Tonie Chene – Her Big Fish Story

August 22, 2018 Facebook Twitter LinkedIn Google+ Uncategorized

Monday 20 August marked the third month of my continuous morning swim in the Rideau River. I was proud of myself. Because Lise did not join me this morning, 
I swam along the riverfront rather than swim across the river by myself. I decided to head south so that I could get a good view of the Brankers new boat tied on their dock.
Directly across the river from me, there was a fisherman, in his big fishing boat, coasting along the western shore of the River, casting his line in the shallow waters. His silent MinnKota propelled him silently along the shore.
Neighbours Albert and Randy who usually waterski early in the morning in front of our properties decided to quietly motor on further south in order not to disrupt the fisherman’s peaceful hobby.
What was unusual about this fisherman’s strategy is that he was fly fishing. He had repetitive, graceful arm motions of casting his line, releasing about five meters of fishing line further into the water and then slowly reeling it back in.
The fly bait flickered behind him, then was flung towards the bow of the boat. 
This pattern was repeated for about ten minutes. When I reached the Branker’s home, the pattern was broken. I heard a loud splash, then saw a flickering motion out of the water and saw an arched fish propelled out of its element. The Fisherman had caught a fish and I saw it all. He expertly landed the big fish in his net. When I saw that he was in control of the situation, I put my fingers in my mouth and whistled loudly at him. He turned around, surprised to see me. I yelled “Good for you. What is it?”
He replied but I could not hear him, so I briskly continued my swim, heading across the river, in his direction.
He did likewise and turned his boat around to head towards me. He had caught a huge Muskellunge. My favourite fish… I had hoped that the Ottawa Football team would have named their new team the Muskies rather than the wussie name Red Blacks.
When I approached the boat, I took hold of the net to closer inspect his catch. Careful, he said, its teeth are like shark teeth. I was impressed. It was about 40 cm in length. It had a long pointy snout much like a pike and fierce mean eyes. I had never seen one of this breed before. By this point, Frank was on his deck photographing us. 
The fisherman was from Blue Sea Lake in Quebec and visiting friends nearby. 
He had caught and released hundreds of such fish from the Rideau River.
Then he looked at me and I was sure he asked: “Are you a Mermaid?” I blushed… 
but what he really asked was : “Are you and endurance swimmer?”