Thursday, September 5, 2013

Salmon Fishing

   A good bee friend took me salmon fishing yesterday in the Sound near Mukilteo.  Dave has a nice little 15 foot boat which is a good size for fishing. I caught two pinks, he caught four, and his daughter was skunked. Since his freezer was full I ended up with six fish to process.  The weather was absolutely lovely. I couldn't help but think how very grateful I am to live in such a beautiful part of the country. Between the Cascade Mountains and the Puget Sound we are surrounded by scenic beauty. I really have no desire to live outside of the Pacific Northwest.

Dave and his daughter, Anna
    The fishing trip was punctuated by two rather strange events.  First of all, while motoring towards Mukilteo, Dave crossed a really big wake which almost resulted in me being thrown out of the boat. The front end of the boat went up pretty high and slammed down very hard several times. It was all I could do to hang on to the railing. I lost my seat and fell to the floor of the boat landing on my knees. I ended up with some loss of dignity and two very sore knees but nothing was broken. I was just grateful they didn't have to fish me out of the water.  I was wearing my life jacket as I always do in small boats

    Several hours later as I was fishing I felt a sharp pain in the back of my neck. I swatted at it and knocked a honey bee into the water. There was absolutely no doubt that it was a honeybee as we all could see it floating in the water.  At this point we were fishing about a half mile from shore.  It's not that a bee sting is a big deal for me. I was just amazed that some bee would travel a half mile from shore to sting me in the back of the neck while I was minding my own business fishing. Considering the rough ride out to our fishing spot it seemed very unlikely that I had brought the bee with me.

The sun setting over Jetty Island

     As we headed back to the Everett boat launch we were treated to a beautiful sunset.  I took some photos but my iPhone isn't really capable of capturing the majesty of a gorgeous sunset. The sunset actually improved on the drive home. I would say the end of a perfect day, but I still had the fish to take care of when I got home.

The sunset improved as we drove home

     When I got home, I cut the salmon into filets, put three of them into the freezer and three into the fridge to brine. I'll put them into the smoker before I leave for work tomorrow. I'm going to experiment with some different brine recipes this year. This time I tried a simple brown sugar and salt brine with some garlic powder added. The ratio was 4 cups of brown sugar to one cup of pickling salt. Then I added a tablespoon of garlic powder. That made enough for me to brine three fish. My smoker is rather small so I'm actually not sure I will be able to fit all of them into the smoker in one batch.  I want to try a honey and salt brine for my next batch and I would also like to try a low salt or no salt version for my salt sensitive son-in-law. The salt and sugar both serve to remove moisture from the fish.  Less salt but more sugar may give the same result as far as pulling the moisture from the fish. I have a very good supply of honey this year. I may just try covering filets in honey in place of a brine recipe.

    Only two of the fish were females so I only have four egg skeins to turn into caviar.  My son-in-law is out of luck on the caviar. Since by definition caviar is just salted fish eggs, there is no way to make caviar without salt.  Salt free salmon caviar would just be raw salmon eggs. I suppose I could cure them in diluted honey but that would be sugar cured salmon eggs and not caviar.


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