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Reading Through Rainy Days

On the other side, chill nights and cold rains will prove our allies

      The sporting life can be a dirty, thankless job, but someone’s got to do it.
      This past week proves my bromide true. After battling relentless heat and uncooperative fish, we are pelted by rainsqualls, wind and more rain. Not much fun. 
      Already we’re dealing with one Hurricane Florence, and a number of as yet unnamed tropical storms are queuing up in the Atlantic. 
      But at least the heat wave is over for a while.
      Looking around my work area, which might currently be mistaken for a violent collision between a bookstore and a sporting goods emporium, I spy some long overdue projects. To avoid slipping into a weather-induced coma of despair, I decide to start on at least one.
       Reaching out, I immediately find an as-yet-unread novel by Leonardo Padura, one of the foremost Havana novelists of today’s Cuba. I’ve always yearned to visit that country again, teased by a weeklong fishing trip to Guantanamo Bay miraculously finagled by a fishing buddy on the pretext of our assisting with a tarpon survey managed by his friend the naval base’s ecologist. We scored quite an angling coup, as at the time it was the only barely legal way to travel to Cuba. 
       We couldn’t help the project much, though, because a cold front had lowered the tarpon count in Guantanamo’s inland shallow water estuaries to zero. We saw a hint of the nature of our relationship to Cuba back then in a young Marine guard with an M-16.
       One evening as we fruitlessly fished up a river, he advised us from a position along the shoreline in a clear, stentorian voice that he was prepared to shoot if we passed out of the base’s clearly marked and very nearby parameters. We believed he was serious, quickly reversed our course, thanked him for his service. That was as close to the rest of Cuba as I’ve ever gotten.
       Heretics, Padura’s latest novel, is a detective story, and Padura is one of the few authors I trust to faithfully describe a city and a culture’s evolution under brutal political stress. It doesn’t have a lot to do with fishing, but his description of Havana, the heart of Cuba, is going to be worth the read.
      These looming weather systems could also be heaven sent (the gods allegedly protecting children and fools) if only to give me pause. I have been on a real bender of sporting activity the last few weeks, despite the meager results I’ve achieved.
      Overdoing things from a certain perspective can be considered a form of exercise, no? Coming home completely exhausted is a definite indicator of physical activity, and hardly taking time to eat properly is in a slightly adjusted reality just another form of dieting, right? Maybe this pause is my time to sit back, relax, have a sandwich and read a good book.
Fish Finder
      Heavy rain has put a hold on the striper, perch and crab bite. But it will all get better. Chilly nights and cold rains will end algae blooms, lower water temperatures and boost oxygen content throughout the Chesapeake and its tributaries. 
       Once you can get back on the water, trolling will be your best bet to locate where the fish have relocated.