If you’ve logged even a modest number of hours kicking around the docks, monkeying around in the basement with terminal tackle or keeping track of who’s been catching what around the marina, you’ve no doubt run across one of fishing’s more widely accepted nuggets of wisdom: “Ten percent of the fishermen catch 90 percent of the fish.”
I don’t remember the oyster stew itself — just the raw materials in the fridge, the sight of Mom leaning over a copper-bottomed pot at the stove, meticulously stirring the milky broth clear of a boil-over, and the smell of savory broth against a crisp olfactory backdrop of fresh-cut balsam or blue spruce from the living room.
It’s 7 a.m., mid-November, the first maliciously frigid morning of our season. We cleared the breakwalls just after sunrise and made six miles of ice with the bow en route to our present location in 90 feet of water a few miles south of Newport, R.I.
It’s not enough that the useless Norway maple looks as if it’s going to fold with the next 55-knot gust and climb aboard the second floor of the house. There’s also the whole matter of, you know, the boat — the boat every molecule of soft tissue inside your skull told you to haul before this weather went south — swinging and creaking and flexing wildly under two sets of dock lines some 30 miles deeper into the wind field, along the coast.
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Tim Coleman died May 3, in Weekapaug, R.I., doing what he loved to do best at that time of year: scouting the salt ponds and outer beaches for spring striped bass. He was an exceptional saltwater angler and a prolific writer. Thousands of readers lost an advocate and authentic storyteller for fishing in the Northeast, and anyone fortunate to have known Tim lost a good friend.