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Friday, 13 May 2016

Salmon Fishing

Every year this time, our thoughts turn to fishing, not for trout or codfish, but salmon. Before long, the season will open and anglers will head to their favourite salmon rivers in pursuit of the illusive Atlantic salmon here in eastern Canada. However, salmon fishing does not conjure up pleasant memories for my husband, Rick or his mother, Sylvia.

When Rick was young, family vacations were spent in various locations along salmon rivers on the west coast of Newfoundland. The lure of the Atlantic salmon was a passion of my father-in-law, Melvin, much to the chagrin of his wife and son. Every year, Sylvia and Rick spent the hottest days of the summer in a small travel trailer, while Melvin spent blissful hours pursuing salmon.

 

Big Falls on the west coast of Newfoundland was his favourite fishing hole. It is a beautiful spot with fast flowing, pristine water, in the wilderness of Sir Richard Squires Park. This place was the Smith's home during their summer vacation each year. Melvin stood for hours, casting that rod in the early morning and evening, when the salmon were feeding in their resting pools on the river.

 

Melvin often said, "I'm going for a few flicks now," as he gathered his gear to head to the river where he'd succumb to the enchantment yet again.

His wife and son never really understood the attraction. They were confined to the trailer because the flies were so bad; sand flies got through screens which were covered with cheese cloth. The heat was oppressive too. Sylvia and Rick felt captive in the tiny trailer.

Melvin didn't notice the heat and somehow the flies didn't bother him either. It was as if the salmon had him mesmerized, making him immune to the aggravation of the flies and heat. He also enjoyed the company of the other anglers, fellow victims of the enchantment.

There was a time when Melvin tried to interest Rick in fishing. However, Rick was immune to the mystic charm of the noble fish. He completely hated it. Many times in our married life, Rick spoke of his feelings about fishing. I knew which words or phrases would set him off and what he'd say when he got started.

Eventually we did a fishing intervention. Rick's parents brought a fresh whole salmon to Big Falls and we poached it with potato and onion, our favourite way to cook the tasty treat. While the salmon cooked, we burned a paper salmon shape in effigy. Then Rick and Sylvia expressed all their salmon fishing frustrations as Melvin listened. We laughed a lot that day and in the years since then the salmon fishing stories aren't as frequent or negative.

 

Now the only time the memories re-surface is at this time of year, when people gear-up for the salmon fishing season. We have never been tempted to join them!

20 comments:

  1. I have a couple of friends who fish for Alaska salmon at this time of year. They are commercial fishermen who leave for a month or two and come back with their haul all packaged. Their boats are on the water and other than the gore and fish smell, they seem to enjoy it. Glad you are done with that part of your life. :-)

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    1. Love that west coast salmon too, though it's different from the Atlantic salmon.

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  2. Not something I would have the patience for.

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    1. Me either. I have tried it and it is peaceful. The mosquitoes do me in however.

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  3. Well, somebody has to do the fishing and someone has to do the eating...a perfect duo.
    Great story, especially the burning in effigy part.

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    1. The burning in effigy helped. It was the conversation and listening to one another which really mattered.

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  4. That sounds like the perfect situation where "separate vacations" would have been warranted.

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    1. How true. It would work today. In those days, it was unheard of.

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  5. I haven't been salmon fishing, but I assume the flies were for the fishing?

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    1. The flies mentioned were sand flies, like a speck of dust and with a vicious bite. It feels like the swarm you.

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  6. I was a "salmon widow" for more than one spring/summer season. Hubby was an avid angler when I first met him and he continued for about ten or so years. I went along a few times, but the flies drive me crazy and it seemed so boring....just standing there watching your line float along on the top of the water!! He used to get up before daylight and drive up to his favorite river to secure his special spot or rock----oh yeah---it has a cult following for those who are in to it. After we got married, and had our daughter, it just seemed to lose its allure.

    Your post brought back a flood of awesome memories. We would sure enjoy the catch of the day though. We would usually invite friends over and have a big fry or barbecue, which always turned into a late night of fun food and laughter.

    You made me "smile out loud"...ha ha!!

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    1. The Smiths had some good times too, though lots of fishing misery for mother and son, with the heat and the flies.

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  7. I have a niece and her husband who live in Alaska and their big thrill every year is the 2 week Salmon hunt that they have done for years. Luckily they are in sync.

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    1. It would be a great experience for a couple who enjoyed it.

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  8. Family histories. They are so unique and interesting. I could laugh about my family too. Not the same story. Different but full of family memories - both good and bad. Good share.

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    1. Every family has some interesting tales to tell.

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  9. I have a BIL who is immune to bugs. He can walk in the forest during high bug season for hours on end while the rest of us linger behind screens.

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  10. My husband would love to do that. He likes to go fishing with his brother and our son. They mostly fish in the Summer. (P.s. I have nominated you for the Liebster Award. Please take a look at the latest post in my blog.)

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    1. If your husband could stand the insects, he'd love salmon fishing in Newfoundland, I'm sure.

      While I don't participate in awards posts any more, thank you for nominating me. I will give a link to your post and answer the questions you asked however.

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