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.
Amachi initiative is a Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Join us Saturday night at the Gaylord Texan Resort. Chairman: Glynis Redwine. Asleep at the Wheel is the featured entertainment. Compass Bank will serve as the title sponsor for the charity's annual gala celebrating 80 years of youth mentoring in North Texas.
The event benefits the Amachi Texas initiative, a program dedicated to mentoring young children of prisoners. The Compass partnership will also extend beyond this event to include financial literacy training for the kids in the program as well as sponsorship of other signature fundraising events for the agency.
Tickets $500, tables from $3,000. Party Notes: Western & 1920's Style wear.Contact: Jamie Bauer, 817-277-1148, , See photos from events and more links on .
Lovely, not too sweet, with just enough apricot for my tastebuds to take notice.
And I had a revelation.
All beers and brew masters are not created equal.
Craft beer makers, like Pyramid, are artisans who are small, independent, and adhere to traditional brewing methods and ingredients. On a personal tour of Pyramid's brewery in Seattle I learned that taste is Pyramid's ultimate pursuit and they don’t cut corners on the process or the ingredients.
Pyramid’s flagship beer, Hefe Weizen, is a wheat beer brewed with two-row barley, wheat, and caramel. It’s an unfiltered beer true to the hefe weizen style which means your eyeballs will notice some cloudiness in the liquid, but your tastebuds will benefit from the flavor of the yeast left in the beer.
Even when a style of beer calls for filtration Pyramid filters only once to catch lingering solids.
Beer making is an art and a science. Lean too much to the science side of beer making and the result is the mass-produced, colorless, mostly tasteless liquid that the majority of Americans call beer because their palates don’t know the difference.
These beer makers use less expensive adjunct grains like corn and rice which add no flavor and serve only to sugar and thin the beer. In addition, multiple filtrations leave the beverage with coloring more akin to water than beer.
Some historians speculate that before mankind learned to bake bread we had mastered beer.
Smart bunch we are. Except it’s taken a very long time, domestically that is, to learn to make it tasty.
But we’re catching on.
Craft brewers’ supermarket sales increased 17.8% in 2006 while large domestic breweries sales continued to lag behind a 2004 peak. The total craft beer market increased by 12% in 2006.
Pyramid Breweries is a leader of the craft brewer's pack and there's a reason.
This recipe combines the best of both worlds -- beer used in bread making.
Beer Batter Bread 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 bottle beer, unopened and at room temperature
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus extra for greasing
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease 9x5 inch loaf pan.
In a bowl, stir together the flour, brown sugar, baking powder, and salt. Open the beer and add it all at once; it will foam up. Stir briskly just until combined, about 20 strokes. The batter should be slightly lumpy. Pour into the prepared loaf pan and drizzle the melted butter.
Bake until the top is crusty and a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, 35-40 minutes. Let rest in the pan for 5 minutes, then turn the loaf out onto a rack. Serve wam or at room temperature the day it is made. Cut into thick slices and accompany with plenty of butter.
Sandra's Cooking Notes: - From "Bread" published by Williams-Sonoma.
- I used a bottle of Pyramid's Apricot Weizen which imparted its lovely apricot flavor to the bread.
Dallas real estate icon Ebby Halliday and former Dallas Cowboy and NFL Hall of Fame Inductee Rayfield Wright will be the recipients of the 2007 Lions Sight & Tissue Foundation's “Humanitarian Award” at a come-and-go reception on Thursday, October 18thfrom 5:30 to 7:30 P.M. at the Communities Foundation of Texas, Mabel Peters Caruth Center, 5500 Caruth Haven Lane at Central Expressway, Dallas, Texas 75225. The Humanitarian Award Presentation is scheduled for 6:30 P.M.