In the great scope of history, this may never make any news headlines. But I did make history this summer. I caught a fish – a lovely female salmon in Lake Ontario near the Port Darlington marina.
I never catch fish. In my youth trolling West Lake in Prince Edward County with my uncle, we’d bring lots of weeds into the boat. But in years of trying, we could never catch any fish. We always told other more successful fishermen that we were “catch and release” guys adhering to a higher standard of conservation. It was a small lie that helped soothe our injured pride.
I’ve fished in plenty of places. I used to fish a lot in the North for Arctic char while I worked for CBC in Frobisher Bay, Baffin Island. Desperate for a bite after months of fruitless fishing, I did catch a small char with a piece of pepperoni as bait. Unfortunately, somebody’s dog ate it soon afterwards.
In the mid- 1970s, I fished in the Pacific Ocean while working at CBC Prince Rupert.
Prince Rupert is a commercial fishing community so there must be fish there. I just couldn’t find them. In years of fishing in small boats on a big ocean, I never caught anything more than a cold and seasickness.
I then tried inland fishing with some buddies. The idea was that a bunch of us would cluster on a salmon river in northern British Columbia wherever there were bears fishing. It seemed clever at the time. But from my experience, bears are not particular about what they eat. And they view stupid fisherman just as tasty as salmon. And after a record-breaking sprint to the safety of our truck, I never fished inland again.
All of this brings me to the summers of 2012 and 2013. In both years my friend Jim Calvin of Wolfe Island has asked me to come out on his boat for a day of salmon fishing. While this would usually mean a day of sunburn for me, the truth is I caught a salmon both times – and I have pictures to prove it. It just goes to show you that all of us can make history.