Yes. That there is a picture of me on Friday afternoon, holding up 25 pounds of Chinook salmon on the dock at the Lions Gate Marina. That is 25 pounds of salmon that *I landed* on my friend Greg’s boat – and that is the first ever salmon for me.
Truth is, I’ve barely fished at all in my life (despite the fact I work in a fisheries field). I’ve only ever caught small trout (and one rockfish), and nothing larger than two pounds. So this was a bit of a revelation for me. Here are the things I learned on Friday:
Landing a large fish is hard work! There was a point in the process where I thought that I couldn’t hold on or reel the fish in for one more second – but then what was I going to do? I kept going – and boy, were my arms still sore the next day.
A large fish is really a two or three person process – there is just no way I could have fought the fish on the line and netted it at the same time. Greg was handling the net while our other compatriot Devona was steering the boat – I just don’t know what you would do out there alone.
There is a lot of blood. Yes, I know that animals bleed when they die – but there was just a lot more blood than I thought there would be – all over the boat, my pants, and my boots (yay waterproof gear!)
Catching a fish means processing it right away. It’s great to catch a big fish – but it’s also taking an animal life! In my books, it is pretty much a sin to waste any part of a living creature – which means immediate processing. In this case we dressed the fish on the dock, and I put it in the fridge overnight. The next day, Brian filleted it (video below) and we froze two large portions for later eating (keeping a third out for dinner tonight), started brining one side for smoking yesterday, and turned the spoon meat into fish cakes. All that to say – getting one or two fish at a time is great, but more than that would be a lot of work to process alone.
I am totally not afraid to be out in the water on a speeding boat – as long as I have something to hold onto. Also, Boston Whalers are really nice and stable – much more than I would have imagined.
And finally, I’m hooked (no pun intended). I can see what makes fishing so addictive – and I’m ready for more! Maybe not this year, but I am definitely going to look into local charters next year that Brian and I can do together.