Catching The Bottom


All fishing trips start early in the morning, many before the breakfast caffeine can clear the mind. This one begins at the relatively late hour of 7 A.M. Aki remains home, looking forward, not doubt, to a planned visit with one of her best dog friends. If fishing was the only point of the trip, I should stay home. Thanks to a dramatic fall off in the local king salmon returns, that fishery is closed. With better weather we would make the one hour run to Lizard Head, where King fishing is legal. But neither the sky nor the weatherman gives much hope of calm seas.2

In a normal year, the waters of the bay we fish out of would be full of king salmon fisherman, human and sea lion, as well as the occasional whale. But today, I only spot two eagles. One roosts on top of a commercial salmon troller, confident that it won’t put to sea until after they reopen the fishery. The other eagle, still acquiring its species’ trademark white head and tail, stands at the water’s edge, looking at its reflection as if basking in his beauty.1

Later we will try for halibut by dropping weighted line onto a reef off of Hump Island. Humpback whales and Dahl Porpoise will fatten in the herring-rich waters. An adult bald eagle will pluck a bait herring off the water close to our boat. We will catch only the ocean’s bottom with our hooks. But we really won’t be there for the fishing.


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