A great fish tale, long ago

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 8, 2013

In 1933, Detroit was a real tough city, suffering with about 30 percent unemployment, and many people were with no electricity, gas or coal. There was not any money to pay for those important items of life.
My brother, Ed Farrah, who was 10 years older than me, was a great fisherman who would often walk over to the Detroit River, just a mile from our nice eastside home on Sheridan Street. The neighborhood was a mix of Italians, Germans and Poles and was just two blocks from East Grand Boulevard, which circled the city and became West Grand on the other side of Detroit. There was a lovely median with flowering bushes and trees on this beautiful “grand” boulevard of Detroit.

Ed was 6 feet tall and a grand guy who would go fishing every day and come home with a great bucket of perch, northern pike and blue gill. We were able to have a great fish dinner three or four times a week.
I was just 9 years old and he invited me to go fishing over to Belle Island. It was a beautiful island park, a short walk of about an hour. It was in the middle of the Detroit River separating the United States and Canada and was maintained by the city of Detroit. It offered a fine bathing beach and trails through beautiful woods where horses were available.
There was a winter ice skating pavilion and a casino-type building which offered light meals and refreshments. The many ponds, lagoons and streams there were just full of fish. On Belle Isle there was an aquarium and a beautiful conservatory filled with flowers, trees and plants.
The island was 7 miles long and 1½ miles wide from east to west. We all had a great time on Belle Isle. There were tennis courts that were lighted at nightfall and many ballfields and recreation facilities.

This beautiful day that I will never forget was gorgeous, with a nice breeze, 80 degrees and a bright sun to liven everything up. Ed and I walked to his favorite lagoon, and it was loaded with fish. We were fishing for about an hour, and I had caught several beautiful perch and some blue gill. Ed said sometimes there were sturgeon and pike in the lagoon.
As the day went on, Ed was on the east side of the lagoon and I was on the west side. I was having a great time catching fish, keeping the legal ones and throwing the others back to be caught later.
Suddenly, I had a great bite, and the fish pulled so hard that I tied my fishing pole around a tree and ran over to get Ed, screaming loudly, ”I’ve got a monster, HELP me.” He dropped his pole and ran back with me, finding to our surprise that the pole and tree were gone into the river!
Now, that was some fish I almost caught!

Victor S. Farrah lives in Salisbury.