Perspective, From the Salt to the Limestone

by | Aug 23, 2023 | 9 comments

Perspective. Nothing opens the aperture of life better than time away from your daily routine. Vacations are an intermission between acts, providing time to stretch your legs, consider what you’ve seen and prepare for what’s to come.

This past week in saltwater provided that intermission and granted me perspective at just the right time.

When every hour is consumed with duty, your field of view narrows because there’s no time to see what’s around. Goal-driven days, weeks and months, without pause, force you into a constricted focus, a tapered view, until you cannot grasp what is beyond the periphery of those goals. You might see most of it, but you can’t experience it, because there’s simply no time to spare. You don’t have the energy or the space to grab hold of what surrounds you and give it a good look. So half of life passes by on the edges, until you know what you’re missing but can’t take your foot off the gas long enough to meet it outside of your own lane.

This Troutbitten website has served as a journal for me at times and as a fishing log at others. In truth, much of it has been intertwined.

I found fishing early on, and it seems that all my life I’ve gone fishing to recapture the spirit of living, to be reminded of what I’m missing, to breathe deep, tune in and walk away from everything for a while. Fishing has been my way to broaden that field of vision again — that breadth of experience. To open up to everything around me while pursuing a single fish in a narrow lane.

It’s enlightening to look back through the stories I’ve written here on family and fishing. So much has changed in my life, in this business, with my boys and in the ways that I fish. And it’s good to reflect a bit, to be thankful for the progress and proud of the achievements. Because “life moves pretty fast, and if you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you could miss it.” — Ferris Bueller.

When Troutbitten became my career, the simple act of fishing grew more complicated. It tied itself to work, until the stories and words, the photos, videos and audio files were stirred into the same pot as invoices and emails.

These saltwater trips — family vacations with a healthy dose of fishing the surf and stalking fluke with bucktails and spinning rods — have energized my pure delight of fishing. Six years ago, I knew nothing. But after these daily dawn and dusk shifts beside an eastern ocean — and a few under the headlamp — I understand enough to trust myself. I’ve reached the point where I know when I’ve fished it well and I can move on. I’ve assimilated the sources, put tactics to the test and have emerged with a guiding light down my own path.

I love the long game — always have. And for right now, in this brief bit of time, I know what I’m working on — in life, in saltwater and in the Pennsylvania woods.

Fish hard, friends.

READ: Troutbitten | A Fish Out of Freshwater
READ: Troutbitten | Surf and Salt — LBI 2019
READ: Troutbitten | Lessons From the Salt — Strike Zone, Sensitivity and Persistence

** NOTE ** If you are an LBI regular or a NJ surf fisher, please get in touch. The salt is a mystery to me, and I’ll take all the guidance I can get.

 

** Donate ** If you enjoy this article, please consider a donation. Your support is what keeps this Troutbitten project funded. Scroll below to find the Donate Button. And thank you.

 

Enjoy the day.
Domenick Swentosky
T R O U T B I T T E N
domenick@troutbitten.com

 

Share This Article . . .

Since 2014 and 1000+ articles deep
Troutbitten is a free resource for all anglers.
Your support is greatly appreciated.

– Explore These Post Tags –

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

More from this Category

Thirty-Inch Liars

Thirty-Inch Liars

Every fisherman in the parking lot seems to have a thirty-inch fish story, don’t they?

You know what I hear when someone says a fish was “about two feet long?” I hear: “I didn’t measure the fish.”

Bass guys don’t put up with this stuff. My friend, Sawyer (a dedicated bass and musky guy), is dumbfounded by the cavalier way trout fishermen throw estimates around. In his world, if you didn’t measure it, you don’t put a number on it. They take it seriously. We trout fishermen embarrass ourselves with estimates.

Waiting On Luck

Waiting On Luck

With the river at its peak, Dad and I spent a drizzly day with no one in sight at any hour, early or late. Alone together against the odds, we landed the occasional fish purely by accident. Yes, we targeted the backwaters. Sure, we fished deer hair sculpins, worm patterns and chartreuse things. But such are the measures suggested by those who peddle wishful thinking more than experience. Nothing was consistent in those roiling waters.

