It was bright and beautiful and 72 degrees.
I wore a short sleeve t-shirt and lots of bug spray. I packed the fillet knife and some Ziploc baggies. I stuck my book of edible plants in the bag too, just in case I came across anything interesting. I grabbed my rod and Primrose grabbed her favorite stick.
Primrose and I are the queens of salmon fishing. I snag them and she guards them from the eagles while they are on the stringer.
We enjoyed a quiet and serene walk over the flats, across the creek, out to our regular honey hole.
I cast once.
On the third cast I snagged one. A beautiful little sockeye, radiantly shining shades of silver and green.
I cast again, enjoying the silence. I was soaking up the solitude, listening to the breeze harmonize with the sea gulls in a tantalizing hymn.
Prim’s ears perked up. She turned her head. I heard it too.
I looked up and saw nothing. 360 degrees of nothing but mountains, trees, saltwater, and sky. The only living things I could see were eagles and mussels and fish.
The voices were getting closer.
And then my heart sunk.
And those two boats were jam packed with people. Loud people.
The tide was so low that two men in waders were walking up to their waists in water and pulling the boats up on the rocky beach. There was a woman with the biggest, grayest, curliest hair I have ever seen in the front of the boat and she hollered out “WhoooooooooWeeeee! We made it!” Then, “Oh no, too shallow there, go that way! No, the other way! Watch that rock!”
But she didn’t stop there. When God created her voice he must have had a head cold because he gave her a double dose of loud. “Look at those reds! Give me a rod! Wait, the rods are in your boat! Get me out of this boat and give me a rod!”
She was going non-stop.
Primrose sat at my feet and growled low in her throat; her usual notification to me that she’s sensing something she doesn’t like. I didn’t blame her.
And then, the boats overfloweth.
People were everywhere. I counted somewhere around 23 but there were so many little children running around I probably missed a few. They had a dog too that kept trying to eat rocks.
I thought I had time to cast once more but before I knew it I was surrounded by four adults with fishing rods. As one fellow cast his line into the water he brushed my shoulder. That’s how close they came to me without out even saying hello.
I picked up my pack, secured my rod, and grabbed my fish.
And then another woman started yelling right beside me. “Oh no! Dante! Stop! Stop, Dante!”
She had hooked her dog with a treble hook.
I looked down at my sweet little Primrose who was right at my feet. She looked back at me and we had a very special moment. With only our eyes she said “Mom, let’s get out of here, these people are nuts.” And I said “You’re right little girl, follow me.”
And off we went.
About 200 yards up the way I saw a teensy little school of salmon and I cast.
“Oh look!” I heard someone say, and I was followed.
300 yards further on I paused again to look at another school of fish but a quick glance over my shoulder showed me that the masses were already on their way.
Prim and I ended up walking all the way up to the lagoon and we were followed the entire way. At the mouth of the lagoon I looked back and there was a solid string of humans along the whole beach. It was a regular fishing derby.
I wonder how many times they hooked their dog.
This fishing queen and her fishing queen pup finally gave up. We walked over to a shady spot and cleaned the fish. Then we walked home.
I just wasn’t in the mood to combat fish today.
Do you ever have problems sharing nature with strangers?
Apparently I do.
Do you prefer to be outdoors alone, in a group of people you know, or with a group of strangers?