Its mid-December, temps are in the 50’s, and the weather is great for fishing. But being December, angling options are somewhat limited. My choices are either a six hour drive to battle steelhead, or ply one of Maine’s coastal rivers for sea-run browns. Since making the long pull to NY is out for me right now, this weekend I made a run for the sea. The sea-trout fishery in Maine has been around for some time. The state stocks brown trout in a handful of rivers with the hope that they will grow quickly in the enriched saline environment and survive the rigors of the Atlantic to provide anglers with a shot at a rare trophy. Against the odds, and the bluefish, and the stripers, and the boats, and the seals, a few hardy browns go out to sea and return. These “true” sea-run fish run large and bright, and although few and far between, the possibility of connecting to one was enough to get me on the water. Even if I didn’t hook a sea-run, there are a fair number of this year’s stocked fish to keep the rod bent. I arrived at my river of choice to find the tide just turning. The outgoing tide will concentrate bait and pull it to the sea. I like to fish classic salmon flies that imitate shrimp on these waters. The high water created a calm slowly moving surface similar to a spring creek. Stealth is key in approaching these fish. As I observed the water I notice a swirl down stream. I slowly crept through the marsh grass and got into position. Staying back from the bank and in a crouched position, I doubled hauled as far as I could. I let the fly sink and striped it back in…nothing. I gave it another cast and just as I was about the lift the fly out of the water, a huge swirl surrounded my fly. I pulled back to set the hook, but the fly just shot back behind me. I tried a few more times, but couldn’t raise the fish again. Sea-run? I’ll never know, but it sure got my heart going. I continued down the bank in the same manner. I came to the tail of a small island and let the fly go. Shortly after it hit the water I felt a strike and set the hook. The fish was small, but spunky and bright from the saltwater. A few jumps and pulls and I had it in the net. A stocked fish for sure, but a nice way to end the day. As long as the weather stays good, I’ll be making the run to the sea after the elusive sea-run brown.