Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Salmon Ass

It was a marathon weekend and that was the way I approached it. I broke down each set of hours in front of me and decided on enjoying and completing those hours. Take bites not gulps and it will all get done with a smile, yet also maintain the tenacity of a cockroach.

We were up at 5 am on Saturday in Seward and found ourselves waiting for the Halibut charter at 6 am. The shuttle wasn't on time so we found ourselves waiting around and expecting the shuttle to arrive any minute, only to watch it finally pull up at 7 am. Standing next to the building where the breakfast buffet wafted outside made this really tough. If you know you have that time buffer, you'd jump on the buffet. Eh. We were on the boat around 7:15 and the diesel engine was roaring away by 7:20 -- 3 hours out to Montague Island.

After the first hour we poked out beyond Resurrection Bay and hit some nasty seas. The boat bounced up and down and waves crashed over the rear deck. It was nasty and I was glad I had taken Dramamine. The cabin had heat and was soon cooking at 70+ degrees, which really will start your stomach in the wrong direction. I walked out onto the deck and sat down, soon finding myself wet, yet cool and calm. Being wet is better than being sick. I understand that the other boat that left before us had almost all of their passengers puking inside the cabin, so since our boat only ended up with a few wet and tired people, we won that one. Also, our boat limited out on Halibut much quicker. Becky caught the bigger fish and I snagged a small rockfish.

Our fish was filleted and packaged by 6 pm and we were off for Anchorage. By 9pm we were scrubbed down and relaxing. However, I was preparing for round 2, which began at 3 am on Sunday. Becky wisely slept in, but I was up and waiting for my 3:30 am pickup.

Off we were for the Kasilof River, where we ended up in the water at 7:15. Our boat had a goal of 145 red salmon on Sunday and come 4 pm we hit it. It's a slog of blood, slime, and brutality. And so worth it. I occupied the rear of the boat and used a flat surface near the motor to cut the gills on each sockeye before dumping them in the coolers (can't have the blood spoiling the meat). Within a few hours there was a growing pile of coagulating, darkening, and slippery blood. It's the price of filling the freezer. Around 2 pm I slipped on the floor and sat perfectly in the blood with some authority, giving me a wet salmon blood ass. There is no way to describe it another way. So I sat on a tarp for the 3 hour ride home and dumped a stain stick all over those beasts when I got home.

After about 7 hours of filleting, sealing, and cleaning 105 salmon on Monday my freezer is full, the pants are clean, and there is no shortage of fish awaiting our next visitor from the lower 48.

No comments: