Sunday, August 5, 2012

A Fish Tale

The last time I went fishing, I was in the Brazilian Amazon, looking for piranha. I caught the same fish that another tourist had caught 20 minutes before. How to tell? It was a black piranha with a googly eye that was looking south while the other eye was looking north. What a fish won't do for stewing beef. I pretty much figured that was it for my fishing days. I'll cook them and eat them, but the catching and the cleaning is best left to someone else.
This was my first cast.
And then, that Elaine, my roomie in the Arctic, told me we were going fishing. In 6 Celsius weather, probably in the negatives with the wind chill. And I said yes.
My first cast resulted in the hook landing 10 feet behind me, on the rocks, and an unmanageable knot. A knife solved that. The next cast resulted in the hook landing 10 feet beside me, on the the rocks, to the right. And another knot that didn't require a knife. A few f-sharps and a few tugs fixed it. The next cast, I hooked a man, our guide Norman. Fortunately, it was his jacket and not his skin. I threw him back.

In the meantime, Elaine, who had not been fishing since she was a kid let out a whoop, and my fishing rod and I were abandoned by Norman, who assisted her in landing a 10 lb. char. She did this in less than 5 minutes. In the meantime, I snagged a rock about 10 feet from shore, in the water this time. Elaine caught another fish. I landed the hook 10 feet beside me, in the rocks, to the left. Norman and Elaine both caught fish.
Finally, I caught one this big. I threw him back too.
The other one that got away.
Norman kindly offered to show us how to quickly dispatch a fish, picking up a rock. I let my fish go.

I think  finally found my cold threshold. I can handle -50C with an open jacket and just ear muffs for a hat. I cannot handle standing on a windy beach barely above zero throwing hooks anywhere but in the water for three hours. With no liquor for another 6 weeks. I feel like it is Lent, in the summer.
And then I had to pee. Across the bay was the hamlet. To my right were Norman and Elaine. All around me was rock. Not a tree in sight. Use your imagination. If that will give you nightmares, then don't.

Another throwback.
Then we switched sites. Norman and Elaine both caught fish. I caught seaweed. And then I caught another one that was less than this big. I threw him back too. This propensity for tossing things back might explain why I continue to be single. I snagged more rocks, and watched a couple of seals in the inlet who were watching us. I swear I could hear them laughing. The hook was finally landing in the water, well, most of the time. Then we were done. Norman, bless his heart, took all the fish home, and cleaned them. And God saw that it was good. And told me to keep my day job.

Neither the fish nor I were happy about me holding him.

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