Tuesday, March 22, 2011

How to catch four fish at once!

As I was looking through my blog feed the other day I saw that another local blogger, Ian the Rambling Fisherman wrote a post about herring being caught off shore about an hour from where we live. We have never jigged for herring but it looked like fun and a great way to get some bait together for upcoming halibut adventures. We pieced together information from The Rambling Fisherman as well as some location tips from a guy Chris works with and we set out for Nanaimo. We picked up some herring jigs which I had never seen before. A leader with about ten small hooks spaced down the length of the line is all that was needed. The day was a typical Canadian West Coast day, overcast, drizzling with a mild wind. At the first location we tried there were a few commercial herring boats just a little way off shore but the fish were too far out for us to reach casting off the shore. We moved to a different location that consisted of some rocky ledges with a deep drop off and kelp beds. First cast in and Chris had a shiny little fellow on his line. I cast in and came up with two on my line. I was so excited to pull in these cute little fish, you would have thought I had a 20lb salmon on my line! For the next half hour almost every cast yielded us at least one herring. I quickly discovered that when I felt a tug if I reeled in very slowly I would get multiple bites on the line. The most I had on at once was five, here is a picture of me with a quadruple catch!
We caught a few dozen herring during the first half hour and then two things happened to cut out fishing short. First was a pair of humongous sea lions frolicking jut in front of our fishing grounds. They were giving us a fantastic synchronized swimming display that had us captivated but probably sent many of the herring skittering away. Next came along a couple of scuba divers scouting the location for a future diving class. After they swam directly through where we were fishing we did not catch another fish. The day was beginning the darken and we were soaking wet so we took our cooler of herring and headed for home. This was a strange and fun fishing adventure and I am looking forward to trying it again next season.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Foiled by mother nature

The plan for this weekend was to go prawning and test out the new gps and fish finder. Since we had to pull the boat out of the water to do some maintenance Chris has been suffering from withdrawal symptoms. Although he denies it, I am pretty sure I saw him whispering something to the motor yesterday and patting it reassuringly. As you can imagine we were all excited about launching today. Friday night the boys spent the evening doing maintenance on our prawn traps and prepping a couple of new ones we bought to replace the ones lost in a storm last month.

The process of preparing the rope for the traps is more complicated than I would have thought. Chris does some fancy braiding techniques that involve fire, knives and electrical tape. This method results in a much sturdier system and lessens the chance of our traps breaking loose. The next time he is doing this I will take a video so we can share this technique, but until then if anyone would like more information send us an email.

Even though we were excited and prepared for a day on the water, mother nature had different plans for us. The sun was shining but the wind was blowing so hard we could barely walk along the beach. My pup was getting blown all over the place but was enjoying every minute of it. Why is it that she freaks out if I blow in her face but the wind doesn't phase her?

We still had fish on the brain so we decided to head to the Puntledge Hatchery instead. This hatchery handles coho, chinook, pinks and chum. We have gone here many times in the fall to watch the big fish returning but had never come this time of year. It was so exciting to see the millions of tiny fry. For more information on the current hatchery holdings and the return numbers for 2010, follow this link to a local news report.

Coho Fry

Excited to see the Chum

Chinook Fry
Even though we were grounded to the shore it was still a fun day. The Prince will be taking the boat up to the north end of the Vancouver Island tomorrow and I know the two of them will be spending a lot of quality time together this week.

- Posted by Pink Waders from my iPhone

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Nostalgia and Anticipation

I am looking forward to my first time prawning with Chris this weekend and testing out our fancy new GPS and sounder (more on that later). I am also excited about the fishing threesome we have planned in two weeks, but the fishing part of my mind is elsewhere tonight. There is only three months until the Summer fishing season begins. I can't wait! Evenings spent in shorts and sandals in the river, long hot afternoons trolling on the boat, fresh Salmon BBQs with friends in the backyard... I am so ready! Here are a few pictures of the places we will be frequenting this summer.

Evening bite at Saratoga

Need more Gravol!

Getting crabby at Goose Spit

First fish I ever caught. Sockeye at Papermill Dam.

Brown's Bay

Sunset at Singing Sands

Port Alberni Rod and Gun Club
Can you spot the bear???

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Crab Cake Benedict a la Pink Waders

Sometimes you just want something rich and decadent. I had this dish at a local restaurant but the crab cakes was too dense, the sauce was under seasoned and the egg was over poached. I immediately wanted to recreate it and make it perfect! When Chris pulled six big Dungeness crabs out of his trap I knew exactly what I was going to do with them. We simply boiled the crab and pulled out all the meat. After giving into temptation and eating some during the process I ended up with a pound of meat for my cakes. This crab cake recipe is very simple, its all about the crab!
To make crab cakes:

1 lb crab meat
6 finely chopped green onions
2 tbsp mayonnaise
1 beaten egg
12 finely crushed Ritz crackers
1/2 tsp Old Bay seasoning
few dashes of Tabasco sauce
salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients, form patties and coat them in panko bread crumbs seasoned with salt.

Fry cakes in vegetable oil on both sides until golden brown.

Hollandaise Sauce (Helpwithcooking.com):

1 1/3 cup of butter
2 egg yolks
2 tbsp of cold water
1 tbsp of lemon juice
1 tsp of salt
pinch of cayenne pepper Method
Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a low heat.
Once the butter has melted, remove the pan from the heat and set aside.
Taking a spoon, skim off the foam from the surface of the melted butter and discard.
Transfer the rest of the butter to a warmed pouring jug and set aside.
Pour 2 inches of water into a saucepan and heat so that the water is gently simmering In a glass bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the water until frothy.
Place the bowl over the pan of simmering water and continue to whisk the egg yolks for several minutes until they have thickened.
Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to whisk the eggs for a further minute, in order for the eggs to cool down.
Place the bowl with the eggs back into the saucepan but remove the saucepan from the heat.
Very slowly, pour the melted butter into the egg yolk mixture, making sure that you continuously whisk the eggs whilst doing so.
Whisk in the remaining ingredients until they have thoroughly blended together and the sauce is as thick as you require.
Check the seasoning and then serve immediately or keep warm over a bowl of hot water for up to 30 minutes.

Add in a perfectly soft poached egg and you have a the most rich, sinfully delicious way I have ever eaten crab.