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One More Cast

November 14, 2010

The little guy wanted to go down to our favorite bayside honey hole and make a few casts. November 14 is pretty late for stripers, unless they happen to have taken up with a school of year rounder residents, but it was a lovely evening for a walk and this spot is full of ducks. Besides, I can’t get enough of this toddler’s cast. He opens the bail, holds the braided line with one hand and then whips the eight-foot surf rod around and lets go of the line. It looks like he’s fly fishing. He can usually get a swimmer 20- or 30-feet out from the shore, and I suppose if we weren’t careful the double entendre might fit.

We didn’t catch any late stripers, but we did find a plywood decoy shaped like a brant but the size of a turkey. There were a couple of spent shotgun shells on the ground and we found a live three-and-a-half-inch shell and wondered what kind of gun takes that length. It’s important for hunters, like dog walkers and picnickers, to clean up after themselves. There were two dead eiders along the way that had been tossed by the heavy seas this week, and maybe chewed up by coyotes, and it was hard to make heads or tails of them.

ducks flying away

On our way to the spot some sea ducks flew over heading for the sunset. I wondered where they were going and we took bets on whether or not they would return. They did, I won. They are in season, but I don’t want to shoot something I’m not going to eat, unless I’m shooting it with a camera (or it’s eating my livestock – unlikely with waterfowl.) I crouched in the marsh grass and they flew directly over my head, easily in range. They must have noticed I was only wielding a small camera.

ducks coming back


We let the little guy cast and cast as the marsh filled with pinks and purples. I listened to the sound of the little waves rolling down the smooth shore. No pole, no gun, no agenda – just great appreciation for this land and our chance to “Be Here Now,” as Ram Dass might say.

There was some small bait jumping in the creek and a couple of ducks moved in on the opposite shore as the light disappeared. They splashed and dunked their heads, letting the water roll off their heads and down their backs, just as our domesticated waterfowl do in their pool. They disappeared from view, then came out of the water with their bills held high, gulping down fish or weeds. Their feeding was so athletic, I suspect they were more hunting than gathering. I think they were surf scoters, based on head shape and the thick neck, but they may have been eiders. It was hard to tell with so little light. The toddler negotiated for one more cast a few more times, and by the time we finally headed back, his boots were full of water and his socks and pants were wet. He hitched a ride to the car, pulling back on the reins for a pause when we passed the dead eiders again. We felt the chill as we passed the bogs, then bundled into the buggy for a happy ride home.

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