The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #156854   Message #3699128
Posted By: Don Firth
02-Apr-15 - 05:13 PM
Thread Name: BS: River monsters
Subject: RE: BS: River monsters
My dad was born and raised on San Juan Island in the north part of Puget Sound, and he developed a life-long love of fishing. When I was in my 'teens, he and I used to get up in the wee, small hours of the morning, drive up to Mukilteo (small town about thirty miles north of Seattle), rent a sixteen foot boat at Haynes' boat rental, and go in search of the wily salmon. Dad had a 10 hp. Johnson "Sea Horse" outboard motor which he would affix to the rental boat, and off we'd go for a day of fishing.

On one occasion, we had been out for several hours with no luck. The outboard was about out of gas, so he turned it off to refuel it from a separate can of gasoline he had brought.   As we sat there drifting with the tide, our fishing lines (which we had neglected to reel in prior to shutting the motor off) sank to the bottom. As we took off again, my pole bent severely and line started reeling out. Dad shut the engine off and opined that my line was probably fouled with seaweed.   I started reeling it in, and met a lot of resistance. It took several minutes of reeling in line and lifting. There was something quite heavy on my line.

When I had most of it reeled in, Dad looked over the side of the boat, shrank back, and said "Omigod!!" I peered over the side and saw, just a few feet under the surface, a huge open mouth equipped with a forest of teeth, and wide, staring eyes.

It was a "We're gonna need a bigger boat!" moment!

A ling cod! Bottom feeder who had pounce on my lure when it had sunk.

We finally managed to horse it on board and Dad finished it off with a two-foot length of baseball bat he kept for the purpose. I've forgotten how much it weight, but it measure just an inch or two under five feet!

Ling cod.

Ling cod are real good eating, and we got quite a few meals out of that fish!

On another occasion we were out fishing off the west side of Whidbey Island, and having no luck at all. Suddenly, tall, black dorsal fins surface all around us. Orca! Dozens of them! One of them "breached" (leapt out of the water not more than thirty feet away, rolled on its side revealing its white underbelly, and flopped back into the water. Our small boat (another sixteen footer) rocked severely.

Orca breaching.

Dad said, "Well, that does it for today. When those things show up, all the salmon head for the top of Mount Rainier!"

Don Firth