Bodega Bay King Salmon

There is something about fishing that seems to connect me with an older, simpler time. It reminds me of my grandparents and of ancient ancestors. Fishing, much like hunting has always had a primitive, yet pure aspect to it, that is hard to describe unless experienced. Unfortunately, some people seem to think the animal or fish they are eating was born in a shrink wrapped, Styrofoam container. They are not only missing out on the beauty of where their food comes from, but the magical experience of capturing it and the serenity that comes with that hands on process.

I have vague memories of fishing with my grandfathers (both avid fishers- one Norwegian and the other American Indian). Searching for the details of those trips normally leaves me frustrated and empty handed. Yet the few times a year I go fishing, it feels as though a spiritual tether reconnects us. Their appreciation for the simple things in life has always stayed with me. Whether it was the joy of a cold glass of water, black Folgers coffee on a grey morning or simply sitting in a boat with a rod and a cigarette, they managed to enjoy those moments. And now, thankfully, I feel that appreciation has been passed down to me. It’s as if a link to my forefathers is established every time I fish or hunt.

So, when presented with the opportunity to get a taste of our salty coastline and hopefully hit our limit of monster king salmon, I jumped. And so did the salmon… right into the boat. The boat was the New Sea Angler; a 65 feet vessel captained by a crusty character named Rick Powers. We arrived at the dock as dawn fought its way through the heavy coastal fog. The ship had seen better days, beaten down with battle scars and time and I began to wonder at what point they should be legally forced to remove the word New from the name. Thankfully, the friendly deckhands were in much better shape than the flotilla with poles.

As we motored through the morning with hardly a bite,  moral sank like the weights on our rods, and I realized the catch didn’t matter. Fishing isn’t a result. It is an experience. But as the day wore on, we began to fill the boat with what Captain Rick called “greasy, leather suitcases.” His voice was omnipresent over the loud speaker. Spirits lifted as did the clouds and the sea sick few who were chumming the seas with gut wrenching screams soon turned their focus to turning the reels instead. The day ended with two gorgeous, 25 pound salmon destined to please the palettes in a variety of ways. And to remind me how good a simple life can be.

Stay tuned for recipes on Smoked Salmon Chowder, Salmon Belly Sashimi, Cured and Smoked Salmon and more…

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