Saturday, January 22, 2011

End of an Era

 Well... it was bound to happen eventually... long overdue really. The period spanned two fall salmon runs and close to 200 days on the water or ice. I've had to update my Blogger and Facebook profiles as I'm no long an "out of work fishing bum". But what a run it was! Taking advantage of my friends varied schedules with off days scattered throughout the week, always scrounging a few bucks to put in the gas tank, exploring a 20,000 square mile area of southern Ontario for all things fishy. A great way to spend a year or so. I could always feed myself, but unfortunately fishing doesn't pay the rent.

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not a lazy person, it's just that in the past few years I've done some major re-evaluation of my priorities. Over 30 years spent in a lightning fast paced, manufacturing environment has taught me to slow down and enjoy the simpler things away from work. Not always a common or popular view in a sprawling multicultural metropolis of over 4 million people struggling for that "better life" our society deems necessary for approval. For me, money has always been a tool for personal growth, not an ever elusive goal of attaining a vast financial empire. And thus my personal motto: Work to live - Live to fish.

 The past 16 months have been extremely difficult finding employment other than entry level, minimum wage, work-till-you-drop type jobs. The plastic industry took a huge hit years ago, and with it's slow recovery, employers today are looking for young hotshots who are more malleable, and more importantly, cheaper to keep. I'd only had a dozen or so interviews during this time, lowering my salary expectations just to get a foot in the door, but never quite managing to impress.

 Two months ago, and getting perilously close to the bottom of the barrel, I got a call from an old associate from half a lifetime ago. He and a few others from that long ago factory had started up their own company, and by diversifying their customer base, had prospered where many others had gone down in flames. It was like a class reunion at that first interview, I knew everyone that was anyone in the company, and the interview itself was spent catching up and trading war stories, with little time spent reviewing my qualifications. Things were looking up but it took another 8 weeks before my call back earlier this week. After a brief run down on the responsibilities and another tour of the plant, I left there with that warm fuzzy feeling associated with a long awaited homecoming and a dream job all rolled into one. And that's the good news.

 Every coin has two sides and so does this story. The factory is on the far side of the city and a 40 mile round trip commute by public transit will eventually wear me down. After a 2 week orientation I'll be taking responsibility for the midnight shift. Midnights combined with a 3-4hr commute leave little time for anything else during the week especially fishing. I guess the cure for a self indulgent fishing addiction is gainful employment. I'll be making some serious coin so I imagine in a few months time, when the novelty's worn off and my bank account has regained some weight, I'll start indulging myself with the purchase of a few items from my long ignored fishing wish list.

One final and ironic note. As the bus crossed over the partially frozen Humber River less than a mile from my house on that first commute, I saw a 30" steelhead roll on the surface as if giving a final salute to the end of an era. This new time in my life will initially offer limited opportunities to indulge my passion, but will make those infrequent outings all the more sweeter!
Destined to be a Weekend Warrior


  1. So, no more fishing war stories? It is indeed a sad day. Hope you'll keep the blog ... for future generations of young fishers, like a time capsule?

    "May the holes in your net be no larger than the fish in it."
    ~Irish Blessing

  2. Oh ... ther'll be plenty more war stories David, just not as frequent. I don't use a net but thanks for the sentiments.

  3. Congrats on the new job! A man has got to do, what a man has got to do.

  4. Your past year or so is quite similiar to mine.
    I've decided to "try" semi-retirement. I'll work through the winter, then fish April to September 1st. 7 Months work, 5 months of fishing. This will be my second season...hope it continues to work.

    Best of luck with your new job John. Remember to schedule time for yourself...and the fish!

  5. First, good to see you employed again.

    Second, it's a shame that experienced people, such as yourself, are passed over for younger, cheaper, workers AND, it always takes two to replace you.

    Third, Eating is much preferred to starving.

    I'm sure you'll find time to fish.


  6. Congrats John, now the saying work to fish rings true!

  7. congrats at getting back to work anyways. been there. It's hard to complain about work when it's there, but you sure miss a lot of fishing opportunities. best of luck