Shark Bait


Shark Bait

I dreamt that I had just dug up this wonderful hoard of beautiful bones--I was so happy. No, I'm not an archaeologist, I'm a dog--I only deal in modern bones. Just as I was about to sink my teeth into this especially juicy soup bone, I heard my name, "P.C., do ya want to go fishing?"

Heck yes, I love to go fishing. Romping around the stream banks, rolling in the mud, making everyone yell at me when I scare away the fish. Yeah! That's my idea of fun. Except that this time it was totally dark outside; how do you fish in the dark? We all got in the car with Stuart driving, Chris was in the passenger seat. Chandra and I were in the back seat. Chandra just turned 18. She says that now she's 'legal.' Does that mean that up until now she's been illegal? We drove south and west towards the coast. We went thru the beautiful Smith River gorge and the Redwood Forest, but it was too dark to see much of anything. We ended up at a marina in Crescent City--that's in California, but it's almost in Oregon, so Crescent City's cool.

We met out friend Marvin there who owns a 36-foot boat. We were going to go salmon fishing. I'd never gone salmon fishing before. Actually, I'd never been in a boat on the ocean before. This did not look like a very good idea to me.

All the people in our family had to get California fishing licenses because we live in Oregon. They all complained about that, but Marvin said we would be going after California fish, so it was only fair. We all got onto Marvin's boat, and it was awful. The floor kept tilting back and forth, and when I looked over the rail it seemed that the whole world was tipping back and forth. Hey everybody, let's go trout fishing, that's more fun! Marvin drove the boat outside the breakwater and then he let Chandra drive. Not smart, the waves were much bigger out here and I'm sure that Marvin had never driven with Chandra on dry land. She's an offensive driver, people run when they see her purple Honda coming at them. Goodbye, this may be my last words.

They got to a place where Marvin said would be good fishing and stopped. Take it from me, this place looked exactly like every other place we'd seen in the last half-hour. Just big waves all around with white stuff on top. The sky was starting to get light.

Marvin rigged up the most elaborate fishing stuff I'd ever seen and put it on the end of everyone's poles. They all put this stuff behind the boat and then started put-putting around real slow. They call it 'trolling.' Then we went trolling and trolling and trolling and trolling. I think I'm gonna be sick. The sun was pretty high up and nothing had happened when Marvin heard on his radio that people were catching salmon near the surface using bait. So Marvin hauled in everyone's fishing stuff and tied on some other stuff with little dead fish on the ends, and we went back to trolling.

Yikes, both Chris's and Chandra's poles bent double and started hissing as line streamed out. Marvin and Stuart started yelling instructions at them. Chris yelled back, "How do you expect us to land these fish with you guys yelling at us?" After about ten minutes they landed two nice salmon and Chandra yelled, "mine's bigger." Chris said, "Mine's fatter, I'll bet mine weighs more." Marvin then threw in his own line just as Stuart's reel started screaming. Stuart fought that fish for almost a half-hour yelling and whooping the whole time. (He's usually quite reserved.) Just as he got this monster salmon close to the boat the fish suddenly stopped fighting., then Stuart reeled in just the head of a very large salmon, all the rest of the fish was gone. Marvin looked very concerned and said, "Uh-oh, there's sharks in these here waters!"

Everyone let their liens out again and, incredibly, everyone except Chandra got a strike almost immediately. We must have been on top of a nest of 'em. Chandra's bait fish just floated there, limply on the surface of the ocean. Then this giant brown pelican flew over, saw Chandra's bait fish, and swooped down and grabbed it, resulting in it getting itself hooked. The pelican went bonkers! Now we had four poles bent over the rail, three salmon and a hysterical pelican. The pelican flew over the water, fluttered around on the surface, swam around under water, with Chandra trying to reel him in. In the process, the pelican got everyone's line thoroughly tangled. Marvin yelled, "Everyone reel in together, let's bring this whole mess in at the same time." It took about twenty minutes, but we finally got the 'whole mess' right next to the back of the boat.

Suddenly, the pelican which had been floating behind the boat disappeared! It looked like he'd been pulled under by his feet. Marvin yelled again, "Shark in the water!" Chandra leaned over the back rail reaching, "My poor pelican," she said as she fell over the rail and into the bait tank that was on the transom, just above the water level.

I feared the shark would get Chandra for sure, so I then did the dumbest thing I think I'd ever done. I jumped over the rail, into the water. Don't ask me why, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. The second I hit the icy water I realized that the only way I could help Chandra from here was to attract the shark away from her. I started thrashing in the water, I was shark bait! Then the pelican popped up next to me. He seemed intact, except for the fact that he was covered with fishing lines. Meanwhile, the people on deck were going wild. Marvin grabbed a long-handed gaff. Stuart grabbed a huge salmon net on a pole. Chris grabbed Chandra. Everyone reached over the rail and scooped at once. I felt the net scoop up the pelican and myself. We all landed sprawled over the deck in a big wet pile. Arms and feet, fins, tails, and feathers were everywhere. Marvin got out a knife and started cutting lines. When we finally got everything sorted out and the pelican back in the sky, we found that we had managed to get two of the salmon on board, one had gotten away. Everyone was wet and shivering on deck. Marvin announced, "We've caught one salmon apiece folks. What do you say we call it a day, go over to my place and dry out. Then we can have a fresh salmon barbcue?" Everyone cheered, I thought it was a good time to bark, and Marvin started the boat for home.

Boy, I never thought salmon fishing could be this much fun!

Love, and keep it waggin'
Your friend,

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