Monday, November 16, 2009

Death with Dignity

Recently when I stop at the gas station in Deltaville for gas and beer, the cashier always asks if I need some ice. I assumed that she thought I'd want ice to keep the beer cold. This time of year that would be completely unnecessary.

I've caught a lot of fish this fall. The rockfish have been heavy down here. This time out, I put the line in the water and caught one before I'd even left the anchorage. I thought about throwing it back. I'd heard fisherman on the radio the day before bragging about the 30+ inch fish they'd caught, and I wanted to bring home a big one.

It was a good thing I kept the fish. I didn't get another hit the rest of the trip. There were no gaggles of birds feasting on bait fish this time. That's a tell tale sign of big rockfish feeding. And the dolphins have left the bay too. I think rockfish trophy season may soon end.

I've caught a fair number of fish in my life. I pond fished as a kid, bringing in blue gills and an occasional bass. I've caught a number of blue fish since sailing on Split Decision. And some spanish mackerel, croakers, and jacks.

My gutting and filleting skills have improved, but I'm still squeamish about the killing. That's where the ice comes in. That's how most fisherman around here kill their fish. Hypothermia. Another way to go about it is to pour some hard liquor over its gills. I've read on the internet that works, but haven't tried it. My technique recently has been to stick a screw driver through its head, which is bloody and very unpleasant for both the fish and me. But it's probably a vast improvement for the fish over my old technique of just letting it bash around in the cockpit until it expired.

But next time I'll buy the ice.


Amy said...

This is a good reminder for me to find some more good fish recipes!

richard said...

In Virginia they allow the person to be executed to choose the method. Did you ask the fish?

Split Decision said...

Very funny richard. But in all seriousness, I am trying to find the most humane way to dispatch the poor critter.

Rockfish Top Chef challenge is likely ending for the season. I like my whole fish presentation, but Amy's fried fish fillets with orange and onion chutney was delicious this week.