Being in the water

by Thomas Beutel

In 2014 I made a decision to fish more often. In years past, I fished maybe 4 or 5 times in the year. And it seemed to me that for as much as I really enjoy fishing, 4 to 5 times a year is not nearly enough.

All that changed in 2014. I discovered Crissy Field which I had been long aware of but had only opened to the public in 2001. It was not on my fishing radar until I started reading about it at The nice thing about Crissy is that it is only a 15 minute drive. It is much calmer than Ocean Beach which I have mostly avoided because of the strong currents and waves.

I started going about once a week from March through September. Now it’s just part of what I do. And I’ve even caught a few fish here and there, although I also discovered that catching is not the only reason to be fishing. Just being out in the fresh air is its own reward.

My standard way to fish has been to stand at the edge of water and take care not to let the waves splash over my boots. I was mostly successful but there were many times when I came home with wet socks. That’s okay, it’s all part of the deal.

A few months ago I was showing a friend some pictures of me at Crissy and he blurted, “I would have thought you would use waders!” You know, sometimes it takes a friend to point out the obvious. And I own two pairs of waders!

I have often float tubed on lakes fishing for bass. There is something wonderful, something revealing about being in waders in the water when you are fishing. It does bring you closer to the fish, and it’s not just a matter of proximity. It’s a bit hard to express unless you’ve done it yourself.

So I took my friend’s blurt to heart and started going to Crissy in waders. And it is really different. Really nice. Better. Being in the water as it swirls and moves and breaks is nice. I stand about knee high in the waves. Any higher and the waves tend to push you off balance. But knee high is just right.

If you see me at Crissy now, I’ll be in the water.