“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 my brother 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 and Point Pleasant to Mystic Islands, caught hundreds of fat blue claw crabs in a cove near Fair harbor on Fire Island and down at Little Egg Harbor on the Jersey Shore and have been out on long trips out to the Hudson Canyon when the ocean was as flat as glass and the mahi-mahi showed up.
We’ve spent countless hours catching early season winter flounder and summer fluking on Jamaica Bay and catching keeper blackfish under the bridges into brisk November. Often times those trips would end with a seafood feast at Randazzo’s where Colin knew everyone and they shouted hellos to him. Paulie or Emilio always came over to bust chops and catch up.
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.
Today marks a year since we lost Colin. What a great day it would have been for one more hopeful trip. One more chance at another perfect moment.
Today I am less sad than I have been and I look forward to sunny days to come. I am sure we will catch his spirit at some moment this year on the water. See ya’.”
In memory of my little brother Colin who got lost in life’s rough seas and left us last February 15th.
R.I.P. Colin Thomas Shaffer 1970-2017