Thursday, 13 October 2016

Thou Shalt Have a Fishy

Gone fishin'

It's a cliche for doing nothing, sloping off, taking it easy.  And it's been an aspiration of mine for a-g-e-s

Number 1 on my list of Things To Do Before I'm 50, fishing for my dinner, was a highlight of my summer.

Thanks to miscalculating how long it takes to get from Teeside to Whitby, and then the total lack of availability of parking spaces Whitby in the summer, my reservation of 4 places on a fishing boat came a cropper.  Luke had obviously opted out as he doesn't eat fish, hates strong smells, and refuses to be involved in the death of animals but I'd booked the rest of us.  As we got more and more frenzied, stuck in traffic with no parking, Mark told me to ditch them and head straight for the boat. Despite the lack of travel sickness pills, Zach agreed to join me.

The day couldn't have been lovelier. It was hot, still and beautiful.  The swell of the tide was pronounced as we were half an hour outside the harbour, but I was fine. This was not the case for everyone.

We fished with just hooks and feathers. Zach was first to reel in two enormous mackerel on his rod, although he was horrified at the prospect of wrenching the fish from the hooks. Sadly, that was it for Zach; seasickness overwhelmed him and he spent the rest of the 3 hours curled up in a ball trying to hold it all together. His good humour whilst feeling wretched was astonishing. He is the most gracious human being I've ever known. "I wouldn't have missed it, Mummy. You were having such a wonderful time that I was happy to be there, no matter how sick I felt. I know how long you've waited to do this."
I wish I could take credit for Zach's aceness but he does it all himself. He's honestly that lovely.

Possibly the nicest human alive, and his mum
I was as happy as it is possible to be when surrounded by slimy fish guts and having not eaten for many hours. That is far happier than I would have expected. The skipper moved us to 4 different sites over the afternoon and we brought up unbelievable quantities of fish.

Mostly I caught mackerel. However, there were whiting, a member of the cod family, and one very small but exciting gurnard.
The skipper yelled, "Don't touch it!" while the rest of the fishing friends leapt backwards.  Gurnard isn't venomous but the spines can deliver a very nasty injury. We removed the gurnard from the hook, threw it back in the sea and it swam off to freedom.
Little gurnard to lived to swim another day

While we paying punters fished and fished, the skipper kindly gutted our catch.  We motored back into Whitby harbour and transferred our fish into great big bin bags.  Zach emerged from his cocoon  of queasy and we joined Mark, Luke and Bonnie on the path.  Being the type to plan ahead, I'd put a styrofoam cooler in the boot. I picked up three bags of ice from the supermarket and tipped it into the cooler with the ice so we could drive the fish home in good condition.

We got home late that night, having detoured to my Very Excellent Mate SJ's house to collect The Great Gonzo, our new kitten.  He's exceptionally naughty and quite spectacularly cute. Sorry, Mark! I can't resist a tabby cat, in whatever colour.

Then Mark cooked a couple of fillets so we could enjoy the very fresh fish.

The next day Mark filleted the many, many fish and I invited friends for a meal. We had potato salad, horseradish dressing, chilli and lime dressing and grilled toasts. It was fantastic sharing food I'd caught. I loved it and so did our friends. I'm delighted than my chance to catch this sustainable and delicious fish resulted in meals for my family and friends.  I couldn't be happier.

No comments:

Post a Comment