Why I Fish
A great fishing experience doesn't depend on what you catch, according to this local fisher-woman and writer.
- by Rebecca Orfila, photos by Ellis Anderson
By the time cool temps come back to the coast, I will have my launch tasks well practiced without bloodshed or dog paddling in the harbor. Of course, I will have forgotten everything I have learned by next April, when the specks start running again.
Back to Saturday’s fishing. After a period of short strikes to the lures but no bites, we started to move west, testing the reefs until we finally turned north at Henderson Point to the mouth of Bay St. Louis. Still no bites, which remains the mystery of fishing. The fishing forecasts on the Internet need to have their programming checked. I think I’ve lost 75 hours of sleep this year due to those forecasts.
My catches this year have been legal specks (keepers), juvenile specks (toss back), and monster reds. I can hook these great grey beasts with the single spot on each side of their tails, but I leave it to my taller and more-experienced husband to land the critter. Let’s face it: there is a better chance of my losing the prize. Would you take a chance on possibly landing a big fish or be certain that courtbouillion was on the menu that night? Hand off that pole to the wrangler.
We wade fish, too, out of Pass Christian. In the low light of dawn, we throw out our first lines as we walk the edge of the water. Vehicle traffic on Highway 90 begins to pick up as we glimpse sunlight behind the surface clouds. Each sunrise is special — a peacock’s tail of colors or a study in cloud formations. When the colors of morning fade, the sunglasses go on and the real work begins.
The husband tells me that I have my reel on the wrong side of the rod. Trust me; if it were on the left, I would spend most of the day reeling in my first cast. I am a dyed-in-the-wool righty, and my left hand serves little purpose other than to display jewels and type the keys on the left side.
So, what is the best thing about going fishing? It is listening to my best buddy relate special fishing stories from his youth. The best one from 1974 is the one when he and his older sister were out fishing under the train trestle. Imagine two teenagers, listening to WRNO music radio, and just enjoying the day. The trestle rumbled, announcing the approach of the regularly scheduled train. The kids waved up to the train and its familiar engineer. A surprise that warm day, the engineer tossed something down to their Boston Whaler. The goods missed the boat, so my future husband jumped in the water and retrieved two Baby Ruth candy bars. I suppose that these days he keeps looking for more prizes to capture out of the water. Who would trade a day on land for the chance to hear a story like that?