Friday, August 18, 2006

1/2 Day Cashed In

Laura and the twins are spending time with their Grammy and Auntie Colleen, this week, so technically I'm a free man. And since I still had a half day left on my father's day gift, and feeling rather "squeezed" - or maybe it was just missing the activity of tossing a line out - I decided to go pier fishing for chinook salmon last night.

The eternal curse of the occasional fisherman is invariably uttered thus: "you should have been here yesterday" or "the fishing was great all last week." My blessings are elsewhere these days, so I just tip my cap down and keep casting; to not much avail as it turned out last night!

Nonetheless, it was time spent fishing, for which I was deducted nothing more than an evening spent on calm, dark Lake Ontario. The lake was "turning over" which added to the general despondence felt by most of the fishermen on the pier. It means the salmon move out, beyond the reach of our casts, to more comfortably cool waters. Although two had been caught early, with mating colours already quite dark, that would be all we would see for the night.

As if to make things worse, and as a consequence of the lake's shifting, my side of the pier suddenly accumulated quite a mess of algae. What I had orignially taken for the promising boil of a surfacing chinook was, in fact, the bubbling up of large clumps of weeds, created by the wave and current action of the lake against the pier. It did not let up. As this made fishing unpleasant, if not impossible, and as I didn't wish to muscle in on anyone else on the other side, I broke out a cigar, snapped open a can of Warsteiner, and started chatting with one of the locals.

Our conversation covered everything from the fish I missed out on last week, to the bottom structure of the waters around the pier; from fish stocking in the great lakes to stories about poachers in the area & arrests that were made. Ironically, I also learned about the rudeness of "frenchmen" who come to the area to fish from their "sea of blue Prince Crafts." Apparently these rude people will follow too closely behind other trolling fishermen, scaring the fish. I say "Ironic," because I am a francophone, although without the unfortunate drawback of owning a Prince Craft. Tabarnak. But I didn't take offense, because I've experienced this very thing with Mike, in a place where the operator of the blue Prince Craft was definitely francophone. Coincidence, n'est-ce pas?

Also, I learned something quite useful that I didn't know before, related to tossing glow-in-the-dark spoons from piers at night. Always carry a camera flash. Used properly, it "recharges" the glow of your spoon in a fraction of a second, and it will not affect your night sight. Finally, always bring these two senses: humour and awe. The humour I hope was covered already, but of awe: how the lake looks at night, under an overcast sky with nothing solid on which to attach your peripheral vision; you no longer feel your feet, but are floating over the somnambulating waves, like a night bird edging off to flight.

Anyway, I no longer feel squeezed (or stressed)!

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