Into Darkness: Setting Back the Clock

Early yesterday I went to my favorite beach for a morning session chasing sea run cutthroat trout. I like this beach on the ebb where I’ve had consistent success, but decided to give it a try on the flood.

The forecast was calling for rain later in the morning and cold (in the mid-forties) so I was dressed in my warm shelled insulator pants and my hooded Nano Puff jacket. With my rain coat and waders on, I knew I’d be warm.

What I wasn’t prepared for was how dark it was at the beach. Over the last months, even when leaving the house there were the first fingers of light in the eastern sky. But this is late October and that wasn’t to be. I got dressed in a light drizzle and had walked down along the sea wall to the entrance near the bridge before it was apparent that daylight, however gray, was starting to emerge.

I started working the beach as I typically did. It didn’t take long to relearn the obvious: wading on the flood is different. And that difference extends beyond the direction the tidal current is flowing.

A couple of times I found myself in waters that were deeper than I remembered on that beach, and I slowly worked my way back closer to the beach. Beach fishing is about moving, and wading along a beach there are the shallower points and the deeper holes around those points. Without paying attention, it’s too easy to wade out or deeper than is advisable as I found yesterday.

Fishing for sea run cutthroats is not about deep wading – the fish generally are closer to the beach and going no more than knee depth is sufficient. So I was able to stay in relatively shallow water and cast parallel to the beach, in imitation of the sculpin that inhabit the zone.

That technique worked in the past here, but not yesterday. For the record, I got skunked. No strikes or landed fish.

As I was fishing the wind came up and the rain started in earnest – more reminders that this is now the season for warmer insulation, rain coats, warm hats, and even gloves.

There was another reminder yesterday too. After I got home I checked the tides for next Sunday and noticed the time of sunset seemed odd. It took me a moment to realize that next Sunday is when we shift back to standard time. Sunset will be at 4:49 PM – giving Puget Sound less than 10 hours of sunlight.

Fishing for the next four to five months can be expected to be increasingly cold, wet, and – with morning or evening fishing – dark. On the other hand, fewer fly fishers venture out during the winter months so there should be plenty of solitude.

And there’s still hope for another month or so of sunny weather – however chilly.

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Author: TomR

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