Urban Fishing: Sail with the wind you’ve got

There is a boaters saying that applies to life; “we sail with the wind we’ve got.”  Sometimes we don’t get to have our cake and eat it, too, and sportsmen who live in cities usually do so for one reason: a job to take care of their families.  Sometimes it’s a virtual death sentence but sometimes it’s not so bad.  We just have to “sail with the wind we’ve got.”

I grew up on a farm and wound up living in downtown Boston first for school and later for a job.  When it came to daytime activities I was a bit frustrated: my trout fishing and bird hunting was shoved to the weekends.  But every cloud has a silver lining and there were wonderful saltwater and warmwater fisheries to explore.  From April through October the striped bass were in our waters, and they were easy to chase from shore and from a boat.  What made the fishery even better was that night fishing for bass is as common as sunburn, and every night after work my friends and I could get our licks in.  We’d still have some time to catch some Z’s before work, and my fishing time dramatically increased.

If I didn’t feel like staying out late or getting out early I’d hit the abundant warmwater fisheries that were very close by.  The Charles River, for instance, had a tremendous amount of panfish, largemouth bass, and smallmouth bass a few blocks away from FenwayPark.  There were feeder streams that dumped in along the way, and they were usually pretty good fisheries, too.  There were a lot of runners and bikers and rollerbladers for sure, and the funny thing is this: the number of interruptions that I’d get during a fishing trip got to be distracting, and the vast majority of those athletes used to fish but never thought it was possible in a major city.

When I’d fish for bass and blues in Winthrop near Logan Airport I’d see a string of planes poised for landing.  At first I missed my solitude and the peace and tranquility that was a side benefit to fishing.  But then I realized how lucky I was, and that I didn’t have to miss out on a single opportunity.  Some friends living in Rochester, NY catch steelhead as do those in Cleveland, Ohio.  Friends in Miami catch bonefish, permit, and tarpon with the skyline in the background.  In San Francisco folks catch transplanted striped bass while in San Diego they catch corbina.  Living in a city isn’t a death sentence for an angler.  You just have to sail with the wind you have, that’s all.

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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 www.tomkeer.com or at www.thekeergroup.com.