For fear of being caught – not the fish, but himself – he didn’t invite his fishing buddy to go with him.
Traffic was light but enough cars were on the road that his blended in with the rest.
Chances of being stopped and having to explain where he was going were minimal.
But even then, he was prepared.
‘Just getting some essentials’ he would say.
And, if pressed, if asked to explain, he’d say ‘pot.’
Which was true.
But he needed gas.
And a candy bar.
Behind the plexiglass the cashier smiled, commented on the beautiful day saying how nice it would be to be out and about, except of course for the “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” Order.
Why was she looking at him like that? Was she suspicious?
But he looked away, probably should have but didn’t wait for his change.
‘Odd that he bought worms,’ she thought, ‘since everything ‘round here is closed to fishing.’
She suddenly thought she should get his license number but by that time he was gone.
Another half-hour and he was driving past the entrance to the State Park. Sure enough it was padlocked.
Ironically, at that very moment, Fiona Apple’s “Fetch the Bolt Cutters” was playing on the radio.
He smiled, as he continued on down the road, thinking of his foldable boat stashed away in the trunk.
And his fishing pole, cleverly concealed along the length of the oar.
This would be a good day.
Yellow perch, crappie, largemouth bass, rainbow trout, walleye. It didn’t matter.
Just the sunshine, the fresh air, blue water, fluffy white clouds.
And it was.
A good day.
Until, unable to resist, he actually never even thought about it, he lifted the stringer to show off the load of fish to the one on the dock who’d been kind enough to tie off his boat; asking how he’d done; even offering him a beer.
Grateful for refreshment on what had been a hot, but a relaxing day on the water, he reached out and took the beer and popped the top.
It was then he heard the sirens, loud and wailing. Closer and closer. The lights flashing.
As they passed.
Right outside his window.
Startled, he sat bolt upright in bed.
It was a dream.
The following not so much.
Jay Inslee, governor of the only state in the entire United States where recreational fishing is not allowed, actually said what follows according to The Spokesman-Review, April 24, 2020, the S-R hosting a forum with the governor as to when laws would be relaxed to allow relaxation.
As if an indicator of the priorities of Washingtonians, “the most frequent question from readers before and during the forum” was not about golfing.
It was, “What about fishing?”
That’s what 23 representatives and senators from across the state wanted to know too.
In a letter to the governor dated March 27, 2020 the signers-on suggested the top lawmaker’s definition of what constituted healthy activity “might be a bit too narrow.”
The governor encourages “engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running or biking, but only if appropriate social distancing practices are used.”
What about fishing, these elected representatives wanted to know.
In contrast to New York state that says they “encourage all anglers, novice and expert, to get outside and fish, but act responsibly by practicing social distancing and staying safe,” according to Todd Myers who is Environment Director of the Washington Policy Center and Member of Puget Sound Salmon Recovery Council, Washington’s governor responded to the fishing question by saying “that’s a hard one.”
Per the S-R, the governor purportedly said that even when people go fishing alone, they usually drive somewhere. They may stop for gas, grab a candy bar, talk to the cashier. Stop at the bait shop, catch a load of fish, and show them off on the dock. On the way home, they may stop to show their brother what they caught and have a beer. Over time, all those contacts have an impact, he said.
Good thing fishermen are patient – to catch fish, much less go fishing.
That being said, the dream to go chasing after the big ones – any ones – that are currently getting away; even the opportunity for grown adults to chase around after a little white ball, may soon become a reality said the governor.
“In the next few days,” he said.