This section is from the book "American Game Fishes", by W. A. Perry. Also available from Amazon: American Game Fishes: Their Habits, Habitat, and Peculiarities; How, When, and Where to Angle for Them.
" We catcha plenta da salni; We catcha him ebera day; We sella him to da mon At da cannery ober da bay, Den we playa plenty da poka, When da daylight fada away."
Boats of all kinds covered the bosom of the bay. All nations on the earth were represented in that motley assemblage, from the tiny dot of an Indian girl in her little canoe, to the English "Me Laud" in his whale-boat with six men at the oars. It was a good-natured, jolly sort of a mob, too, even if it was a heterogeneous one. In crossing and recrossing so often, lines would become entangled, but such mishaps were taken as unavoidable, and a commendable Christian spirit was displayed on such accidents occurring.
The engineer, gazing down the bay, saw something flash in the air like the gleam of a silver scimeter. Hastily reeling in his line, he began to paddle strongly in that direction. The flashes then began to multiply by hundreds, and soon a great shining body leaped in the air at the very prow of the canoe, and fell with a heavy splash, leaving a widening ring on the hitherto unruffled mirror-like plain. A moment later the troll was spinning through the water, soon to be seized with a heavy twitch, and then the line began to hiss through the water and the reel to whir.
Dropping his paddle in the bottom of the canoe, the engineer began "monkeying" with the Tyee at the other end of the string in the sportsman-like manner recommended by the dude sportsman of the effete East. A tight line was kept on him till at last his frantic leaps and rushes were ended, and he floated, gasping, at the side of the canoe. A boat containing a sickly-looking dude and two pretty girls fresh from cultured Boston now drifted alongside, and one of the ladies requested the privilege of landing the fish. The rod was passed to her, and after a little delay the victim was gaffed and lay floundering in his last struggle in the bottom of the skiff. From the strike until he was landed was fully twenty minutes. In the ancient aboriginal manner he would have been "taken in and done for" in one minute. Nineteen minutes of useful time wasted just to be in the fashionable swim!
After presenting the young lady with the victim she had landed, the engineer paddled away, and soon joined the merry throng of anglers. A myriad of Salmon surrounded them, and but few of the two hundred or more boats that were in the fleet had failed to capture one or more Salmon. But in all that flotilla the engineer was the only one who attempted the scientific method. Striking a fish, he began to reel in or pay out his line, as the rushes of the fish required. Then the ridiculous appearance that he made became strongly apparent, when, after landing his quarry (a tiny fingerling of eight pounds), he became an object of ridicule and the subject of much chaffing. Ancient squaws derided him as "cultus" (exceedingly bad or worthless). A weather-beaten old tar with one leg called him a dude, and said he was sorry for him. Chinamen smiled that bland smile that means certain death to the one smiled upon, especially if the smiler is a member of the noble order of Highbinders, and happens to have his Malay Kriss about him. People of many other nations made equally flattering remarks to him. Then he became indignant, said he would seek better company, and began to paddle sarcastically in the direction where some sea-hogs, or porpoises, were rolling in the straits.
The course in which he was paddling brought him near one of the scows where the Italians were drawing a net. Four sturdy maccaroni-fed Romans were pulling on each end of the net, while two Greek patriots beat the water with wide oars, that made a great splashing, on the opposite side of the scow, in order to frighten any Salmon who might attempt to escape back into the net. The engineer waited until the net was drawn and the fishes tossed into the scow. In this draw over three hundred Salmon and one small Shark were , captured. The latter, in endeavoring to escape, had torn the net, and many Salmon had escaped through the rent. When the poor sea-wolf was drawn upon the scow, the foreign gentlemen began to slash him savagely with their knives. After stabbing him in many places they cut off his fins, and then threw him overboard-a warning to all net-destroyers.
A short distance from the scene of this tragedy the engineer hooked a Salmon and landed him without difficulty. This Salmon was a Nerka, and was a tame fish indeed. Like Crockett's 'coon, he just come in. This spiritless disgrace to the Salmon tribe was bestowed upon a hapless Chinaman who was greatly out of luck and had not caught a fish all morning. Here the engineer was joined by the Boston dude and his fair companions, who had been unsuccessful, not even having had a nibble all morning. There is certainly no gallantry among Salmon. Even death by such fair hands must be sweet.
While the engineer was paddling slowly along, talking to the occupants of the skiff, he was aware of a strike-of a swift, sudden, determined strike. The rod was jerked until it bent in the arc of a circle, and the reel made a whir like that made by the wings of a frightened grouse. His line went zigzagging through the water with great velocity.
It may be easy enough to manage a fish in the dude style where the angler has plenty of sea-room, but it is no picnic to do so when one is in the center of two hundred or more boats. Still the engineer kept on playing his Salmon in true scientific style. When the line slackened he would speedily reel it in, and when the fish pulled strongly on the line he would allow the reel to run. He became the center of all curiosity. Every other boat suspended operations-the occupants vied one with the other in making uncharitable remarks. The low, guttural voices of the Indians could be heard as they muttered curses on the iconoclast who would upset old customs. At last the Tyee was brought, gasping, to the side of the canoe, and the engineer, taking his gaff, reached carefully down, and was just in the act of hooking the fish, when, with a wave of its tail, it moved away to the leeward. The engineer leaned far over the side, and made a fearful sweep at it with his gaff, when his canoe glided from under him, and he saw the butt of his beautiful rod vanish in the water, as down, down he went. At last he returned to the surface, blew the water from his nostrils, and swam to his canoe.