Last Licks for Labor Day?

If September 21st is the actual first day of fall, Labor Day is viewed as the end of summer.  Think about it.  Kids go back to school (if they’re not back already), vacations have become memories, and work takes on an air of seriousness that makes us all shudder. Labor Day signals the end of the carefree days of summer that we have enjoyed for the past few months and it is bittersweet indeed.  We have the day off, true, but in terms of free time it’s the beginning of the end.

For many families, Labor Day means spending time at home.  A lot of folks wind up throwing around a football in anticipation of the upcoming season or playing a pick up game of baseball. Backyard bar-be-ques are standard, with hot dogs, burgers, chicken or ribs smoking out the neighborhood.  If Labor Day is family time then that means that a lot of fishermen aren’t on the water.

And that means it’s a perfect time to go.

Over Labor Day weekend, boat traffic in my waters is the lightest it’s been in months.  The ramp is quiet, truck/trailer parking is wide open, and there isn’t as much pressure on the fish.  I don’t have to figure out a sequence of which spots I’m going to hit before other anglers get on ‘em, and on most days I can fish them all at will.  We’re at the front end of some of our best fishing of the year, with cooler evenings and warmer days lighting up the bite.  The water temperatures are perfect, and if the days are too warm then we’ll just jump overboard for a swim.

Traffic on the roads can be a little hairy, and that’s another reason to be on the water.  Who wants to sit in traffic or listen to car horns when you could be listening to the hum of an outboard or a pop of breaking fish?  Get off the roads and on to the water I say, but this group knows what I’m talking about.  Odds are you’re doing the same.

But if you’re getting pressure to have a backyard party here’s what I say: pack up your family and friends and toss a line instead of a football or baseball.  Fall will be here soon and there will be plenty of time to throw the pigskin around. For now, let’s catch ‘em up.

For more information on safe boating.

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Tom Keer

Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a Contributing Writer for Covey Rise magazine, a Contributing Editor for both Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program.  Keer writes regularly for over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics related to fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor pursuits.  When they are not fishing, Keer and his family hunt upland birds over their three English setters.  His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast was released in January 2011.  Visit him at or at