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Old 05-06-2009, 07:38 AM
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Default Sweet Solitude

Sweet Solitude

It's a feeling felt by few others, and it's hard to describe. It's a combination of anticipation, peace, joy, serenity, and oneness. For me, being on the water is the only place I can find solitude without feeling loneliness. Don't get me wrong, fishing with your buddies, and better yet, your romantic partner, is absolutely wonderful. Things tend to be better when they are experienced with others that share your interests. However, there are those times when you need to simply disengage from the world and find your own private space. This is how I felt just a couple of days ago.

After a week of dealing with an important family matter, and the pressures I sometimes feel with work, I just needed to be alone. As usual, and without the aid of an alarm clock, I was up before the sun rose. My morning mantra began as usual: start the coffee pot, log on to the computer, check email, and pour over the numerous fishing reports, tide charts, and lunar charts. I honestly had no intention of hitting the water that morning, but when I didn't hear the wind chimes in the backyard playing their usual melody, I just HAD to head out. It was an easy decision because my kayak was already loaded, both my fly rod and spinning rod were prepped, and I was in my standard uniform of Crocs, fishing shirt and quick dry shorts. All there was left to do was grab a cup of joe, and head out.

There's this great spot that's just an 8 minute drive from my house and that was where I was headed. With the light wind blowing, I could simply drift slowly down this familiar shoreline without the aid of a paddle and hopefully attach myself to a nice red or speckled trout. Actually, it didn't matter if I caught anything, because what I craved was some quiet time. It took me only 10 minutes to get my yak in the water, my gear loaded, and my bow pointed due south. It was about 74 degrees that morning, so I left the waders in the car, and just wore shorts and wading boots.

As I paddled beyond the launch point, I put my rudder to starboard and placed my paddle into its keeper. The wind was slight and perfect so I wouldn't need my paddle until I decided to head back. As I sat there pondering which fly to tie on I paused and took a deep breath. The air was invigorating, and the scent of the Laguna Madre filled my nostrils. It's a pleasantly familiar smell that always reminds me of being a kid fishing along the Laguna’s expansive shoreline. You wouldn't think the smell of saltwater, decomposing seaweed, and the watermelon/vomit smell of a nearby trout slick would be pleasant, but to me, it's wonderful.

After tying on a small top water, I put the rod back in the holder and just drifted slowly to the south taking in all the sights and sounds of the morning. The sun had just started rising and I got to see that magic moment when the suns rays first break the surface and the sky turns the color of a dying campfire at night. The only sound I heard was the cacophony of gulls chattering and jostling on nearby Pita Island. Even though I was at least a quarter mile from Pita, it sounded as if the gulls were right next to me. When it’s a morning like this, even a casual conversation can be heard for some distance. Somewhere I heard the sound of an osprey screeching and heading out on his own morning fishing trip......which would end up being more productive than my own.

For a few moments I didn't have a care or concern in the world; my problems temporarily forgotten. You see, "Laguna Madre" means 'Mother Lagoon" in English; and there I was, embraced in Mother Lagoons arms being comforted by the song that she sang to me through the gulls, the osprey, the wind, and the sound of water lapping at the hull of my kayak. This...at this moment , is solitude in it's sweetest sense.

The sight of an approaching boat broke my serenity and I realized that I had almost drifted the entire length of the shoreline that I had intended to fish. The sun was already up and I could feel its rays warming my skin. The sound of more boats leaving the marina and a plane flying over head ended the pleasant trance I felt, and Mother Lagoon gently released me of her comforting embrace.

I sighed to myself, put my rudder to port and retrieved my paddle out of it's keeper. As I paddled north, back to the marina I smiled when I realized that I hadn't even made a cast. I thought to myself: "Oh well, at least he had a productive morning". In the distance I could see that osprey heading back to the shoreline, a wiggling mullet gripped firmly in it's claws....
Click the image to open in full size.

(Sometimes just being out on the water is good enough.)


Capt Harris Ashley
Corpus Christi, TX
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Old 05-06-2009, 10:20 AM
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Default Re: Sweet Solitude

Harris: Nice story!

Larry
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:17 AM
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Default Re: Sweet Solitude

It was a pleasure to read ...not many people understand what we sometimes feel...for they've never had such an experience...
I wrote some short stories for a fishing magazine years ago...yours is great
Thanks a lot Harris.
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Old 05-13-2009, 11:47 PM
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Default Re: Sweet Solitude

Simply wonderful.
But it would have even been better if you didn't have a yak and wet waded in the water with only a fly rod in your hand.
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:11 PM
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Default Re: Sweet Solitude

great read...

that is what it's all about...I've found that to be the case with all of my trout fishing and being relatively new to the saltwater fly fishing phenomenon, I hope to get there with it as well...

right now, I'm in the "holy **** these fish are freakin' strong" stage (just got back from an albacore trip)...

~Randy
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