This is both the best and worst sequence of pictures I have ever seen, but hopefully you’ll get as good a laugh out of it as I did. In fact, it represents a very proud (though not solemn!) moment in my life:
My first salmon catch!
After work today, I biked out to the Snake River with my coworkers to do some salmon fishing. Word around town was that they were jumping today. Sure enough, the few fishermen along the banks were catching salmon every few minutes.
We only have two rods, so we were all taking turns. Eventually I decided to give it a shot, and within about 5 minutes, I felt the telltale tug on my line. Everyone got excited and started shouting advice to me: “Keep your rod up!” “Easy, play it, play it!” “Go slow!”
It was a small female but I was ecstatic nonetheless. I pulled it in but it slipped off the hook before I was ready to slit its gills. That’s when the ridiculous and slightly embarrassing photo sequence happened.
I pinned it down on the rocks after it slipped out of my hands though, and one of my coworkers quickly slit its gills so I could bleed it out in the water. Although I’ve never done any of this myself before, I’ve been watching closely for the past few weeks and sort of have an idea of the way it works.
After that I took the fillet knife and with some guidance I slit open the stomach and cleanly gutted it into the water; I felt a little bad — she was chock-full of eggs! We used some of them for bait, but it didn’t really work. After removing the head, I rinsed it in the icy cold river and bagged it up. We fished a little longer, and then came back to fillet them.
None of us are really good at filleting yet, but I watched someone do it first before I tried my hand at it. Once again, I surprised myself as my fillets came out better than I expected. They’re not stellar by any means, but I got almost all the meat and as few bones as I could manage without making it raggedy or too thin. Tomorrow we’ll grill them up with some veggies.
It’s hard to get motivated after work sometimes, but the opportunities to learn and try new things here are endless. Plus, it’s afternoons like these that really make life here so worth it.