"Yes!" I growl to myself, as I feel a tug at last. It's night and I've been tossing a glow spoon from this pier for over an hour now. Lake Ontario is eerily phosphorous on one side, big waves rolling in dim shore lights; and on the other side of the pier, all is dark and the chop is flattened by the outflow of the swollen river. Behind me, all I hear is the loud, droning wavecrash where the swells are stopped in their interminable march by the unyielding rocks. And, overall, wind.
"Alright!" I finally hooked into something. I can feel the pull... wait. It's too soft. I think I got someone's line. I can see it hanging from my spoon, now; it's shiny new. "Ah, f#*&!" Not a fish. Just fishing line. Jeeze, there's a lot of it! What a mess.
There's another guy on the pier with me. I look to see if this might be his line, but he's casting glow spoons of his own.
What a night! Anyway, I shouldn't leave all this line out there. So, I untangle my spoon from the unwanted line, gently put my rod down & begin to pull it all in, carefully rolling it up with my fore-arms.
Suddenly, there's another tug. What...? There's something at the end of this line. It really is brand new, so... could it be? a fish? I'm here looking for chinook salmon... maybe...? So I keep pulling, and sure enough like a dog on a leash, the fish starts to come in with the line. As I get it closer to the pier, though, the enchantment ends suddenly; and I'm glad I was using my forearms to roll that line in: there's a big splash, a very rough tug and then... nothing. If I'd have been using my naked hands, I'd have been cut for sure.
All this line, and that fish wasn't even hooked by me. And there's more line out there. So I keep pulling. There's pressure again. Another fish? No. It's kind of just a dead weight. Probably an egg sinker rig, or something. There are lots of weeds at the bottom & if you catch a clump of that stuff, it's really heavy. Pull, pull.
Rod. Reel. Holy mackinaw! A freebie!
I am suddenly reminded of the discussion I had with that local fellow, the last time I was here. He'd said something to the effect that "those damn fish pull hard, when they're on. Every once in a while, some idiot leaves his rod there to light a smoke or get a beer, or something, and whamo. Rod's gone. It takes off like a rocket."
So, that's my story and I'm sticking to it. I've heard of this sort of thing happening before, of course, on piers frequented by intrepid chasers of salmonids, but I never thought I'd be the main character in a similar story!
(Mental note: buy lottery ticket tomorrow.)
The rig, as it turns out, is comprised of a 9ft shimano IM-7 blank & a Daiwa "D-force" 4 ball-bearing spinning reel. It serves as the model in the caption, above, for this blog entry.
Later on, I will finally connect with a couple of our finned friends, landing a bright silver male - who is only just starting to show the first telltale yellow/green stain; 22 lbs or so - and missing the other. The one I will land will give me not one, but two blistering runs; a lot of fun, when fishing in the dark.
At 3:09am, my head will hit the pillow. And it will be a few moments before the hopeful images of bright chrome throngs of october steelhead, conjured by my cold and windy but fruitful night, are extiguished from at least the conscious part of my brain...