The beach near my house is fantastic fishing and shitty catching. The fish always seem to be just beyond the reach of my cast. Several nights every week, I gear up and make the trek to the narrow stretch of rocks and oysters. Cast after cast into this Puget Sound bay rarely returns a nibble or even a bump from small bate fish. One landed fish for every 15-20 visits – that’s my success rate here at the home beach. There are plenty of beaches in the area that produce more fish, which explains why I’m often the lone angler. So, why go through all of the effort? The views are phenomenal.
I cast as the sun sets behind the Olympic Mountains. The sky fades to a hazy pink, mountain silhouettes glow, and harbor seals bob up and down in the water. At lower tides, I’ll often see an otter running across a nearby sand flat. Bald eagles chirp in the treetops. There’s even an occasional Orca sighting.
When I manage to land a salmon or a sea-run cutthroat, the excitement lifts my spirits for days. The rarity of catching fish here makes it special. But I think the fishing is just something I do out of habit more than anything – it’s not what brings me to this beach. The lights, marine life, smells, and quiet rejuvenate my brain and help ease the stress of my daily obligations.
I have a few friends who like to jab what they call my weekly fly fishing fail sessions as they enthusiastically recount their recent fish. My response always comes with a smile – Yep, I don’t catch too many fish here. But if you think failing means not catching fish, it’s a pretty fucking great place to fail.