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Cowlitz River Salmon with a Soy-Ginger Marinade Print E-mail
by Sandra Lewis    Mon, Oct 22, 2007, 06:20 am
Fishing, I’ve concluded, is a lot of doing nothing interspersed with moments of adrenaline rushes.

It was a quiet morning on the Cowlitz River and I was snoozing peacefully during one of those nothing periods. It had been an early rise at 3:30 am for the two-hour drive south from Seattle.

My baited hook was dangling in the water and the sun was gently warming the crisp, cool day. Then came the battlecry.

“Fish on! Fish on!”

Jamie, one of my fishing mates, had noticed the telltale dip and tug of the rod; his call snapped me from slumber.

Whose rod was it?


As I pulled my rod from its placeholder my fellow fisherman scrambled to collect and put theirs away.

With the first difficult twist of the reel, I knew it was a doozy. I was in a massive tug of war with a finned and scaled opponent.

This was only the second time I had been fishing; the first time was on an outing with my dad’s family in Mississippi. I was five at the time and by late afternoon everyone had caught a fish except for me and I had cried, you know that thing that girls and five-year-olds do. Just about the time I was ready to call it a day there was a nibble on my line and with my dad’s help I reeled in the biggest catch of the day, a 1.5-pound catfish. I was ecstatic.

Now, standing on a boat in the middle of the Cowlitz River with a wild fish flailing on the other end of my line I felt like I had graduated to the big leagues without ever truly playing in the little leagues.

And my dad wasn’t there to assist.

As the only girl on the fishing expedition I had purposely stirred things up the night before as we paid for our fishing licenses and again during the wee morning hours trek to the river with the idea that I was going to catch the biggest fish.

Now in this mammoth struggle of girl against fish I was happy to hang onto the rod which I thought would fly out of my hands at any moment.

The fish zigged and zagged, tugged and pulled. I cranked the reel steadily and deliberately, and somehow hung on.

As I slowly but surely reeled the thrashing fish within a fishing net’s distance of our boat, our fishing guide, Cesare, stooped down and scooped it up.

Victory! It wouldn’t be the story of the one that got away after all.

At 25 pounds it was the weightiest catch of the day for which I earned $125 from my fishing companions from a group bet that we had agreed to the night before. My catch outweighed Jeff’s fish, its closest competitor, by two pounds.

With memories of a warm, long ago Mississippi afternoon, I was once again ecstatic.

The art of fishing is a mystery to me. We each tantalized the fish with the same bait in the same fishing hole at the same time but it was the luck of the draw as to which fish ended up on my line.

But now I get this fishing thing. Not so much the how, but the why. There’s something relaxing, satisfying, and addicting about doing nothing interspersed with a handful of adrenaline rushes especially when you hook and land something very good to eat.

Among the Dallas residents we fileted, froze, and boxed up 49.2 pounds of salmon for the flight home.

I also had the fortune of pulling in a second fish that afternoon, a nice 10-pound catch. Seemed like a piece of cake after the fight I had with the larger one.

I was the only one who reeled in two fish on this expedition, but I thought better of making a big deal of it with the guys. They might not invite me back.

To see more photos from this fishing trip click here. Click on any individual photo to start the slide show.

Cowlitz River Salmon with a Soy-Ginger Marinade
1 teaspoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon chili oil
1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
1 clove garlic, finely chopped

8-oz salmon filet

Marinate the salmon for 1/2-1 hour then grill.

Sandra's Cooking Notes:
This is my own concoction.

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Comments (1)add comment
written by Mr. B , October 23, 2007

Oh, what great fun! Thank you, I was smiling half-way through your article.

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