Thursday, August 30, 2007

a fish story....

I wanted to share my first rather successful fishing trip last weekend in the foothills of the Eastern Sierras with the Boy Scouts.DSC_0038it wasn't an uber-survivalist camping trip - the creek was just stocked last thursday and googling revealed that the powerbait I brought probably was the best choice for attracting the trout. still, for me it was an adventure.

I braved the weeds and mud and cold water to search out nice holes where I might find a large hungry rainbow. to catch a fish, think like a fish. and sure enough, I got one! he was just waiting for me to throw my line out it seemed. I was so excited and now that he was hooked, a whole new procedure began. I went and got a bucket to keep him alive in (later I find out a gill line would have been better). then the delicate process of removing the hook from the slippery guy commenced. I held him gently, his face next to mine as I figured how best to get that golden piercing out of his mouth. he looked at me with pleading eyes as if to say "please don't hurt me". with my hemostat I swiftly and confidently grabbed the hook down his throat, pushed it down so as to disengage, and quickly pulled it out. I released him into the bucket. we were both relieved I think. kinda like pulling out a splinter. he was still doomed, however. he swam around and poked his head up to look at me. it's an odd sensation to be looking at an animal and think "I'm going to kill you and eat you". so yes, there was a bit of empathy there. but not enough for me to let him go. I was determined to do the DSC_0034whole fishing experience. which of course includes the "cleaning" (which more realistically is called "gutting"). but before that, I went and did a little more fishing, now that I had gotten the hang of it (or the time and place were right - however you wish to define the destiny of your skills). sure enough, at a different secluded spot, I cast and quickly caught another trout - this one a little smaller, but still in the eatable range. since by this time my first fish was not doing too well (upside down but gills still moving), I figured it was time to face the music and commence with the butchering.

I read how to clean a fish on the Internet, but words don't always get the whole lesson across. it got bloody. two knives sticky with blood. not enough water to wash things with. gross guts to be ripped out by hand. someone challenged us to eat the beating heart. my knife had a hard time cutting off the head and tail. manly, animalistic grunts usually heard in the gym helped out with getting over that hurdle. and then the deed was done. the boys scaled the fishes (not really neccessary 'cause we weren't going to eat the skin anyway and I put them on ice. the last and biggest fish I "cleaned" was a female that another boy had caught.
DSC_0035we knew it was female because of the little orange eggs pulled out of her.

man (and nature for that matter) can seem pretty cruel. but it is what it is and its good to occasionally face the reality of life and death. others die that we may live; something we distance ourselves from when we buy plastic wrapped packages of meat or drive-thru filet-o-fish sandwiches. last weekend we ate what we caught... and that wild fish became a part of me and my spirit.

how to clean and fillet fish


Titania Starlight said...

That was a great post. I use to go fishing with my father when I was a little girl. Then I became a vegetarian. :o)~

Thank you for stopping by my blog and for the link you left. Much appreciated.

Titania Starlight said...

I forgot to add that I checked out your soundtracks. Awesome!!!!

Andy Bailey said...

wow, what a graphic ordeal fishing is!! and here's me thinking that it was relaxing but I suppose it's only relaxing when you're not fishing ie. sitting next to a river all day with a rod :-)

cooper said...

I actually eat a lot of fish, it is the only meat I eat and I have killed them. For that I feel rather bad. I have only filleted them once myself and that wasn't pretty. I like to have other do that for me.

That was a nice post about what sounded like an great time.

Nice music.

tomawesome said...

thank you all. praise feels good from worthy individuals such as yourselves. I'm usually in my own little ipod world :)
titania the vegetarian and
cooper the piscivore: you have less guilt to deal with than I, but we are all consumers somewhere on the food chain spectrum. awareness preceeds change, right?

yes, it was a great time. like most things, a lot depends on your attitude and what you make of it. here's to adventures ahead!

Anonymous said...