One evening, as the sun is falling, it makes sense to stroll down to the water’s edge, follow a concrete pier that juts into the water like the end of a fishing pole left discarded by a disgruntled fisherman.

The pier is edged with giant stones and this is where fishermen and fisherwomen stand and cast out bait to try their luck.

There is a slight wind, the sky is clear, and the water of the Rio de la Plata is light brown. You  cast as far as your heavy weight, heavy line, a twelve foot pole and open faced reel will let you go. There are cars parked with open trunks as men unload tackle boxes, plastic bags of bait shrimp, coolers with beer and soft drinks.  At the very tip of the pier, young men crawl over rocks to cast out where it is deepest. The water is deep here and, not far away, cargo ships come into port to unload containers full of a cities needs.

Walking the course way, one sees poles bend and fishermen keep lines taut as they turn their reels, shorten line, and beach their pescado. When the hooked fish gets close to the rocks, it is lifted into the air and swung, like cargo , further up onto the rocks where it is pinned with work boots and then put on a stringer or into a plastic bag, or cut up for bait. The fish are mostly light skinned catfish. They have two long whiskers, broad mouths, and the soft looking white belly of bottom feeders.

Several of us strollers go all the way to the pier’s end and sit, feel the wind and watch the sun drop.

Colors appear on the city that make it seem less harsh. After a half hour, it is time to head home and leave anglers to their mission. They won’t be out long. They either catch their fill and pack up early, or get bored and go home.

Fishing is where rubber tires meet the road, where hopes and dreams meet hooks and sinkers.

 

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