Salty Undercurrents

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.

Daydreams on a small craft in the bay…

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.

There’s a certain symmetry to the sight & smell…

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.

Daughter leads us to the old farmhouse (ca. 1750)…

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.

dies untied, blue sky abides…

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).

can’t say what I wanna say, see?

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.

There’s a certain sentiment in a painted seashell near Pt. Judith…

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.

Point Judith Lighthouse…

The cinder worm “hatch” is actually a spawning ritual. Imitations are usually drabber, but this bright one has a hint of sunset symbolism for my saltwater attempts….

 

 

 

About rivertoprambles

Welcome to Rivertop Rambles. This is my blog about the headwaters country-far afield or close to home. I've been a fly-fisher, birder, and naturalist for most of my adult life. I've also written poetry and natural history books for thirty years. In Rambles I will mostly reflect on the backcountry of my Allegheny foothills in the northern tier of Pennsylvania and the southern tier of New York State. Sometimes I'll write about the wilderness in distant states, or of the wild places in the human soul. Other times I'll just reflect on the domestic life outdoors. In any case, I hope you enjoy. Let's ramble!
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8 Responses to Salty Undercurrents

  1. Brent says:

    I love the look of the coastal heath around the lighthouse. Glad you got more time on the water, exploring the area’s history, and eating and drinking its unique offerings! I’m looking forward to learning more about Rhode Island’s offerings myself when we visit later in the summer.

    • Thanks Brent. I’m sure you’ll have an opportunity see & explore the lighthouse area, as well as other fine offerings when you visit. There’s quite a lot to explore.

  2. plaidcamper says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the sights and sounds of this colourful RI outing! I hope Salty Walt finds some success and gets to improve those numbers at the end of the season. My guess is he’s happy enough to get a chance at bat on an away field, never mind the results or standings… There’s always the postgame refreshments, and this report says they’re pretty good.
    Thanks, Walt!

  3. Bob Stanton says:

    I like the baseball anology. As it is, my own fishing would have me relegated to the minors, with an occasional breakout game here and there. Not enough for a call-up to “The Show.” Electronic missive sent your way.

  4. Jet Eliot says:

    Loved this RI adventure you took us on, Salty Walt, and as always, the writing was extremely entertaining. Fun baseball references, brisk sea, sweet family outings and the wily fish that kept you jumping. I loved hearing about the birds you encountered and your photos were a delight.

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