By Christine Cunningham, for the Redoubt Reporter
There’s a fine line when it comes to technology and the outdoors. When someone first told me about an electric reel for fishing, my first thought was a scoff. My mental scoffing makes a “sha” sound that was learned from either being a Generation X outdoors woman or watching “Wayne’s World” too many times (or both).
I would never use an electric fishing reel, I mentally postured. Real men, like me, want to exercise their manly strength. Even though I’m not a man and my strength is not too manly, besides. But it’s strength, gall darnit. As long as it’s possible for me to seriously injure my shoulders, I want to do so. Because it honors the fish. They want to die knowing someone seriously injured her shoulders to eat flakey white meat.
Then came the day I saw my first electric reel on a halibut trip. A friend pulled this already dinosaur-looking contraption out of the cabin along with a battery pack powerful enough to start a Bush plane. “Sha,” I thought. “He’s not a man like me.” For some reason, when I’m feeling manly, my shoulders come up and my chest puffs out. My voice deepens and I imagine that I sound like John Wayne when I say, “Well that’s some reel you got there, partner.”
Back in my day we rode horses and, well, I don’t know how John Wayne would have caught a halibut, but he would never use an electric reel. And if the Duke wouldn’t, than neither would I.
“It’s great,” my friend said. “You just push this button and it reels up the fish.”
“Hmm,” I said. Then I waited for someone else on the boat to ridicule the reel. Ridicule likes company. “Those are great,” my other friend said. “I want one.”