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The Seattle Sketcher

An illustrated journal of life in the Puget Sound region by Times artist Gabriel Campanario.

July 8, 2011 at 10:10 PM

Pier 86 is a little less crowded, a lot more cozy

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Sketched July 5, 3:27 p.m.
People come to this long pier at Terminal 86 to catch all sorts of marine life, depending on the time of the year: lingcod, rockfish, Dungeness crab, salmon and squid.
Terry Stroud is one of about a dozen regulars. There’s also Ken, Cris, Rich When they catch a big fish, they snap a photo and put it up on the “wall of fame” inside the pier’s shelter. “We are like a big family down here,” said Stroud, who once caught a 29.5-pound lingcod.
They like pier 86 because it’s not as crowded as other fishing spots in the city. At the Spokane Bridge, it’ll be “elbow to elbow” when salmon arrive in late July. The busiest time at this pier is actually in October and November, Stroud said. People fish for squid at night, and the Happy Hooker Bait and Tackle Shop stays open until midnight.
With lingcod season over, Stroud wasn’t expecting to catch anything, much less a 21-armed sea star with a bright-orange golf ball lodged in its mouth. “I told you the water was polluted,” said Stroud with a laugh. He used his tweezers to extricate the golf ball and handed it to me. “That’s your lucky ball.”
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Stroud and his friends Cris Tabadero and Ken Bridges may be the regulars at pier 86, but they’re not the only Seattleites drawn to this relaxing spot just a couple of blocks from downtown.
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Marty Bumstead, of Green Lake, and his friend Brian Neyenhouse, of Queen Anne, had decided to spend the glorious summer day –Mount Rainier was glowing– teaching their kids to cast their lines with their toy fishing poles. Call it “pretend-fishing,” said Neyenhouse, father of Maggie, 5, and Dylan, 3. Bumstead, father of Zoë, 8, and Ava, 6, (the only kid I managed to get on the sketch) said he usually does the real fishing in Alaska but there are a lot of fishing opportunities in Seattle. He mentioned Golden Gardens and Salmon Bay as good fishing spots. The two stay-at-home dads said being here with their kids is as good as urban fishing gets.
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I always think of fishing as a sport that requires a lot of patience. You have to wait in the same spot until a fish bites the bait, don’t you? But then I saw how Jeff Zhou does it. The 21-year-old from Beacon Hill kept changing spots and casting his line multiple times. He tries to keep the bait moving so other fish think that it’s alive and get hooked. Zhou used to fish catfish and tilapia with his uncle in China before moving to the United States. He said he’s been coming to pier 86 for about six years, especially at night and during the squid season.
Coming up: Once a month, I explore Seattle-area communities following readers’ recommendations. Where should I go next? Send me your ideas via e-mail, Facebook or Twitter. Have a great weekend!

Comments | Topics: Elliott Bay

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