I’m standing chest deep in gin-clear water.
I have to be in the right place at the right time with the right bait.
The right bait is the easy part. Pompano and permit cannot resist a big fat juicy sand flea. Not a gravid female with a bright orange mass of eggs under her belly.
The right bait is the easy part. I can scoop dozens and dozens of them out of the sand where the water meets the land.
I know they exist in that finicky littoral zone. Capturing them is easy. They are packed into the wave washed sand by the dozens, by the hundreds. It’s their lot in life, to extend their feathery filter antennae, nourishing their acorn bodies with the nutrients of the surf zone. Losing their tenuous grip, being washed away from their domain instantly converts them from predator to prey.
I put a circle hook through one and cast, waiting for the tide to carry it to a hungry mouth.
As I wait for that tell-tale tug, a clump of sargassum floats by.
I reach down and lift that innocuous clump of amber flotsam. In my hand, it’s a blob of shiny blobs of earthy fibers. As I look below, pieces of jetsam fall from the flotsam. Little fish, crabs and shrimp, seemingly parts of the sargassum are cast adrift.
I feel like an ass and drop the clump. It appears to suck them back into its tendrils. A tiny brownish world floats away.