I stand waist-deep, feeling the cool compression of neoprene and the pull of the tide.
It is strong and unyielding, washing the silt from under my feet, and drawing my heavy net in its direction. There is wind or sun or rain, or all three. I watch the hoop or try to remember the names of the distant mountains that split the horizon into water and sky. Everyone is happy when someone turns to run up the shore.
I wait for my turn to yank the pole, and struggle through dirt and sand and rocks to drag my thrashing catch far enough from the water. “Bonk,” we say, but it is a wet crack or two that ends the life. “Thank you,” I say to the fish, “For swimming into my net, for being healthy, for filling the bellies of my family and friends.”
The gills and fins and mouth are tangled, my husband keeps the tally and clips the fins. I am grateful he will do the heavy lifting while I return to the water to repeat the process until no more salmon swim into my net, or I am exhausted.
I could stand for hours at the mouth of the river, sit for hours on a rocky bank, sandy shore, or a weathered dock. The places where water meets land are exquisitely beautiful to me.
May’s issue of ECHO Magazine focuses on fishing.
To tell you the truth, I was expecting more “tall tales” this month, but what we have for you are stories about passion, friendship, beauty, healing, and memories.
I received a submission entitled A Water Sine. I was intrigued by the title because the words seemed so disparate – it didn’t make sense. Thank you, Google. I learned that water, when subjected to specific vibrations and filmed at specific frame rates treats viewers to an optical illusion. The droplets seem to split in mid-air and flow backward in a spellbinding dance. In A Water Sine, contributed by author Bruce Woods, it doesn’t take human intervention for the subject be entranced; the river’s natural beauty draws him in, and her power takes him.
Dru Stinson shares a perfect day, and Frank Baker tells us about the best fisherman he has ever known. Bob Bechtold shares how Project Healing Waters Fly Fishing supports veterans by allowing them to learn and share something they love with other veterans.
Ryan Ragen, Program Coordinator with the Division of Sport Fish, writes about his family and their experience with the Five Salmon Family Challenge, which is actually quite a brilliant way to promote fishing and family.
Dan Shepard does an excellent job allowing us all to get to know each other a little bit better in our monthly feature, Day in the Life. This month features Dennis Johnson, who many of you know as the owner of Jitters, but may not know about his obsession with fishing. Do you have an idea for our next subject? Let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stephanie Blake shares the story of her family’s first dipnetting trip. Bill Pearch makes some recommendations for self-protection while enjoying our beautiful state; and Donn Liston’s Fishing Disaster tells the tale of a boy and his father, a boat and the sea, and how little it takes for everything to go wrong.
In notes and news: Elizabeth Pearch has stepped down as our Editor, but keep a lookout in print and online for her Good Things column!
Also new, we have a small section in the column to the right with some of the articles that didn’t make it into print this month that will be featured online.
Lastly, it was a joy to edit this issue of the ECHO for you. It’s clear that no matter what kind of fishing you do, it nourishes the soul, creates deep friendships and lasting memories – and sometimes you might even catch dinner.