Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This-un's a keeper!

(That's a Toscani stogie stuck between my teeth.)

My fishing buddy and I hit the Salmon River Monday morning. It wasn't our originally planned destination as the Chum salmon were running on the Miami River, and they make for a fun catch-and-release workout. Nor was the Salmon River our second choice, but that place is a more closely guarded secret, so no mention of it will you find here.  We chose the Salmon perhaps because it was the closest, and it has facilities at the nearby hatchery, a necessary stop en route to other areas as the morning coffee works its magic.

This time of year the hatchery is doing its fish count, collecting mature fish as they come up a fish ladder, recording the fish, and then sending them on their way upstream via a large tube into the water above the wier. It is in these waters one typically finds a bunch of guys eager to hook into the congregated school. The busiest time for this nuts-to-butts style of combat fishing is in October. By November, the craze has generally passed, and Monday found only three of us in the water: buddy Steve, me and George. 

I fished for about ten minutes before I hooked this beautiful male, and landed him about fifteen minutes later with the help of George's net. Shortly thereafter, and after I suggested he go to a silver spinner, George caught his first fish. Steve and I left, while George decided to stick around. 

What?! leave when the fish are obviously hitting? Well, that's pretty much my fault as I didn't have my current fishing license on me. I thought I did, but no, and 2009 has passed. Steve had his, though, and we tagged the fish on his. Then there was some contradictory signage about a day's limit (different than the published regs), and being so close to a state fish facility, we decided to error on the side of caution. And always thinking, Steve snapped this picture next to his fly gear and then remarked, "In two days I'll have convinced myself and everyone else that I caught this fish."

Although my fish is a bit smaller than the one on the right, experienced anglers will know that of the two, mine is the real prize. Fish as chromed as mine are the exception, younger than the other male colored up and ready for spawning. The one on the right is George's fish. It was his first-ever salmon, and as much as Steve, a chef, tried to convince him that it would not make a good meal, even smoked, George was adamant. Both Steve and I knew what that first fish meant, and since for both of us our first fish were also beat to shit, we dropped the matter.

The two salmon steaks on the grill last night were delicious. Today I smoked a whole side fillet and we still have two meals worth of fish. Fish, o mighty Chinook! thank you.


TenMile said...

I'm not surprised at the lack of comments over this. I probably wouldn't myself, except I'm curious about what you beat him with to irritate him enough to make him bite.

Memphis MOJO said...

Beautiful fish -- thanks for the pics.

Crash said...

You sure look happy. I could make some jokes here, but will hold off!

bastinptc said...

TM - For Chinook I use a silver spinner (Blue Fox) and change the size according to water and temp.

Crash - No fish jokes lest I relieve you of some cash come March. ;-)

And Mojo, I'll drop you a line as I have some questions for you.

Wolynski said...

Yummy, organic and free. Congratulations.

lightning36 said...

Wow -- great catch! There is nothing like that feeling of getting a nice sized fish on the line.