How To Tie Tail Teasers and Tell Tall Tales On A Winter’s Night

by | Mar 5, 2017 | Block Island, Fresh Water Fishing, Striped Bass Fishing

Share This Article On…

                      Grilling steak tips marinated the air.

 Allman Brothers riffs fell from ceiling speakers.

Fishermen gripped tall bottles.

       Winter doldrums gripped us all.

Outside, roads were tight with dirty snow; it felt like years since we’ve been fishing. Each door opening carried in more frigid air and another angler answering a siren’s call. Peter Jenkins: shopkeeper, guide, tier of flies, relentless fisherman and consummate gentleman, stood shaking hands over the glass counter. Peter saw the need, held a Retro Fit Plug Night and created a temporary oasis on a February night.

Peter opened his Middletown fishing shop, The Saltwater Edge, to a cast of characters toting plug bags and coolers. What’s cooler than a gathering of like-minded, seawater-starved fishermen sitting around a few tables piled high with rusting hooks, threadbare swivels and hopes of rigging everything up right for a new season? Peter’s night of escape was a perfect distraction from the calendar.img_7143

Peter has that wonderful youthful exuberance you find with people who always have something to show you or just seem glad to see you. His excitement was contagious. There were stories of fooling largemouth with a green on green imitation frog, a finicky striper falling for a well worn yellow bottle plug on the fifty-third cast or T.J’s new tattooed pink tuna plug cradled in its case, waiting for a sweet summer day at The Dump. Throughout the night, as he hustled between tables, boxes of flies and displays of new gear, he easily tied a rainbow of feather patterns to new tail hooks.

peterjenkinssaltyfly-editedSurfcaster Dennis Zambrotta told some tales. His stories start quickly and can last a while. Dennis put in his time on Block Island, searching for stripers and later wrote a well respected book about his journeys out there. Passing on the bolo, this night was all about his bottle cap leather belt, a fine example of creativity and a daughter’s love. He seemed to spawn fishing chatter with anyone around him and much had to do with the island. “The water just erupts”, “10 fresh squid on ten casts caught ten bass”, “I could see my shadow on the bottom from the rock I was standing on…” Each line would serve as fine opening line to any fishing conversation.

Empty brown bottles stood watch from slot-wall perches, someone asked how many had been humbled by a live eel and T.J. held another fisherman’s Guppy lure in a classic herring pattern. “That’s my wife’s favorite lure,” he told me. He paused. “I borrowed it from my wife, it’s her favorite lure. I lost it.” His voice had softened. I inquired if he had asked for permission first. “No” he said. There was nothing more to be said with the deed done and disappointment surely registered back home.

peterjenkinsatthevice

While Peter tied, glued and spun the last of his amazing custom color matched patterns, the cooler sat nearly depleted. The room’s buzz of classic rock, sadly without a psychedelic spin through some promised stellar 1977 Cornell University show, was interrupted by the collecting of plastics and donning of jackets. Some had driven from as far as Worcester to get a taste of an impending season full of promise.

peterjenkinstieflies-edited

For a few hours that night, Peter Jenkins made winter go away.

1 Comment

  1. Alison

    I loved this! Thanks

READ THESE NEXT

Potter Pond Shell Game
Potter Pond Shell Game
Custom Rods & Big Dreams
Custom Rods & Big Dreams
The Brewer Brothers II
The Brewer Brothers Part II
The Brewer Brothers Part I
The Brewer Brothers Part I

Gear Highlight

grunden pant photo

You Might Also Enjoy…

Potter Pond Shell Game

CRMC’s Potter Pond shell game of last minute Hail Mary’s ignores the will of so many opponents of losing more open water to private business. We have been telling this tale for almost six years and we’re all just as frustrated as when this was proposed without notice to anyone on the pond.

Custom Rods & Big Dreams

It takes smarts and a real passion to run a tackle store and Rhode Island’s young Rosie Clifton has it all, from custom rods to big dreams.

The Brewer Brothers Part II

This week, the Brewer Brothers are in the grips of a sudden gale and will need all their skills and teachings to get home alive as they face hard seas and tough decisions on the salt pond. Part I of the story was issued last week. The full story is also available for download. Link inside.