Regardless, Dad and I fished. And we hoped. We were waiting on luck . . .

Fishing With Kids — The Independence Marker

Fishing With Kids — The Independence Marker

At thirteen years old, he has enough experience with the woods and water that I don’t think twice about dropping him off to fish for the evening, awaiting his call when he’s either fished out or it’s getting dark. When I pick him up, he’s full of excitement and stories, or he is calm and peaceful in a way that I don’t often see him. I let him be, in those times, and allow the experience for him to soak in, as he processes a return to the world after a long outing. Leaving the water to rejoin life is sometimes a hard turn.

Kids soak in the rhythms of nature. And later in life, maybe around twelve years old, that base of experience pays off . . .

Following Through

Following Through

This morning should have been like any other. Kill the alarm and hate life for the first five minutes as my body begrudgingly catches up to the will of ambition. Coffee helps. So does the routine, because the inevitability of repetition and pattern seems certain. It cannot be challenged. So, no, you cannot go back to bed. Go fishing . . .

I’ll Meet You Upstream . . .

I’ll Meet You Upstream . . .

I was in that stage of learning where I’d read more than I could put to use, while Rich had already fished more than he could ever find the words to tell.

. . . Somewhat stunned by the beauty of it all, I fell silent and let time creep along, until the slow motion whitewater of the falls mixed with the endless emerald shades reflecting in the softwater glides. An impenetrable canopy above stood guard against the angle of the sun and disguised the true time of day. This timeless valley was either day or night — with the details of everything in between insignificant . . .

My Fishing Dogs

My Fishing Dogs

Fishing with a good dog brings a novel joy to average moments. It’s the wet nose on your cheek in the middle of a bankside sit, the shared ham sandwich under dripping evergreen boughs while waiting out a soggy thunderstorm. It’s the simple companionship — the kind that comes without questions or conditions. Our bond with a good dog is pure friendship. It is, quite simply . . . love.

What do you think?

Be part of the Troutbitten community of ideas.
Be helpful. And be nice.

9 Comments

  1. Another great article. It’s good to step away sometimes so you can see things clearer. Well done. LBI is a wonderful place. Glad u enjoyed. See you in October. Looking forward to it. Stay well.

    Reply
  2. Hey Dom, Glad you were able to make it to the beach this year! How was the fishing? Did the boys have any encounters with big toothy critters?

    Reply
  3. Love it. Hope you and the family enjoyed a restful and recuperative vacation.

    Reply
  4. Turning your passion into a career can be difficult if you lose perspective of why you love it.
    It can be easy to focus only on the business and end up losing your passion and turning it into a job. Stoked you have not lost your passion.
    Great stuff

    Reply
  5. Good for you, Dom! Having grown up fishing for trout in PA streams (a bit east of you), my relocation to Southern California after retiring from the Air Force posed a problem — my favorite fishing is too far away to do consistently. (Yes, that seems to be a mental barrier, but it does have a financial facet too.) However, there’s a BIG body of water close by, so I ventured into the salt. Turns out corbina are in this area and like to devour sand crabs like bonefish. While I don’t have the thousands of hours available to learn the salt like it took for trout in the streams, I hired a guide. I’m certainly not as accomplished with the fly rod in salt as I am in freshwater, but it is a good challenge and opened up my aperture, which was limited in both fishing and life as you so eloquently point out.

    As others said, it’s great your job hasn’t diminished your passion. I certainly enjoy hearing from you and the Troutbitten crew; it makes the SoCal traffic more bearable (as I imagine I’m in a stream or contemplating a new approach when I get back into one). Thank you!

    Reply
  6. This third paragraph is simply beautiful and reminds me I don’t just read Troutbitten to become a better fisherman but also for the power in your prose. Many thanks, Dom

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recent Articles

Recent Posts

Domenick Swentosky

Central Pennsylvania

Hi. I’m a father of two young boys, a husband, author, fly fishing guide and a musician. I fish for wild brown trout in the cool limestone waters of Central Pennsylvania year round. This is my home, and I love it. Friends. Family. And the river.

Pin It on Pinterest