Onthe Waterfront

Published on Thu, Sep 29, 2005 by an Hrutfiord

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On the Waterfront

By Jan Hrutfiord

The harbor will be busy this weekend – commercial crabbing starts on the first of October. Crab pots are stacked on docks all over the harbor, waiting to be put on boats at the last minute – do any of them get ready way ahead of time? There is a reason to put them on the boats late, the fishers add bait to the pots before stacking them on the boats, so the pots are ready to put out without having to slow down to bait as they put out the strings of pots. Bait consists of fresh or frozen herring, squid or fish heads and carcasses. It can be a smelly operation, and if left too long, rotten fish smells would not be pleasant to be around. Also, crab can be picky, the fresher the bait, the better they like it!

It is important to throw out the strings of pots as quickly as possible, as the first fishers to get their pots out get the choice places, and the most crab. They will start picking their pots the first day (weather permitting), and re-bait each time they pick the pots. The first week or so is the best of the season, then things slow down as the first rush of crab is picked, and there are fewer crab to catch.

For those of you who love to watch the crabbers coming in with their catch, remember that the docks are private and very busy, and can be dangerous. Please take care and find a place you can watch from safely.
Salmon fishers have been fishing for pink and sockeye salmon, but that season is closing soon here. The boats will be going to the southern end of Puget Sound for more salmon fishing - pinks and then later chum.

There are hundreds of ducks and geese in the shoreline waters now. If you live near the waterfront, you probably wake up to ducks quacking, geese gossiping, and seagulls screaming. It’s a serenade only a bird lover can love! At times I think I am living in the middle of a chicken coop – but I do love it!

Take a walk down along Marine Park when the tide is no more than half-way out, you will see the flocks of ducks near the railroad crossing where they can get fresh water from Cain Creek, and be sheltered from the high winds of fall along the shoreline there. Please don’t scare the birds away, if you keep walking they won’t be worried, but if you get too close and they start moving away, you are too close!

Our local bald eagles have been hanging out on the cement blocks off of Peace Portal Drive at Cherry Street, as well as on the old pilings in the tideflats. They are looking for fish, unwary ducks, whatever they can find to eat. They are fun to watch, and not too worried about humans as long as you don’t get too close. There are several nests of eagles in our immediate vicinity, which makes living here in Blaine very special. Not many towns have as many birds as we do.

Get out your binoculars and take a walk! Hope to see you down at the harbor.