Pirates and salmon

Arrr! Avast, matey! Pump yer bilge, weigh yer anchor, and batten down yer hatches. Sept. 19 be International Talk Like a Pirate Day.

It be a day of swagger and silliness, a day when instead of sayin’, “I think I’ll see what there is to eat in the fridge,” ye say, “Arrr! I be pillagin’ the galley fer some booty!”

If ye can talk in a blustery growl and say “arrr” a lot, ye already can talk like a pirate. If ye want to get more serious-like, tack yer way over to talklikeapirate.com, and ye can dig in the motherlode of piratey sayin’s.

On Talk Like a Pirate Day, if ye be, say, payin’ a visit to piratey pals, instead of sayin’ “Hello” at their front door, ye might shout, “Ahoy, me buckos, and prepare to be boarded! Arrr!”

When answerin’ the phone, instead of “Hello,” ye might growl, “Avast, ye scurvy bilge rat! Arrr!” and hope it be a friend callin’ who knows you be a bit “off.”

This be a day when ye can go a bit overboard singin’ sea chanteys, such as, “Ye never count yer booty, when yer sittin’ at the table; Thar’ll be time enough fer countin’, when the cheatin’s done.”

Another thing, it be proper to tell piratey jokes on Talk Like a Pirate Day.

Why wouldn’t the pirate say, “Aye, Aye, Cap’n”? The Cap’n had only one eye.

Why couldn’t the pirate catch fish? He had a bad hook.

On the subject of not catching fish, my wife and I have been fishing for silvers from a neighbor’s dock on the Kenai River in Sterling. On Wednesday morning of this week, we were there, patiently waiting for a bite. Our patience was being sorely tried. Other than a few spawning humpies, neither of us had caught a salmon all year.

We were sitting there, watching our rod tips for any sign that a silver might be curious about our bait, but nothing was happening. After an hour or so of that,

Sue said, “Fishing is like Internet dating.”

We had met on an Internet dating website, so I was interested in where this analogy would lead.

“You put your bait out there, and wait,” she said. “If nothing happens, you say, ‘Hey, my bait may not be perfect, but it’s not bad.’ You have to be patient. You spruce up your bait a little, and put it out there again. You get nibbles. When you finally hook one, it might not be what you want, so you throw it back and keep fishing. If you keep fishing long enough, you catch what you’re looking for.”

We had “fished” the Internet for a couple of years before finding each other. I’m not sure who caught whom. What first attracted me was a photo of her holding a fish.

Back to Wednesday morning, Sue and I finally went home, skunked again. After lunch, she was busy doing something, so I went back to the river alone, first looking for that first salmon of the year.

We’d tried plugs and bait, so I decided to try an old friend, the Size 5 Vibrax spinner. The river was high and murky, but I figured the fish could see it well enough. Sure enough, after a few casts, something grabbed it. I pulled. Whatever it was pulled back. “Another humpy,” I thought.

But I was wrong. The fish turned out to be a bright, 14-pound silver, just what I’d been looking for.

Les Palmer can be reached at les.palmer@rocketmail.com.

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