Monday, April 25, 2011


Twenty five years ago my Alaskan husband came courting.  He suggested we go fishing during the King Salmon Derby in Ketchikan.  We did, in his "skiff" - a 12 foot welded aluminum boat with three plank seats, powered by an outboard.  I was a city girl.  This was my first such experience.  I objected to the sound of the outboard.  He was determined in his pursuit. He rowed.  He took playful revenge by telling me that I could only win the Salmon Derby if I baited my own hook.  The derby prize for biggest fish was $10,000.  I was equally determined and that's how I ended up with a frozen herring and double-hooked leader in my hands.  I did not win the derby, but we did catch a fish, and so began a great romance.  Not ours - that was already well underway.  Mine with fishing.

If you don't like to fish, stop reading here.  If you do, we can think together of fiddling with the lures and weights, calculating the depth, baiting the hook, paying out the line, setting the drag - and waiting.  Waiting in fishing is the reward.  If you don't get that, then you don't really like to fish.  The combination of anticipation and stillness is seductive.  Don't move away now - there might be a bump on the line, the slightest tug, the fish ready to take the big bite.  Or, not.  Fishing is not catching.  Catching is fun, too.  Fishing is sitting perfectly still, attentive and relaxed, lost in time.

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