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Drug of Choice


As we leave the campground, the windows are open. Bleached shells and limestone gravel crunch under the Westfalia’s tires. Birds make their vibrant predawn racket, a symphony in stark contrast to my brain’s lethargy, stymied as it is from last night’s festivities. I did remember to set the alarm clock.

Toby, a good friend of mine, was also awakened from his slumber to take me up to the Florida Keys where I met a flats guide. In the pocket of my khaki shorts, I clutch payment for the charter, a post-deposit $250 that I hid, lest it end up in the rum fund, but other than that I’m ill-prepared. I’ve caught a few trout on streamers in northern Michigan, but I’ve yet to cast a fly, let alone an 8-weight, in salt water.

Photo: Brian Grossenbacher

A salt breeze washes across the cab, like a narcotic as we enter the highway. The windshield fills with the palest of first lights — the belly of a flats-going fish I’ve yet to lay eyes on. Toby punches tape into the deck, and then shifts…

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