Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Fishing, slime, drama and culinary excess

This has been an incredibly bad year of fishing for me: After three guided trips for sturgeon, halibut and striper (can you say $$$?), I had nothing in the freezer to show for it. Ouch.

But Monday, the fourth time was the charm. Boyfriend and I went out on a charter boat on San Francisco Bay, and we did really well. Boyfriend caught his limit of three halibut, and I caught two that were legal, including the fatty shown here, which turned out to be the biggest catch on the boat.

Now, I would love to tell a good story about this trip, but in all honesty, fishing just doesn't have the same drama that hunting holds for me.

6:30 a.m. - I began devouring donut holes.
8 a.m. - My pants were covered in anchovy scales from wiping my hands after baiting my line.
11 a.m. - I declared Miller Time.
2 p.m. - Without any help at all, I noticed I had a fish on my line and began reeling it in quietly, generating much excitement on the boat.

OK, that last part was cool. But other than that, fishing is - for me - chilling out with the prospect of coming home with food for the freezer. So instead of my usual opus, I'll share with you my favorite highlights:

1. We really maximized our fishing dollars when our boat's captain, Jay, graciously agreed to let us bring home all the leftover bait anchovies. Boyfriend loves fresh anchovies, so now we have an enormous sack of them that we'll use for ... oh, I don't know, but you can probably read about it later on his blog.

2. Halibut are really, really slimy. This morning, when I looked at the spot on the lawn where I dumped out the ice-chest ice, there was a thick layer of slime left on the grass. OMG, so disgusting.

3. There's something wrong with our neighborhood cats. While our neighbors are off galavanting in Italy, one of their cats - Harlequin - has been hanging out in our yard a lot. I thought it would be nice to share a treat with her, so I offered the kitty her very own anchovy. She was so not interested!

4. Boyfriend and I are getting a reputation for culinary excess because of our insane devotion to maximizing what we bring home. Here's what one of my particularly sarcastic friends said after I emailed her about the halibut we brought home:

Ahh yes, the halibut-ear butter and seasoned eyeball caviar with halibut butt pucker calamari style soup and not to mention you will use the fish bones to render a seasoned clear fish broth to be frozen for future use and what is left of the skin will be sun-dried and preserved for a new sports bra for your SUV with duck stamps on it. Luv yah!!!

Sigh. It's so true.

But hey, we eat well!

Boyfriend and me with four of our five halibut

© Holly A. Heyser 2008


SimplyOutdoors said...

MMM....Halibut is so good.

Congrats on the catch, and I kind of agree with you about fishing versus hunting. I enjoy both, but fishing doesn't really have the same drama that goes with it.

Holly Heyser said...

I'm actually hoping next week will change that - I'm going fly fishing (first time ever) with my boss. It's religion to so many people that I'm thinking there must be something wonderful to it...

Tom Sorenson said...

I think you'll find fly fishing awesome. I haven't even done it, but filmed by brother on a recent float trip - and let me tell you, I thought it was the coolest fishing trip I'd been on, and I hadn't even put my line in the water! There is just something about reading the water and se the fish come up to grab the fly - I think you'll really like it. In the meantime, I know you're really gonna like eating on that halibut - but if you get tired of it, we'll take donations of halibut fillets up here!

Holly Heyser said...

I'm pretty sure there's going to be a LOT of ceviche at our next party. Boyfriend just informed me that we'll get 38 meals out of all that halibut!

Anonymous said...

Yum, looks like you have some good eating ahead of you.

As for fly fishing, my Dad fly fishes and loves it. He swears that anyone who tries it will be hooked.

Holly Heyser said...



Jesses Hunting And Outdoors said...

Only thing slmier than halibut is owl poop. Please don't ask me how I came to know this.

Don't forget, newbie flyfisherman chant. "10 to 2".

Have fun Holly.

Blessed said...

Can I come over for dinner?

Oh wait, I'm about a bazillion miles away from you... or might as well be :)

Have fun with the fly fishing - my husband enjoys it, I've never tried... he keeps muttering something about me not being coordinated enough. Oh well, maybe once he's comfortable with it himself he'll try to teach me. (he's just started fly fishing in the last couple of years and hasn't got to go very much)

Anonymous said...

When I would offer some of the fresh rockfish heads to my cat, he would walk away at first. Then I would tell him "yeah, dude, it really is for you." Or something like that. Only then would he come back around and start munching and tearing and making a good mess. He'd smell pretty rank for the next couple of days but he sure was a happy little booger-cat.


Langdon Cook said...

Great photo of cat and anchovy! Enjoy those tasty halibut fillets.

Holly Heyser said...

Well Jean, if I wouldn't be the victim of the smell for days, I'd try that. As it is, our garbage always seems to be full of smelly fish and game guts.

I'll never forget the time Boyfriend brought home some cottontails, stuck the guts in the garbage, and the garbage workers promptly went on strike for three weeks. It was September, I think - very, very hot. OMG, soooooo disgusting...

OK, yeah, good point, our yard stinks. I'll just leave the fish out next time ;-)

And thanks, Finspot - Boyfriend's been feeding me well for days.

Native said...

My Mema (maternal Grandmother) and her sister (Aunt Edna) were avid fisher women.
Big problem with livin' with Mema was that very nearly every single weekend of my childhood life was spent upon the salty / brackish waters in the state of Florida FISHIN'!!

Well, one sunny weekend we all piled up in the pickup truck (as I incessantly complained about it) and drove over to the coast to a place called,Haul Over Canal, which is near Cape Canaveral, to git' some fish fer dinner.

I had caught my limit and was playing around the nearby island which I had swam out to and decided to swim around to the other side and see what the grown ups were doing and why they were taking so long.

I hauled up upon the bank where last I had seen Aunt Edna and some other people fishing and no one was in sight, the beach was completely empty and devoid of people.
But, what I did see was about 8 really large 5-8 Lb. catfish laying out in the sun and all gasping for air.
My little 9 year old brain said to me: "Now why would someone just leave these perfectly good catfish laying out here to die a horrible death and not take them home to eat?

So I began picking them up one by one and promptly started throwing them back and into the water . After the next to the last catfish was in my little hands and about to be tossed back into the canal,my Aunt Edna came back from her pee break and with a horrified howl screamed: What in the "Hell" are you doing boy?!!

I guess that I indirectly got back at them for making me spend my Saturdays fishing!

Good fishing story Holly and I still do like eating them but, I prefer someone else to do the fishing.

Anonymous said...

$42 a box?? Time to learn how t hunt with a spear.