I haven’t gone fishing in years. Possibly decades. We fished a lot when we lived on Kodiak. Trout in the streams on the way to town from Chiniak. Dock fishing for halibut, the little ones we called ‘chicken halibut’, 25 pounds or so. 🙂
I don’t think I’ve ever fished since we moved to Washington State. But the grandkids wanted to go very badly, so on an impulse I rousted out my ‘little’ brother Steve and cousin Nick. Steve is an avid fisherman, and has about as many fishing poles in his garage as he has children, times about five to allow for the various stages of fishing ability kids go through. So, we loaded the van with first time fishermen, geared up, and went down to Dash Point in Federal Way.
Packed. Not a parking space to be seen for miles, and the beach was covered with people. Huge disappointment.
So, we adjourned to Ruston Way in Tacoma and thence to the docks in front of The Dock.
There was plenty of parking,and the fishing dock was populated, but not crowded. Most folk down there were tossing out crab rings, despite the sign at the top of the ramp that warns everyone, in multiple languages, not to eat any crab, shellfish or bottom fish taken in the area, as they are probably much higher in heavy metals than is good for people. After all, it’s not too far from where the smelter spouted out arsenic and lead for years.
But we had fishing poles and sardines for bait, and cookies and chips and cold drinks. Shady hats, hard boiled eggs, and three very excited small kids. Putting the hooks on the poles and baiting up took a bit of time, as did getting across the idea of casting. And of not standing next to a cousin or sib who was casting. And of not immediately reeling the hook back in and casting again.
We had a great time. The fellow next to us with the crab ring was having regular success with it. Ruth scored points with everyone when she rounded up one of his crabs who was threatening to escape while he was untangling his line. Seems like there are very few language barriers that don’t yield to the mutual concerns of fishing.
Then Alex hooked a little Dolly Varden trout and that was so exciting. Here very first fish, and our first fish of the day. It was probably about 7 inches long. Into a bucket of water it went and we spent quite a bit of time watching it swim around.
Nick managed to catch a sea star, a big orange one with multiple legs, slightly bigger than a dinner plate. But while he was getting it onto the dock for the kids to look at, the tip of my younger grand-daughter’s pole bent and I told her, “I think you’ve got something.” She gave the rod a yank and the tip bent even more. She cranked and cranked and cranked that reel and when the shark came into view she just stopped and stared and then said, “I . . can’t . . . breathe!” Too, too exciting!
We hauled him in and her aunt videotaped it while Nick got the pliers and carefully took the hook out of his mouth. The dogfish was between 18 inches and 2 foot long. He was admired as much as if he were Moby Dick.
We returned him safely to the water, but from that instant on, I knew it was the kids who were really hooked. Her very first fish ever, and it was a SHARK!
By five I was ready to call it a day. The familiar pleas of ‘just one more cast’ reminded me too much of my mom. She would have been thrilled to have been there today. Another generation brought into the fishing fold.
After a very short debate, the Dolly Varden was returned to the water. It zipped out of sight the second it was in the water. The cat would have to be happy with cat chow tonight.
And we all went home. A very good day.