Salt for Freshwater Anglers
If there are any great lessons to be taken from life, from experience, or from a body of water, one is likely to be that what we have learned in one instance can serve us well in another.
Consider the last time you walked by a stream, observing the twists and tumblings of the water coursing over rocks, around limbs; backing up behind a dead-fall, riffling over a shoal of gravel. Remember the first time you closely studied the eddy created as the water’s force was split by a large rock. How the waters spiraled and pooled back into each other, just behind the rock, slowing and swirling bits of leaf and debris and…food.
How often have you considered the ease with which you could approach a lake’s edge on an overcast day, keeping yourself to the cover of trees, knowing you were less likely to spook the trout?
And how much did it add to the day’s pleasure, and its reward, when you probed the bark and the banks and the under-bellies of rocks in pursuit of your own naturally occurring bait?
When you hooked up a nice one and he ran downstream from you, you fought not only his maneuverings, slants and leaps; you then had to consider the force of the water itself as you drew that rascal against the rush of the stream, or the power of the river.
Take these thoughts with you the next time you have a chance to smell salt in the air. You don’t need to change out all your gear. You don’t need a new course or a lesson. You can start with what you already have, in your head and in your tackle.
And you, we all, can open ourselves to what we see in front of us. To see it thoughtfully, reflecting on what we’ve learned elsewhere, respectful of what we have not yet experienced or understood, but confident that these waters, too, will welcome us – as visitors, as observers and as sportsmen.
If you’re at an ocean, look out and see if there is a line of wave-break off the immediate shore – a sandbar. Is there an opening, a cut through which the water moves more fluidly? Recall the eddy in the stream behind the rock, and the swirling movement it created.
The sense of safety the trout were lulled into on that overcast day at the lake is not unlike dawn or dusk at any beach. It is an opportunity presenting itself as nature so often does – briefly, and for those who watch and listen for her clues.
Thinking about, searching for, and finding the locations and movements of baits and baitfishes in salt waters and their environs is a great and worthy recreation, an enriching experience for us and for the friends and family with whom we share them.
If variety is the spice of life, consider adding a little salt to yours. And if you are one who has spent many years enjoying the wonders of the sea’s edges, consider again taking a quiet walk by another, sweeter water’s banks.