Thursday, November 18, 2010

We Interrupt This Dogs On Thursday...

We interrupt this Dogs On Thursday post for a fish story! Please forgive me, but Dogs on Thursday always makes me think of my aunts and this story is to brag for them.

Some people question me when I say I've been a vegetarian for 10+ years, but I eat fish. "That's not a vegetarian," I get or sometimes people will start throwing out all the different terms for depending on what you eat. People don't understand I would have starved if I did not continue to eat seafood. It was nutty enough in my mom's mind that I wasn't eating "meat" let alone if I had cut out seafood. Seafood was not just a good past time of getting friends/neighbors together to crack open crabs or steam up pots of clams ... it was a way of life for my mom growing up. She and my aunt literally caught dinner some nights. So, seafood was included in a lot of the meals my mom made growing up.

Anyway, I digress. My aunt invited me out fishing this past Sunday and, at first, I did object. It was going to be her last boat trip out though (and, again, keep in mind how much this side of my family loves the water), so she was really disappointed when I said no and made one last attempt saying I could get some good photos. I gave in and went out. There's worse ways to spend one last beautiful day, right? Sunny, not too windy, 65F out or so ... you don't get too many days like that in November and usually my aunt likes to drag me out when it's cold/cloudy, rains off and on and the water is so choppy sea life (like rays) are coming to the surface of the water (this is not an exaggeration, it's a true example of a day she took me out!), so I went... and I did get some gorgeous photos! There were birds in the reeds as we were going out into the bay including this beautiful Great Blue Heron which let us get pretty close for some good photos. Some are definitely worthy of maybe even selling, I think.

Anyway, after hours of driving down there, heading out into the bay, casting the lines out, putting on fresh bait (those things my aunt actually does for us) and waiting ... my mom got a nip! She said, "Oh, here we go" ... and then the fish was gone along with her bait no less, darn it! I had a line my aunt had baited with some blood worms and had reeled it in a couple times after it felt like something was messing with it. I reeled it in yet again to find this little perch. My aunt barely had time to brag about how she'd never heard of a perch being caught in the bay before when my mom said, "Sally, the line!" The other pole I had out by me obviously had something on it...

My aunt made me grab the pole, my mom grabbed all my stuff off my lap (my purse, my camera, my cell, etc). As I'm reeling and this fish is just running, the water breaks like you see in swordfish fishing and I just saw a huge splash - my mom and aunt saw the fish though and started freaking out! It went under the boat, to one side, to another and just as I was sure it was close enough to net/me to actually see under the water, it'd pull the line out again. It was a tough fight, I thought I was going over the side of the boat and into the water with this fish several times. The boat hundreds of yards away, stopped everything, came to the front of their boat and just watched! Let's just say, it's getting harder and harder for me to brush off my aunt when she's complimenting up a storm about me and fishing now.

After fighting for 25 minutes and a lot of cursing, this thing got in the boat thanks to my aunt's giant net which you could probably fit a small child in ... thank goodness because that's about how big this fish is! A 45 - 46 inch striped bass! It didn't even fit in the cooler!!! When we got in to dock, the entire place started talking about our fish. One man even pulled his truck up to ours and said, "You go out alone?" Ugh, yes sir, these three women just caught the biggest fish of the lady, thank you! Also, I'd like to say the cursing was entirely necessary, it took a day, but I have discovered several bruises on my thighs and a cut from the pressure of holding on to that pole.

My aunt said after cleaning it, that she got two 30 inch fillets out of the thing! My mom said she cut it and froze 11 large dinner portions out of it!! Ok, yes, I'm all about releasing (it's what I did with the perch) but this fish was as exhausted as I was, if not more. If I had released him, he would have just died. Wait... Dear Aunt Dianne, this fish recovered well in the cooler like you suggested and is living the good life in our fresh water lake out front. :)

Here's me, my proud aunt and the fish its self (because you gotta see it to believe it)...

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