Sep 10, 2011

Sleepless in Seattle

     I recently had the opportunity to present my steelhead research at the 141st Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society in Seattle WA. It was great to see some old friends, meet some new ones, and hear about the fisheries research being done all over the world.
     We also had plenty of time to see the sights in Seattle. They gave us free tickets to go up the Space Needle and we had a student social at the Seattle Aquarium.
This silver dude didn't fool me. I knew he was just one of those robotic moving statues...
We found a wall completely covered in ABC gum! Unfortunately most of the gum had lost its flavor by this point...
No the fish isn't real, but my excitement is.
The Seattle skyline as seen from 518 feet up the Space Needle
Cute little fish at the aquarium.
Can you find Nemo?
The sunset from the balcony at the aquarium was awesome.
No trip to Seattle is complete without watching some guy throwing fish at Pikes Place Market.
More Pikes Place
     Not being one to miss an opportunity to catch some new fish I decided to find the nearest fishing pier and spend a few hours species hunting. I spent a couple of hours on Thursday searching for somebody to sell me a fishing license and after about a 5 mile walk I ended up at an Outdoor Imporium where I also found some promising looking sabiki rigs and some squid jigs.
     Bright and early at 3:30 Friday morning I caught a taxi and headed to the Elliot Bay Park Fishing Pier. The taxi dropped me off at a questionable factory-type building with no water in sight. The security guard at the factory gave me the stink-eye as I nervously looked for the pier. I soon found a sign pointing me to a trail. I'm pretty used to walking or hiking to my fishing spots so I wasn't too bothered by the 1/4 mile walk through the park until I started thinking about the fact that I was walking through a park in the dark in a shady looking part of a big city. I had a fair size knife in my pocket but it was still pretty creepy.
     I managed to make it to the pier and avoid any unwanted gang violence, so I did what I do - I fished.
     I had gone early enough to have a couple hours of darkness hoping I might be able to catch a squid or two. Shortly after I started, I promptly snagged the bottom and lost my squid jig. Luckily I had bought a back-up jig for just such an occasion, so I tied it on. Of course I promptly lost that one too. As soon as that happened, as if on cue I saw a big school of squid swim by with their eyes looking bright and huge in the moonlight. I think they were laughing at me. I'll get revenge on those tentacled punks some time, but it wasn't to be that day.
      I tied on a sabiki rig and tipped it with a piece of squid and started fishing for actual fish. I was pretty impressed by the numbers of fish I could see swimming by. I could see big schools of juvenile salmon and little shiner perch. I caught plenty of both. After catching my fill of baby salmon and perch, I dropped my rig down to the bottom in an effort to get out of the schools of tiny fish. So of course I caught another tiny fish, but this one was different!
Don't judge my fish, it's not his fault he's small!
     It was a brown rockfish, and more importantly a new species!
     Shortly after dawn, two 'interesting' looking guys walked out onto the pier. They walked right up and stood on each side of me. It was obvious by looking at them that they were on drugs. I put my hand in my pocket making sure my knife was still there.
     As soon as they started talking my nerves eased. Turns out they were just friendly and upon closer inspection just kids, probably only about 17 or 18 years old - still obviously on drugs though. One of them ended up falling asleep on one of the benches on the pier and the other talked my ear off for about a half hour as the morning bite wore off. I kind of felt guilty for thinking they meant me harm, they just seemed to want somebody to talk to.
     By about 8:00 I needed to get to the conference so I said goodby and went and hailed a taxi. I didn't catch a squid, but I still got a new species, and I even made some new friends - not a bad way to spend a morning if you ask me!

No comments:

Post a Comment