Friday, March 8, 2013

Ling Fishing

Here is the beast.  I know it looks like something out of a movie, but it was good!  
Really easy to fillet too. 

It's me again, Eli with another story to tell you from the backwoods of Montana.  Since arriving in Montana I have had the Privilege  of fishing! A lot!  It has been great fun and a stress reliever from work and a good social activity as I usually go with two other grad students: Alex, from Montana and Gill, from Malaysia.  Well since I am about to leave this wonderful state and since we are all tired of eating trout, we decided to try something else.  Someone told Alex about a fresh water cod that can be found in local reservoirs called Ling or burbot.  We were told (by our computers) that they are active at night and that is the best time to catch them.  well our computers lied to us!  We tried two weeks in a row and caught jack squat!  Needless to say I don't know if I can ever trust Google or Wikipedia every again, my faith has been shaken.  Since our ling fishing experience didn't go as we would have hoped and, since my fishing license was about to expire in a couple of weeks and I’m not going to get a new one, we decided (Alex, Gill, and I) that we had better give it one last try. We went early in the morning this time, leaving Alex’s place at 6 in the morning, cause we all know that leaving on little sleep makes fishing a better experience:).  We got to Canyon Ferry and set up and were fishing by around 8 (ice fishing by the way). I set up my rod with a jig and shrimp and  sat down in a lawn chair just jigging my line up and down in the water. It was a little cold as the wind started picking up across the reservoir so I busted out my beard that I crocheted myself. Man, if you could have seen the looks on those guys faces when they saw that spectacle of home spun wonder sitting on my face. I thought Alex would never stop laughing! He kept saying that if he did nothing else that day, looking at my beard would be worth it. I told them they were just jealous and that it would bring me luck. Well…… did! After about twenty minutes of jigging I felt a strange tug on my line. Now looking back in retrospect I realize many things that I did wrong, the first of which was not doing anything, even reeling in (like it’s really that important). After I felt the tug, I froze and my mouth gaped open like one of those monkeys that grab the quarter in the box but can’t get his hand out so he doesn't move. I just sat there while my brain was flashing signals across my eyes that said “unrecognized function…reactionary error detected…shutting down…any unsaved data will be lost.” I couldn't believe it. Now you must realize that this was the third week that we had been trying to catch a ling and I hadn't had so much as a nibble from any kind of fish in that entire time so the sudden bite was too much for my poor little graduate student mind to comprehend. By this time Alex and Gill were both watching me trying to figure out what was going one. Finally my brain rebooted and with strong resolve and fortitude I dictated the situation to the others with a flow of verbal competence that only a true professional can illustrate, I said “Uhhhh…..guys…….I think ……I …….have………………………a fish.” This statement of obvious fact was quickly followed with impeccable timing and a movement on my part that rivals only the movements of the continents in terms of speed. I sat and stared at the reel. I looked at the reel with about as much understanding as to its purpose as a hippy looking at a bar of soap. By the time I started to actually reel in the line, it was too late and the fish was long gone. I’m sure he looks at the experience as one going to a sit down restaurant would; after his main dish was finished (it was shrimp I was using) he was probably debating as to what he should order for desert when he felt the tug on the line, he then casually paid his tab, adding a generous tip (my fish are no cheap scates), grabbed his coat and a tooth pick for good measure and left. After the ordeal and the much laughing between my comrades and myself, I re-baited the jig and began again. 
After another twenty minutes or so, I felt another tug. This time I was ready for him and was determined not to repeat the last occurrence and knew that he was not going to get away. And because of my discipline and quick thinking I’m glad to say that he was a little closer to the ice before he got away! Yeah it happened twice! My friends had not had so much as a bite not to mention the many other ice fishermen that were there that day, and I had two and both got away. We were depressed and excited all at the same time. So once again, I re-baited my hook and started to jig. Like clockwork after about twenty minutes I had another bite, now all of us were ready for this and before I could shout my signature “I’ve got a fish” yell that goes something like this “Yeah baby!!” (I know it’s silly and totally unintentional but it just happens that that is what I say). But before I could finish saying it both Alex and Gill were right there helping me pull it in. After a brief but intense grapple we pulled it out of the hole and it was indeed a ling! We were ecstatic with joy and promptly took many pictures and laughed and cried until our euphoria subsided. It ended up being the only one we caught the entire day but we caught one! Alex cut it up for us and we all enjoyed it the next day over dinner. Ling  tastes pretty good breaded and deep-fried. So that was our adventure, I attribute the success to my beard. It also caused every fisherman out there to not maintain eye contact with me when I talked to them. It was very entertaining.  Now for some pics to illustrate the event.
 Here is Alex, the main man.  He's the one who has taught me how to actually catch a fish, instead of just 
fly fish.

Doesn't it look like I'm some guy reading a label in the grocery store, "Look at this, it contains 20% omega three fatty acids, that's almost a hundred percent of my daily value!  Now what is the serving size....dum da dum....I hope there is no gluten in it....."

 Here is Gill, and this is his camera by the way.  It takes nice pics huh?  Notice that HE is from Malaysia and he is dressed in less cloths than either me or Alex.  How does that work?

This just shows off my beard the best.  You laugh but now you want one huh?

And here is a video of the historic event.  And just so you know, I didn't really kiss the fish.  I may be weird but not that weird.

1 comment:

Lora said...

Words can not express the joy I feel upon reading of your success. Priceless... and I'm not just talking about the beard. :)