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Patience is not my virtue, but stubbornness is. This means if I say I’m going fishing, I will. But I’m not particularly good at it.
I looked outside my window at the crack of dawn on Monday morning to see rain. I could feel the chill by the window. It had been years since I’d taken part in the first day of recreational fishing and I couldn’t back out now. Plus, the container of worms I had gotten were only going to stay fresh for so long.
My plans to cook breakfast by the side of the river were quickly extinguished as well, as I layered myself in my warmest clothing. My trusted backpack, that had taken me on endless hikes, was filled with a blanket, hooks and sinkers. I waved goodbye to my pets, who looked so warm in my bed, and prepped for a few hours in the rain.
I’m a goal-oriented person, meaning an activity, such as fishing, doesn’t make sense to me. If the chances of me catching a fish were low (especially on a day like Monday), then what was the point? My brother is an avid fisherman and he says, at first, he would often have a “skunk” of an outing, i.e. he’d catch no fish. He said that’s just part of the sport.
But I don’t like to lose, and it’s why I find fishing hard. This is also exactly why I decided I would fish this year: to accept that not succeeding isn’t failure.
- What: Recreational Fishing on P.E.I.
- When: April 15 to mid-fall
- Where: Check your fishing guidebook when you buy your licence
- Cost: $30 for a seasonal licence and then all the fixings
I drove out to a fishing spot along Winter River and went down to the riverbed. I waved to one other fisher who was coming down the path, but there weren’t too many people outside in this weather. I walked over a moss-covered log over a rushing creek and along to my fishing spot.
My brother had taught me how to properly tie the hook and sinker to the line, so I twisted the two ends together before looping it through into a knot. As a former vegetarian, I winced and apologized to the worm before I slid it onto a hook and set myself up along the bank.
I frequently hike, bike, and run along Winter River Trail and had spotted these fishing spots on the opposite side. In one of the trees is a bobber from where someone had done an overhead cast into the branches.
Holding onto the line, I flicked the rod with a sidearm cast and dropped the bait into the rushing water. And then, it was time to wait.
And I did wait. For two hours. I listened to podcasts and took photos. I re-tied my line when the hook got caught in an exposed root. I felt a bite or two (I swear). And then, thoroughly soaked to the bone and numb, I left.
There are people who spend hours upon hours in their waders, just waiting for a bite. Over the years they get better and have fewer “skunk” days, but there is always the chance that they will come back empty-handed.
It’s hard for me to say I didn’t come back with a fish today. But, I can always come back tomorrow and try, try, again. The season has only just started, after all.
Julia Cook is a freelance journalist based in Charlottetown. She is a regular contributor to the pages of The Guardian