Updates have been slow lately, I apologize. I seem to be able to update and think about this whole thing a lot better when I am reading some sort of practical sailing book. I am currently into The Long Way by Bernard Moitessier, and while it is a fantastic read, it is more of a story and not an instruction book. It is working wonders on my imagination and desire to go sailing, but not teaching me much. One thing I have started to get into, however, is fishing! I had mentioned previously that while I am cruising I would like to be able to provide as much food for myself as possible by fishing and collecting. I have fished plenty of times throughout my life in lakes, rivers, the beach, and deep sea. But that was all with either my dad or some sort of instruction. I pretty much only had to bait the hook, cast or drop, and catch the fish. Never did I learn the subtleties of the equipment, what bait to use, and what I was trying to catch. So as a major skill I plan on using during the journey, its about time I learned more about it. My roommate and some other friends have been getting heavy into fishing for the past year so I had a good reference to start with.
As a coincidental primer to get myself into fishing, I had a trip planned to go up to see a friend in Connecticut to do some ice fishing. This was more of a "bucket list" thing just to say we did it, but I began to get really stoked on the idea and wanted to catch a big one. We made our way up to the north hill country of Connecticut early in the morning a couple of Saturdays ago and met up with our guide. Ended up at a place called Twin Lakes, one of which Merrill Streep supposedly owns all land around. Once we arrived we had to hike about a mile out onto the lake to the fishing spot. The weather was clear with a little breeze, a toasty 7 degrees.
Once we were out there our guide, Marty, showed us how to do the deed. First we drilled holes down into the ice in a line spaced apart by a about 10 yards.
After that we would take a depth sounding at each hole and drop the line in with some bait at the appropriate depth. The line is attached to a gizmo that pops a flag up when the line is pulled by the fish. So you set all of these traps and watch for flags to pop up then run across the ice to see what you caught.
We also put in some rods to hand fish. What we didn't notice when we were walking out there that there was about 4 inches of water between the snow and ice. This was from rains the previous week, and it made for very wet boots and socks. Some of the guys were wearing regular running shoes and cotton socks which nearly gave them all frost bite. 4/6 of us had to spend most of the day in the car, but I was able to stay out with my good hiking boots and wool socks. In the end we only caught one little brown trout and weren't allowed to keep it. While the fishing may have been disappointing, I am glad I was able to go and experience it all.
Marty cooking breakfast
This past weekend we went camping out on the beach to do some surf fishing. I picked up a 10 foot surf combo from Wally World. Everyone in there seemed to give me a bright smile and nod while I had the pole in my hand. All of the goodwill received there must have had something to do with how the rest of the weekend went. My pole was the only hot one of the group, first catching a small Whiting:
We cut up the fillets for cooking, and used the rest as bait. The meat was delicious and I was reminded how good fresh fish is. We next hooked a small blue fish on my pole and used it for bait as well.
It was pitch dark at this point and we could barely see our poles from the camp site. I was staring at them hard at one point and could not find my pole anywhere. I ran down to see it laying down and dragging a little bit. I picked it up and found that something was hooked and fighting hard. I yelled to the group that a fish was on and started to reel it in. No one ran down to come help so I yelled up again in a more urgent tone to let them know I was serious. They all thought I was just caught on a line or screwing it up somehow. I fought the thing for what seemed like a while, and my shoulder was burning by the time it got close to the shore. One of my buddies finally came down to see what was up right then the fish became visible in the water. Immediately we started jumping up and down screaming after we saw the hog that I was reeling in. All of the others ran down at the sound of that. Lo and behold, I pulled in a ~40 pound Red!!
According to my friends and everyone else we showed it to, it was a monster catch, something people work their whole lives to get. I felt lucky and unlucky at the same time. I caught a winner on my first go out, but will it all be downhill from here? Who knows, either way I am hooked (pun intended)! We had to release it because it was too big and too old to eat. I struggled to get the thing to swim again but eventually he was revived.
So there begins my journey as a fisherman. I can't wait to do more surf fishing while I am out at the beach. I am out there surfing enough, might as well start to catch dinner while I am doing it. I plan to learn how to spear fish, collect lobsters/crustations, and all other manners of harvesting food from the sea. Cant wait!