Four Fishing Scenes

Beşiktaş, İstanbul
In the mornings, you can see thickets of small fishing boats bobbing in the water just off the point south of Kuruçeşme. There must be a run of something, my uncle says, maybe bluefish. In the slanted morning light of late fall here, the boats look almost like darkening age spots upon the paler arm of the Bosphorus.

One of the most tempting photographs in Istanbul is to shoot from the Galata Bridge looking toward Süleymaniye Camii on the ridge of the old city. If you position yourself just right, you can capture the men fishing from the bridge, the silhouette of their fishing rods at an angle against the bridge, trailing thin lines into the water below.

İstavrit and hamsi, a waiter in one restaurant tells me, when I ask what the men fish for. Mackerel and anchovy.

The other day, I was taking the ferry to Eyüp. Through the window, I watched a man fishing from the edge of the dismantled bridge left beside Sütlüce. He stood some twenty or thirty feet above the water, and when he began to draw a hooked fish from the water, I could watch it wrench and gasp as it was drawn up. There was something sad about the whole experience, to see this fish as thick as a man's arm twist in the air (a kite on the breeze), but something oddly beautiful about it as well.


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