I was kneeling in 8 inches of fresh powder—trying to lessen the effect of the wind on my fly line when retrieving from the high bank—when I looked around as the white-washed salt marsh and began to wonder why the hell I was still out there. I’d been there for 90 minutes, had felt what was either the bottom or a lazy strike, and no other excitement. Besides the occasional plow rolling down the road in the distance, the only life I’d seen was a quartet of geese drifting downriver, their backs caked with the driving snow.
The reason, I’d decided, was that it was Saturday, and I had a large chunk of free time that I’d planned to spend fishing long before the blizzard set its sights on Cape Cod. Also, I love fishing in the snow.
A falling snow transforms a familiar waterway into someplace different. With most fishermen stoking a fire or shoveling a driveway, it also leaves the waterways empty, making it feel remote and the trip feel like an adventure. As I laid first tracks through the freshly frosted Upper Cape salt marsh, home felt a lot farther than 15 minutes away.
The holdover stripers I’d been looking for should have been easy to find. I’d timed my trip around the low tide that should have concentrated them in the deeper holes and channels of the estuary. Yet, after an hour and a half of frustrating casting and retrieving in the wind, I was fishless and considering heading for home. Another cast landed sloppily on the water, and instead of the slow, deliberate retrieve I’d been using hoping to coax the hunkered-down holdovers in to eating, I ripped the fly in. Feet from the bank, the line went tight. Holdover striper in hand—all 9 inches of it—I vowed to go home after one more cast. Once again, a fast retrieve resulted in a tight line. I left immediately after releasing the fish—I’d caught my blizzard bass, no need to be greedy—and headed back home, where there was a driveway that needed shoveling and a fire that needed stoking.