They Don’t Care About the Rain

Leaving Aki with a promise of an afternoon adventure, I’m out the door with everything needed to catch a king salmon except luck.  A low marine layer of clouds block out the mountain tops but there is no rain. It waits for us at the harbor.

For a few weeks in early spring large king salmon, some over 30 pounds, fatten themselves on herring where we fish. They don’t care about the rain or the cold air temperature. We try to ignore these things as well.

 Other creatures come here to chase the herring, forcing them into concentrated balls of feed. Hoping to catch a king we troll hooks baited with herring through the balls. A harbor seal splashes nearby, coming to the surface often with a mouth full of silvery fish. He doesn’t care about the rain, now falling in heavy pellets that send up spray when hitting the ocean surface.  The rain doesn’t worry that brace of eagles gliding slowly to the water to pluck herring that were driven to the surface by the seal.

Distracted by the eagle ballet I stop caring about the rain and cold.  While I watch the birds, the captain calls out in alarm.  A humpback whale has just surfaced near the boat. Attracted by the concentration of bait fish, the whale spends the next hour hoovering up herring along the cove’s inner shore.  We don’t get in its way but other boats have to take evasive action to keep out of the whale’s path. 

This time of year it takes 144 hours of fishing to catch a king salmon. We put in our first four and call it quits. Driving home in the heavy rain we pass a large black bear grazing on road side vegetation.  A driving rain can give any fur bearing a pathetic bearing, this bear included. It doesn’t keep him from the task at hand.

 

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