I’ve been bombing my local beach fairly regularly this summer, with the usual mixed results, and a thought recently flashed through my mind.
I could sure as hell use a pier to cast further out there.
“Further out there,” in this particular case, was approximately where the two guys in the canopied sled had just pulled a salmon out of the drink in front of me during blustery, misty weather this past Sunday morning.
Even with a big 3XH-size Buzz Bomb lashed on my line, I wasn’t coming anywhere close.
A FISHING PIER IN SEATTLE NORTH OF THE BIG WHEEL HAS BEEN CLOSED DUE TO “PUBLIC SAFETY CONCERNS.”
Salmon anglers around a few points to the south of me recently found themselves in the same proverbial boat after they lost access to their pier.
Pier 86, on the northeast side of Elliott Bay by the big grain terminal, was locked up earlier this month.
No, it wasn’t the annual temporary closure for Hempfest.
This time it’s for “public safety concerns.”
Insert eye-roll emoji here.
As an angler, public safety concerns just go with the territory of fishing — loose rocks, muddy banks, mad cows, crazed dogs, rusty hooks, rusty hooks through various portions of the anatomy, etc., etc., etc.
But in this case it’s a public pier, one that had been jointly managed by the Port of Seattle and the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife until 2009.
Undoubtedly some back-office hack somewhere has been fretting over insurance rates and liabilities, etc., just knowing that while an angler would waltz out on a creaking, dilapidated pile of debris to take a cast, probably fall in, crawl out to take another cast and consider it all just the cost of doing business, per se, a fresh-off-the-boat tourist who stubbed their toe at the entrance would sue for a trillion.
“Safety hazards associated with the pier’s structure and utilities prompted its indefinite closure,” says a note from the Port of Seattle.
It’s affecting business at a B&T right there.
“I’m losing money here,” Ronn Kess of Fish on Bait and Tackle Shop told KOMO last week. “The fishermen can’t fish. I can’t sell bait, hooks and lures.”
In a radio interview with John Kruse of Northwestern Outdoors Radio to be broadcast on KRKO 1380 AM this Saturday between 8 and 9 a.m., WDFW Regional Manager Russell Link pointed to frequently vandalized lights and tagged equipment.
He said a “condition summary” from a few years ago pegged the cost at $435,000 to bring the facility up to snuff.
However, an Aug. 10 press release from the agency that mentions “cracked piers” lists the repairs at $2 million to $5 million.
Link says that both parties have agreed to look for funding for those repairs.
It’s a shame that public access to a salmon fishing spot was closed as the fish arrived (the port and WDFW point to Pier 69, down by the Olympic Sculpture Park, as an option).
And it’s even more of a shame in a year where we see the absolute A-1 prime beaches along Admiralty Inlet closed as of Sept. 5.
I sincerely hope money is found for the fixes. I notice that the Capital Budget still hasn’t been passed. I know there’s a process. I like fishing access.