Since I started at F&S last March, Online Editor Nate Matthews and I have been trying to put a fishing trip together. But as it often goes, schedules conflict and weather has a strange way of getting ugly when you finally find the time to join forces on the water. This past Sunday was no exception to that weather rule.

We knew by Friday that the original plan to fish on my boat was out. Reports called for 30- to 35-knot sustained winds, gusting 45 knots. Seas were forecast at 7 to 10 feet. So not to be defeated by the elements, we decided to go surf fishing instead.

I’d fished the beach in wind that fierce before and it is basically impossible, especially with a hard north wind. You make a cast, and before your lure hits the water, the wind blows half your spool of line down the beach. You can’t keep contact with the lure anyway, and the whitewater is so thick you could not pick out a pocket to save your life. However, our opting to try it regardless is proof that past experiences don’t mean jack, because if your sick-in-the-head crazy for stripers, or any other fish for that matter, you can convince yourself that any conditions are perfectly fishable, if not ideal.

I managed to snap a few shots out there, and admittedly, Nate looks pretty hardcore in this photo. But about ten seconds later (right after I shut down my camera…damn), he got bowled over and disappeared beneath a blanket of froth, finally popping up and floundering like a harpooned seal before finding his footing. I laughed of course, but the joke was on me: it took about two hours to clean all the sand out of the reel I lent him.
We had left my house at 4:15 a.m., and Nate was back on a train to NYC by 11. It was a worthy shot, but even nuts eventually have to admit that they’re nuts and a nap on the couch would make more sense. Wishful thinking can only carry your spirits so far during such extreme conditions.

So what conditions and scenarios have you fished that finally got you to admit you need professional help?