A foursome of fisherfolk regale each other on the boardwalk at Telegraph Cove.

A foursome of fisherfolk regale each other on the boardwalk at Telegraph Cove.

Nothing fishy about summer’s tall tales

Artist Gordon Henschel captures a quintessential North Island summer moment.

Each year as the summer does its disappearing act and the fishing season also begins to draw to a close, fishing buddies come together to recall adventures, real or imagined, of incredible variety in impeccable detail.  In every lodge, resort, and campground they gather, pulling out stories that would curl your hair and certainly raise questions of credibility and integrity were it not for the box of 24 “cool ones” or the “26 pounder” that is ubiquitous among all the groups.

This event is never planned but happens purely through the synchronicity that accompanies the smell of fresh fish, often near the cleaning platforms; always near their rigs or cabins. Usually there is a barbecue of their labour of love nearby with their mates, if not taking part in the verbal celebration, standing and listening to all the summer’s experiences relived once again.

Many of the fisherpeople (there are almost as many women as men) have come to North Island a dozen summers or more, much like the “snowbirds” that go south every winter just for the camaraderie. Many of them are “summertime friends” that have one thing in common: their love for fishing in the cold waters of North Island.

This sketch was of a foursome on the boardwalk at Telegraph Cove, but could have been anywhere on the West Coast. I was fascinated how the guy with the beer in his hand held everyone’s attention. Wouldn’t you just love to hear his story?

Gordon Henschel owns an art gallery in Nimpkish Heights. www.henschel.ca.