The Last Fishing Trip

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions of hope.”    John Buchan

Fishing is an imperfect art form. Tides can be predicted years in advance, but they are not perfect.  Just as often, the weather is imperfect at sea and you learn to pray a little harder than you are used to. Sometime while on the water, all of Mother Nature’s elements conspire and we are a private audience to something approaching perfection.


For forty plus years Colin and I fished together on party boats out of Sheepshead Bay, on the docks of Great Kills on Staten Island and the white sandy beaches of Long Island. We have seen high tides, low tides and every variation of sunlight and moonshine. Rising before the sun for most trips, we started our days in hope and anticipation.

We’ve chased stripers from Coney Island to Montauk, caught hundreds of blue claw crabs on Fire Island and down the Jersey Shore and have been out on the Hudson Canyon when the ocean was as flat as glass and the mahi-mahi showed up. We’ve spent countless hours fluking on Jamaica Bay and catching blackfish under the bridges into November. Often times those trips would end with a seafood feast at Randazzo’s where Colin knew everyone and they shouted hellos to him.


The world spins in a way that we never know when the last trip will come. There will be that one day out on the water after which there would be no more. No more perfect moments under the sun out on the wild blue ocean. I wish there was one more day, one more trip, one more cast.

Colin and Kevin on that last fishing trip, July 2015.

Today would have been Colin’s 47th birthday. What a great day it would have been for one more hopeful trip. One more chance at another perfect moment.


In memory of my little brother Colin who got lost in some sea and left us this February.

R.I.P. Colin Thomas Shaffer 1970-2017


JKS 8/16/17

One thought on “The Last Fishing Trip

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s