Yesterday morning I commented that I had not seen any salmon jumping for a couple of weeks. Shortly after that, we began to see them jumping inside our bight. When the fish run, we see a few jump within casting distance now and then, but on this day, they seemed to jumping every few seconds, very close to shore.
We had other projects planned for the day, and a dinner menu that didn’t include fresh fish. But, as Michelle pointed out, homestead life demands flexibility, so I rushed down to the edge of the rocks with a fishing pole and landing net like a child unexpectedly released from school on a sunny day.
I cast, and had a strike before I could set the reel. With polarized sunglasses, I could see my prey, a good-sized salmon through the clear water. Unfortunately, I also saw the height of the tide; it wasn’t good.
The waterline had fallen far enough below the cleft in which I stood that landing a fish would be difficult. I called for Michelle and Aly to come help, but standing over the edge of the cliff as I did, even my best “quarterdeck voice” barely registered inside the cabin. I had to try to land the fish on my own.
This is how I fish most of the time, so I’ve landed a lot of fish single-handed. This time, though, I stood precariously on a rock slope slick with seaweed. I had to keep my center of gravity behind my feet, to keep from falling in the water. I also needed both hands for the rod and reel, as the fish fought hard—enough that I suspected it might be a coho rather than our more common pink salmon. Meanwhile, other salmon continued to leap all around me, and I could see others milling around beneath me. I had to hold the net in position with pressure from my right arm while reeling in the fish. I managed to bring it to the net, but when it rammed its nose on the rim, the hook dislodged, and the fish got away.
By then, Michelle and Aly had arrived with rods, and we all fished the run. I hooked two more, but lost them both. As a roiling mass of silt from the Katzehin swept down from the north, I watched large fish gathering around my lure to strike. Then, the silty water flowed by, and the salmon moved past the beach, working the current as they went. Just like that, the best fish run we’ve seen since moving to the homestead came and went, and we had nothing to show for it.
Before returning to our planned activities, I spent some time putting new lures on each of our best poles. Today we hope to see a similar run at about the same time today. We likely just saw the first wave of these fish moving north, so it’s reasonable to expect more. And this time, we do have a place for fresh salmon on the menu. After all, what better way to celebrate this, our sixth anniversary of the day we moved to the homestead?