Watched a charter fisherman wading chest-deep into the ocean, netting mullet near 64th Avenue beach access. Can’t say for sure if he was getting them for his own personal use or for his business. Saw his truck parked in the access; had side and back decals for charter fishing service. Regardless, it was so cool to see. Sea. Sea-saw seen. Yeah, trying to quit smoking cigarettes is making me crazier than normal. The “sea-saw seen” stuff is escaping from recesses of my mind, where lunatic thoughts loiter. Stood a little earlier in the morning with Gamecock hat above head to shield eyes from Ra’s blinding brilliance, waiting for mullett to ride wave crests as sun shone though breakers from behind. Like you’re looking into a huge, panoramic aquarium and you’re not being forced into or away from exhibit by crowds. Much better than watching any high-definition television. It’s been six days since I last touched a smoke. One day at a time.
Ocean surface looks like pockmarked battlefield. Blue fish attacking mullet from below, splashing through the water’s surface and leaving ringed reminders of point-of-attack. The thick schools of bait fish have been running parallel to the shore for a while now. Mullett lay along shore after being bitten in half by blues. One or two every 50 yards. No tail. No rudder. No chance. Crabs gotta eat, too, but I picked up a fish that looked to have been about seven-inches-long when alive. Threw its remains into swash on north end. While cleaning my hands in surf and using sand as if it were a wash cloth, I watched as flock of 20 seagulls ignored dead fish. Wondered why. I’d seen gulls swallow wider objects. Scanned through a shell bed or two. Very little to find. A small tooth here. A smaller tooth there. Fighting gulls caught my attention. They screeched and squawked as one after the other picked up the fish only to have it shaken or knocked from their beaks. I laughed hard. Then laughed harder. None of the hungry skyrats could get airborne with possession of the dead fish. What was left of it, anyway. Once one of them found the fish, the rest wanted it. A minute earlier the half-mullet was of no interest to any of them. Shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me. We humans are that way as well. A lot more than we’d like to admit. We see somebody with something and then we want what they have. Sort of like when I first saw the fisherman with the cast net in the waist-deep water. I hadn’t thought much about netting my own bait for three decades. Yet, when I saw the fisherman catching his own bait, I wanted to do it. It looked like a lot of fun. For the first time in a long, long time I wished I had some fishing gear. Fished decades ago in the Susquehanna River and its tributaries in central Pennsylvania. Remember dragging nets through river grass and catching crawdads and hellgrammites. The latter is sharp-pincered larvae stage of the Dobsonfly. They cling on rock bottoms with their adhesive-like legs and tails. Don’t let one latch onto you. I can tell you from personal experience that it hurts. Hellgies are good bait for bass fishin’. I reckon when I’ve had enough of fossil hunting I’ll pick up a rod and reel again. Give me a reason to wade out after mullet with a cast net in hand.