May 16, 2011


Last weekend Molly, Phil, Ava, and I went down to Portland to visit our dad and try our luck at fishing for spring Chinook salmon.  Between the ages of about 8 and 15 I did this a lot, but it had now been years since I had been fishing with my dad and I decided this was too long.

Molly, Ava, and I went out on Saturday with a medium early start (fishing by about 6:45).  We met up with Dad's fishing buddy, Jared, so we had five of us in two boats.  Ten minutes after getting our lines in the water, we had doubles on.  Ava and I each reeled one in.  Half way through the process, the reel separated from the rod that Ava was using, which happened to be Jared's.  The end result was that Jared took over after the kerfuffle and we got the fish.  We didn't see any more action for a couple hours, until we hooked another fish, which Molly reeled in.  Unfortunately, it turned out to be a native salmon so we couldn't eat it and had to let it go.  After a few more hours we hooked another one, and it was Ava's turn to reel it in.  After a minute of reeling, it spit the hook so we didn't get to eat that one either.

Ava wasn't planning to go out the next day, so I really wanted her to have a chance to reel in and land a salmon.  As the day was coming to an end, we hooked one last fish.  We experienced no equipment malfunctions and Ava landed the biggest fish of the day.

Saturday's Loot
The following day, after a salmon dinner and a night spent in Portland at a Joe Pug show, we traded Ava for Phil and went out to get some more.  The weather was positively nasty, with cool temperatures joining forces with a stiff breeze and steady rain for the entire morning.  We fished from 7am to 11am and didn't get a bite.  At this point, Phil (who didn't bring any rain pants and was wearing jeans) and Molly rationalized that the misery was not being matched with reward, so we dropped them off at shore.  Dad and I were determined to get something to show for our efforts, so we decided to keep at it for another hour.  By noon, we still hadn't gotten a bite.  We began packing things up and getting ready to pull the anchor, with the last part of this process being to reel our lines in.  As Dad worked his way to the front of the boat to deal with the anchor rope, my rod bent down in that unmistakable, "fish on" kind of way.  I lifted it out of the rod holder with a gentle tug to set the hook.  At this point, Dad was facing into the rain (coming down at about a 45 degree angle) and working his way to the the bow of the boat, so he didn't even see what was going on 2.5 feet away.  Using an artfully combined tone of casualness and surprise, I said, "I got one!", at which point Dad turned around to see me fighting what turned out to be the biggest fish we landed that weekend.

Sunday's hard-earned catch

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