Presented with the idea of an autumn harvest, one generally thinks of fruit (including the ‘vegetable’ kind like pumpkins); the store of summer’s growth set into the hope of seeds sweetly wrapped for spring sprouting. Or perhaps mushrooms, or summer-fattened hunted game. In my world, and for slightly different reasons, most of which I am not certain of, offshore fish are perhaps one of the greatest autumn gifts. Warm waters on the cusp of change, seas rich with summer’s phytoplankton growth and nutrient delivery running off the land to boost it, better chances at calm seas to access it in a mate’s trusty small boat, the feeling of summer’s end pushing you out to fish before winter’s slow down. Somehow or other, this time of year has provided my best fishing. With an early start, it all came together this time, with diversity as much as volume, and 28 keepers between three of us.
So it has been pigfish and snapper for dinner for the family, the fridge charged for a few days and the freezer for a good few more after that. When the chance arises, and the sea is calm, and the season is right, and you know just enough of what to do, and the fish are biting; this is what ought be meant by the stars aligning; when to live in the best of all possible worlds at the best of all possible times becomes something true – accepting full well that it is contingent on luck, your own effort and leaving a lot of the contradictory truths of the world behind you on shore.