Last minute check. What did we forget? Hmmm. Bait? Oh no!! A Mad dash to the tackle shop before 6 P.M. and call ahead to the owner assured us that his bunker guy would be returning from parts unknown with the daily catch. The Menhaden had been thinning lately and were becoming increasingly harder to find. It was now early November and we talked about the days of yore when we would have given up almost anything to procure fresh bunker in October. Upon arriving at the shop we learned they were not in yet, but if we preferred not waiting there were plenty of baby eels, fresh clams and frozen bunker. There wasn't a need for discussion. We would wait out the bunker guys return. I asked the kid if he could snell some 8/0 hooks for me, and I picked up some barrel swivels and a propane canister for our camping stove. Although there were many glowing boat reports, inquiries into the local beach action produced lukewarm response.
At 6:15 P.M. The gates went down at the shop and two trusty tackle shop employees set out with wheeled carts to meet the boat at the slip. It seemed like it took forever. A pizza slice and a cup of coffee tempered some of the anxiety. A few other waited anxiously along with us. We learned that the catch was 4 times less than the previous day, so we purchased extra to throw in the box freezer. I looked upon our bounty with exceeding fondness. It would be the beginning of a great night.
It was a 45 minute drive to our spot and when we arrived the tide was dead low. There is definately skill involved negotiating these difficult bulkhead rocks especially with our gear in tow. It's funny how your mind doesn't register possible danger at these moments. Its kinda like the super human strength you get when you carry that 40 lb fish 2 to 3 miles along the beach. The adrenalin just comes.
We would set up 4 sand spikes and four rods in between the rat holes, rig our lines in the dark, cut up some bunker chunks and cast the poles into the black of the ocean.
Once the rods were in the water it was time to set up our simple but effective campsite. A propane stove with dual burners, cast iron frying pan, and a coffee percolater. The menu for the evening was sweet Italian suasage with green peppers and onions, our bow hunted venison steaks, sausages, fresh mozzerella, and freshly ground coffee. We made sure we took two forks and two knives, some half and half, bottled water, sugar packets, garlic powder and a stick of butter.
We fished, ate and laughed into the dawn. Some of our brethren stopped by to see if we were knockin em dead. We swapped tales, good food and personal stories. I had gotten skunked for just the second time that fall, but you never would have known it. These days it seems the skunk parties are more frequent. But even so, It really does not get any better than this.