Standing there, it all looks the same. There is a pale light rising in the east, but the sky remains empty and colorless. The mangrove islands are footless silhouettes in the distance. Featureless squat, black punctuations balanced atop the invisible fault between horizon and sky. Shape. Size. The same.
From where it breaks against the mud banks off the far shore and travels across the miles of shallow bight, belted to the grassy margins in the channel and reaching further still across the distant basins and ultimately to the bay, the gulf and ocean beyond; the water is still. A faultless mirror. There are no eddies, seams, boils, or nervous riffles revealing out of the endless blue patina. Just the vast, homogenous expanse of water. Even the seagrass riding below the bow of the skiff is the same. Evergreen and unbroken. The submerged moors, to the very last blade, bending to the weight of the tide washing over them. All of them facing the same direction.
Then you notice it. Rigid as it stands out of the grass and reaches above the water and the distant horizon studded with mangroves. A tail. The carnelian wedge fringed with blue and blushing in the low light. The lone swatch of color in that monochrome dawn. Without warning the bow tips toward the tail. Your eyes are fixed as you set your feet and ready yourself to cast. The tail trembles as the fish it belongs to feeds. Concentric ripples chase away over the once unaltered water, bending it and distorting it. You begin your cast and you can't take your eyes from the tail. You won't take your eyes from the tail…
The need to pursue gamefish is not inherent in all fisherman, but it is inherent in all anglers. Woven into the very fabric of their being is the need to pursue gamefish. A pursuit takes them to extraordinary places: The coral flats of mid-ocean atolls, rivers that race through ancient mountain ranges, as well as tidelands of sand and stone hidden behind raging beachheads. But Skinny Water Culture doesn’t seek these places, the fish, or the stories themselves. It seeks the moment itself. Moments conjured within those places. Moments where the ego is abandoned. When posturing and past glories count for nothing. When there is no one to square off against except yourself and the fish before you. Created within those moments are the feelings that flash, quick as a spark, within every angler. Floods of adrenaline. Heartbreak. Elation. These feelings and those moments are “Why” the Culture of the angler subsists. Not merely the what, where, who, when or how.
Skinny Water Culture is not something that dictates standing, prowess or commitment. It is not a badge to be flaunted or a doctrine to be sermonized. Rather, it is a flag. A rallying point for those who prefer to be a part of the Culture of the angler. Skinny Water Culture is a community for anglers who prefer not to wear clothes and recycle rhetoric that might make them feel like fisherman; but, for those who would contribute to and absorb the common memories and feelings of an entire group of people the world over who love fish and fishing and the pursuit of those passions. Skinny Water Culture is: a collective, a lifestyle, even a tribe. Skinny Water Culture is not just about fisherman and anglers. Skinny Water Culture is about living in the moment.