With a couple more fly rod outings at Narragansett Bay, I continue my perfect .ooo percentage while casting in the salt. I’m doing worse than the Baltimore Orioles at their game, currently batting .302 in the American League. Although it’s not my favorite type of fishing, casting for stripers is a fun way to explore the bay and marsh environments of Rhode Island. It’s becoming a sort of minor-league obsession for Salty Walt.
In a classic case of Right-Place-at-the-Wrong-Time, I released an assortment of flies for striped bass in an evening too cool for an anticipated “hatch” of cinder worms. Two days later it was too warm at mid-morning to see much other than a swarm of kayaks and a jet-boat interruption. I reasoned that if I’d been standing at home plate staring at a baseball mound, anticipating the delivery, the count would have been 0-2, with the sun sinking quickly out beyond the wall.
I haven’t given up entirely. If I was serious about casting flies into the salt, I would hire a guide and camp-out at the hot spots but, as usual, I stubbornly proceed on my own course. I’ve learned that when I come back in the fall, I’ll be ready for the ocean wind at places I discovered a year ago (see “Quonnie Pond”), places that I should have rediscovered on this occasion. The 8-weight rod will be equipped with a new sink-tip line, and the same flies used on this particular outing will be freshened up and ready for some teeth.
My coastal fishing has become an undercurrent of more important matters. I ply it while visiting my daughter in Providence, enjoying the company and a grand tour of the Narragansett region. I do it while hiking, birding, visiting historic sites, and consuming more than my share of local food and beverages.
A visit to organic Casey Farm (ca. 1750, now belonging to Historic New England), where my daughter works, was full of late-spring color as the grounds hosted an area Farmers’ Market. The sun-filled hours were filled with conversation, bluegrass tunes and purchases from quiet vendors. We enjoyed a long walk through the farm’s vast acreage to the bay. I especially keyed in to the sights and sounds of various warblers and other songbirds such as orchard orioles (no doubt batting away at insects with more luck than their Baltimore brethren).
Next morning, while fishing, I was thankful for the sight and sound of marsh birds like the willet and the small but graceful snowy egret. A pair of the yellow-footed, black-legged egrets circled overhead when I approached too closely to their nesting territory. The birds seemed like feathery angels from a far place here on Earth, a pleasant contrast to my lack of angling hook-ups and the holiday hijinx of the boating crowd.
Although I ate and drank too much and rolled beneath the city wheels while visiting RI, the trip was good. I know that the fishes of the salt still lurk beneath my rivertop dreams. They’ll swim in the brackish depths and wait for my next approach. My casting average (batting record with an ocean rod) sits firmly at rock bottom and has nowhere to go but up.