Friday, July 3, 2009

MY BIG CATCH


Reading about Rick Hart's fishing experience
reminded me of my own summer fishing adventure
It was the summer of 2002 (i think)
and I was invited by some of the nicest men in Sitka
to join them for subsistence halibut fishing ...
Glenn Wilber, Jim Womack and Glen Strickland
3 true fishermen!
It took me 3 full days to get my sea legs
On the way out I helped bait the hooks
(salmon heads & tails)
and chewed peppermint gum like crazy
to try to combat the sea-sickness
It was a cold summer
and stormy
We got to the location
(I think every fisherman has his own secret places)
... but with my sense of direction, all location secrets are safe with me ...
Then dropped the line, hooking these gargantuan hooks to the line as we dropped it.
That was the easy day :)
A couple or a few days later we headed back to the location
to bring the line up with HOPEFULLY a lot of halibut.
My job was to take the uneaten bait off the hooks
and pile the hooks in an organized manner
... sounds easy, but these guys move so fast that it's quite the job! ...
The excitement came as we'd pull up halibut - and sometimes other fish -
... sometimes my job would change & I'd get to be the one coiling the line
the line was hooked to a hydrolic thingy, but it still took a lot of muscle
from the grizzled fishermen
When we were all done pulling it up, the process would start all over again
bait the hooks, and drop the line ... come back a few days later and harvest
Each harvest that summer boasted some amount of success
By the end of a few trips, I felt rather grizzled myself!

We stocked our freezer and canned a bunch more - it was a great summer!
The biggest fish we caught weighed about 300 lbs
i think it took 2 or 3 bullets before the guys could even pull it into the boat
then they tied it (like others) mouth to tail to keep it from flopping around

later in the summer, after proving myself with the bait (hehehe - not much to prove there!)
I was handed a fillet knife on the way back
I straddled the gigantic halibut (probably 100+ lbs) that had already been
bled and put into the tank, then pulled out to be filleted
and followed the instructions, inserting the knife then cutting down the center
Almost immediately the tail flipped up and nearly slapped me in the rear!
I jumped, screamed and threw the knife
accusingly I yelled at these men:
"I thought you said it was dead!"
I don't know who caught the knife, but they were all so busy laughing that I finally saw the humor in it.
Because of their persistent coaxing I finished the task, cutting away some pretty fine, very THICK fillets.
It was another trip that summer with these guys
when a HUGE octopus came up on the line and suctioned on to the side of the boat
it took a lot of strong men with gaff hooks
and even another boat's crew
to pull that stubborn octopus off the side of the boat
Our share made for some delicious
that night,
but I'll never catch and keep an octopus again
it was too sad
all-in-all these guys provided for me some good practical experience,
a lot of tasty, healthy fish,
and some pretty important life lessons

3 comments:

Trevor, Caci, and Jace said...

WOW!!!! You are so hardcore!!!!! It is so cool to know the story behind that picture that I always gawk at-- amazing!

Steven & Brooke said...

MOM! I LOVE YOUR NEW BACKGROUND! it is sooo cute! and perfect for the family. holy cow. you are so classy. and i love that story, it is hilarious.

Grandma Chapman said...

Wish we had that big halibut wrapped up and in our freezer; what a catch.

Miss ya'll

Love

G & G Chapman