozens of darters, needlefish and metal lips of all makes and sizes. When and how I got them is a big mystery, but that’s what a compulsive surfcaster does, I guess. I felt like the squirrel who finally found 10 years worth of nuts buried in the ground.

So, was the seminar a waste of time for me? Absolutely not

While one side of my brain might have said “been there and done that,” the other side recognized this seminar as part of the fall ritual.

Organizing my tackle, new hooks, new line, the Huntington Surf Fishing Show, watching for the first Nor’’s just not fall unless I do some of these things.

Bill Lomnicki of LIBBA stopped to fill me in on how he was doing with his tin boat. Craig Cantelmo of Van Staal was fired up about the first fall ablies on the fly. Alberto of Tactical Anglers was gushing about fishing in Florida. Bruce Froh of Blue Frog Bucktails gave me his observations on the recent run of weakfish. And the list goes on.

A few other guys told me the same stories they told me last time I saw them, and yes I probably repeated a bit of my own.

None of them needed any new tackle either, but there we all were, a year older.

A common new theme brought up by nearly everyone was the scarcity of stripers in local waters during this past spring and summer.

But was anyone altering their plans for fishing Montauk this fall, and breaking from the tradition? Hell no, or not yet anyway.

Fish or no fish, trucks will assemble in the lower lot, at North Bar and at Camp Hero. The folding chairs will come out, and the wetsuits and waders will be hanging out to dry each morning. Each night you’ll hear that click-click-click of a surfcaster in korkers, plodding his way to and from the rocks.

If the fishing does tank, numbers will thin rather quickly. But with so many fisherman locked into the ritual (and having already booked vacation and/or hotel rooms), a new wave will replace the departed rather quickly.

And for many, there’s a bit more to this than just fishing.

Some will immediately go the same spots they fished last year…and the year before that. Fish or not fish many will be happy as hell just casting without a care in the world

The picnic tables will be covered with tackle, and the adjacent grills will be smoking each afternoon from burgers and sausages. (Ok ,perhaps some things have changed, I’ll see fewer cans of Schaefer and Rheingold, but instead bottles of Blue Point Sam Adams and Stella).

I’ll see a few who no longer have the energy to fish in a wetsuit, or to go toe to toe with six foot waves in a 30 knot wind. They might wait for more humane conditions. Many with grey hair will be fishing much less than they used to, but they will still be content in just being there, to take it all in .

Its fall, and this is what they do. Most of them would have it no other way.   Hopefully, when I’m older, I’ll see it this way too

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