Fishing for seagulls
Back when I was in college, I was getting along on a very small budget, and after rent and food, there wasn’t a whole lot left for entertainment. Then, as now, I loved to fish, and always had a fishing pole or so at hand. One day, probably sitting in one of those dull humanities courses they force you to take, I came up with an idea.
Just down the hill from the house that three of us were renting was a fish market. I walked down to the market, and asked them if they had any pieces of halibut skin I could have that were left over after filleting.
“Sure”, the man said, and handed me a couple of pieces of halibut skin trimmings. “What do you want them for?” he asked. “Got an idea.”, I replied, “Gotta try it out first to see if it works, though. If it works out, I’ll stop by and let you know all about it!”
I walked back to the house, grabbed my spinning rod, and jumped into the car. A few miles South of town there was a place I could park, and then hike out to the railroad tracks that ran along the shore of Puget Sound. (For those of you familiar with Western Washington, it was the Chuckanut drive area, South of Bellingham). Anyhow, after reaching the tracks, it was only a short hike along the shoreline to sort of a rock jetty that had been built to lead out to a train trestle.
Standing on the rocks, I tied a single small hook to my line, and then buried the hook deep inside a piece of the halibut hide. Halibut hide is tougher than leather, and once the hook was well buried, it wasn’t coming out. I made sure the point was thoroughly covered, so nothing could actually get hooked.
Raring back, I cast the halibut hide out as far as I could, and almost immediately a seagull dove down and picked it up in his beak. “Fish On! Err, well, gull on?”. It can only be described as a cross between fishing and kite flying! The gull would take line, and I’d try to play him back in, and back and forth it would go.
Eventually I would work the gull in to about ten feet from my rod tip, and the gull would drop the halibut hide. Casting back out, it was only seconds before another gull would pick up the halibut skin, and again the fight was on. Sometimes I’d have the same gull on two or three times. The gulls didn’t seem mind at all, in fact, I think they kinda got a kick out of it too.
And some folks thought college in the sixties was all sex, drugs, and rock & roll……