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Wednesday, 06 June 2012

Here, Fishie, Fishie!

By Marcy Belson

I'm ashamed to tell you, I really dislike taking a live fish off the hook.

I am from a family of serious fishermen (and women).

My parents spent their retirement years going to Alaska in an RV to catch and can salmon.

Some of my earliest memories involve fishing trips to mountain lakes.

One of those memories included my mother, my father's cousins, Helen and Ruth, and my cousin Katie.

I have no idea why the men in the family weren't there; perhaps they were hunting during dove season, or deer season.

I remember we were fishing from the shore at Lake Henshaw. It was a good day for fishing and we were getting our limit early in the day. There must have been a hungry school of fish and we kept hauling them in.

I also remember my mother and the cousins laughing as the fish were being hidden in the quilts we had been using to sit on. The fishing warden was there. He counted the legal limit of fish and moved on down the shore.

My mother and the adult cousins carried the quilts with the illegal fish inside to the car, a long walk.

Katie and I knew what was happening. Our mothers were very honest, decent women. I have no idea what prompted them to do that with us in tow. I think it was a spur of the moment decision.

They thought it was funny and the fish were fried for a big family supper. My mother told me to never discuss what they had done with anyone. Sorry, Mom, I think the time limit is up.

There was a succession of boats and trailers for the family hobby of fishing.  There was a teardrop trailer that sat in our backyard for a few years. I think one outing with my father, a large man, my mother and a five-year-old child was enough for my mother.  Eventually, it disappeared.

A large wooden boat was stored in that yard also. I do remember being in it, fishing with my dad and other family members when I cast my line and threw the entire rod and reel in the lake. It was a new outfit and I screamed for my father to save it. Too late, it was gone. I was never given another of my own; I had to use whatever was available.

When I was 14 years old, we spent a summer vacation in British Columbia. As clear as yesterday, I remember stopping for gas in Astoria and telling the attendant that I wished I lived in the northwest.

He answered that I wouldn't like it; the rain never stopped.

Fifty years later, we moved to Salem. A dream come true.

On the fishing trip to B.C., I ate my first bite of salmon. I thought it was the best fish I had ever tasted.

I still like it best. But that first meal of salmon was the one that made that trip memorable.

We camped in Mexico, on the Pacific coast, with a large group of friends. The fishing was spectacular. Sea bass, and they were hungry. We barbecued them over an open fire. The local men had walked down the beach and sold us buckets of fresh clams. What a meal. Those are great memories.

My fishing days are over but we are happy to have the fish meals without having the work of cleaning them.

Here, fishie, fishie.


[INVITATION: All elders, 50 and older, are welcome to submit stories for this blog. They can be fiction, non-fiction, poetry, memoir, etc. Please read instructions for submitting.]

Posted by Ronni Bennett at 05:30 AM | Permalink | Email this post

Comments

Marcie,
What wonderful memories and so well told.
Michigan Grandma

So reminded me of my fishing days as a young child, from the back of a small row boat one of my cousins at the oars. We were trolling for salmon but all we ever caught were little bullheads. I didn't mind taking them off the hook and throwing them back, but I hated to put the live worms on the hook. I'm glad those days are over and now I can just enjoy salmon, my favorite fish here in the Northwest.

Salmon, ugh. We lived on an island off the coast of British Columbia. Our friend was a fisherman. There are "seasons" for salmon. You can catch pink, but not chum, coho but not sockeye, etc. Each in its season. Let Fisheries catch you with chum in coho season and you are in trouble. One night our friend called and said, "Meet me at the dock at 7:00." We did. Fishing for one type he'd filled a net with a different type. The law says throw them back, but he saw that as waste (which it most certainly is as they are already dead in the net). We took home enough 2 & 3 foot long salmon to fill our six-foot chest freezer. We ate salmon in every conceivable way, we canned it, we had bbqs for the neighbourhood, we gave it away. It got to where even the cat wouldn't eat it. 35 years later and I still can't stand the stuff. (shudder)

Thanks for all the great comments. I love hearing other stories on the same subject!

Great writing..everyone loves "fish stories." Never thought I'd live to read that anyone got tired of eating salmon..it's like having enough chocolate or something...thanks for sharing, the comments, as always, are superb..

I just told a friend how I missed out on some great memories.

I was never a fisherman/fisherkid. I recall tossing a line in a park pond once. My son always wanted to go fishing. I never took him. Perhaps the fear of water thing had something to do with it. I had a childhood friend who drowned and it shook me.

When he was old enough I got him a car. He wanted a station wagon or a pickup, so he go fishing. I should have learned about fishing from a friend and took him. Now he's forty and three states away.

I wonder if he's taken his son fishing.

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