Tuesday, January 29, 2008

O Calamari, wherefore art thou, Calamari?

The squid gods must be appeased. Can we get some virgins out to Pier 86, please? Seriously. This winter has been as dismal for squid jigging as I can remember. In several nights at the jig, my best effort is a baker's dozen of the tentacled buggers—a far cry from the full two-gallon buckets of previous years. Who or what is to blame? La Niña? El Niño? George Bush? The continuing decline of Puget Sound? The Seattle P-I's 5-part series on the continuing decline of Puget Sound (how dare they, whine the Seattle boosters and would-be polluters)? Maybe it's just the weather. Seems it's either freezing cold, gale-force windy, or drenching rain. Whatever happened to those balmy overcast winter nights?

I got to the public pier around 9:30 p.m. last night. It was 38 degrees and howling. Waves crashed on the rocks. Two other jiggers were braving the elements, their hoods flapping in the wind: a Taiwanese man named Tom and his wife. They had driven all the way from Woodinville and put in nearly two hours at the gusty pier. In their bucket they had a grand total of two squid for their effort. His 'n' hers.

I stayed for about ten minutes and half a dozen casts, long enough to admire the lit up cityscape across the bay and listen to the otherworldly sounds of a ship being loaded at the grain terminal. Then Tom shut off his portable spotlight and the three of us left together, talking about those epic nights of full buckets in 2006.

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