Saturday, July 31, 2010
Every day—or at least four days a week—these retired guys leave their trailer camps to chase halibut. One guy, Larry, from Bakersfield or someplace, heads out on Outlet and brings back monsters. The top three halibut in the July fishing derby are LarryLarryLarry at 60+ pounds, and we know that he gets lots more “little” ones—25-40 lbs.
Fine. But what do they DO with all this halibut? And how do they survive catching, schlepping, cleaning and processing these things?
I spent seven hours out on Toad yesterday—a great day. It wasn't all halibuttery: I got this one—43 lbs, for the record—by 11 a.m., and then spent three hours farting around looking for salmon (caught one nice 12-pounder and got it in the boat, but it was a silver, and had to put it back. Silver salmon don’t seem endangered—I’ve caught five this season, compared to three chinooks (not counting the nice one that the sealion sole from the boat the other day. $%^&^%$#!!!). The fine for keeping a silver is $1,000. It’s been a very rough salmon season).
So then you get your monster halibut back in the harbor, and gut&gill the fish and clean the slime out of the boat. And get the thing home and set up the cleaning table and filet it down to about 25-30 pounds of meat.
And then cut up the filets and vacuum-pack them. And bag the remains, hose down the deck (and yourself!) and get rid of the carcass.
Makes for a long day and a lot of lower-back strain. So how do Larry and his retiree buddies back at camp do it? And what the heck can they be doing with all that halibut? I’m giving it away to strangers on the street. (©Ted Pease 2010)