Wednesday, January 2, 2019

First Day

I follow J down the last bit of road to the launch.  He is a fishing instructor and guide who lives nearby and comes here quite often to practice or work with new gear.  By now, I recognize his truck.  Since he hasn't been wading in 40 degree water for a 1/2 hour or so, we have an unusually long chat about a some river related stuff and a couple of documentary movies. He asks and I tell him that I am heading up through the Sneak.  I've told him about that before and he tells me his wife hasn't been able to find it, so I draw a quick sketch map for him.
I head up the Neck, then up Bailey Creek, and then into the Sneak.  The tide is falling and I have just enough water to clear the Sneak.  Then I grind my way up against the ebb flow, the cost of a leisurely start.  Somewhere around freezing when I set out, my fingers were cold until I reached the Big Bends.  By then blood was moving warmth through all of my extremities.

The pace was slow and I figured I was giving up a mile per hour because I timed my start for the midpoint and strongest currents of the falling tide.  Sightings were few.  I flushed some Buffleheads and Black Ducks.  The Buffleheads would circle around and be back in the river when I returned.  The more nervous Blacks would most likely go often to a more secluded area in the marsh and I would not see them again.

Although it was below freezing last night, there is no ice except in the places that have all day winter shadow from the low sun.  The light is spectacular, the shadows deep and long.

I turn back at the Gravel Flats.  It is another 10 minutes up to Foote Bridge where I usually do my turn, but the water is getting thin already and I've done enough.  My return speed confirms my suspicions about the current, it is an easy paddle out.