:: Life on Planet Dan-E ::

Thoughts, observations, and introspections from an art student waiter/bartender in South Beach. Arcane humor ensues.
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:: Saturday, September 03, 2005 ::

:: Gone Fishin' ::
You know that saying "the worst day fishing still beats the beats the best day at work?" Well, someone needs to coin a phrase to compare a pretty good day of fishing to something because last few times, I haven't returned empty-handed.

Yesterday just before the school closed DT told me about a six-hour deep-sea fishing charter trip. And against my better judgment, I bit (pun SO not intended), despite having so much schoolwork to catch up on. We've gone fishing a few times before and his approach to it is such that if he were to show up on one of those televised bass fishing tournaments, I wouldn't be surprised.

It's been a good three years since my last fishing trip and that last time, it wasn't even for fish, but for giant squid. (Seriously, these puppies were huge, averaging three feet long with the tentacles) When we got there the crew was cleaning up stuff from the previous charter and there were fish everywhere. The popular catch seemed to be bonito (a type of tuna) and kingfish. Kingfish is quite edible while bonito, while edible, isn't the kind of tuna you'll find at restaurants. While waiting for our boat to get prepped, we looked over the pier and saw a school of tarpon feeding on the discarded scraps. These things were massive. A couple of the larger ones seemed to be close to a hundred pounds. DT was very close to casting off right there and then if not for the fact that we were told that not only are they not very good to eat, but it's illegal as well (???).

So anyway, heading out to our spot DT and I talk about guy stuff (girls, beer, truck racing). I examine my rented fishing pole and it didn't take much to see that we were gonna catch something pretty serious. The line was a lot thicker than anything I've used before (the largest thing I ever caught was a 5 pound snapper) and the rod itself was looked fairly stout. We arrive at our first spot and that turned out to be a bust since only one person caught anything and he was one of the crew. I got a few nibbles but all I pulled up was half-eaten bait.

The second spot turned out a little bit better. But at least for me it was a LOT better since I finally got a bite. And let me tell ya, it was a fighter. It even made the pole bend almost completely over from the pull but I finally pulled it up after a few minutes and it was beauty.

I think I figured out the secret since I got two more bites that day but I lost both, one because the line broke, and the second because my line got tangled with a few others. Actually that was the story for both of the rest of the day. Even at the third spot, when fish were biting more frequently, DT couldn't pull anything up since his line kept either breaking or getting tangled. Unfortunate since a couple of times, it looked like he hooked a pretty big one.

It ended all too quickly but I was happy since I caught a pretty big one. Especially since every charter boat has a pool; everyone in the boat who wants to play chips in five dollars and the one with the biggest fish goes home with the pot. My catch was 10 pounds even. And you know what? No one else could beat it =) So not only did I have a great day of fishing, I went home with an extra $30. SWEET.

Funny thing is when I asked them to filet it for me, the crew asked me if I ever ate a bonito before. When I said no, he started laughing. Apparently, bonito is different from other tunas in that the meat is oilier and much darker; almost maroon-ish shade of red as opposed to the pink-to-red tuna you'll find in sushi restaurants. What you end up with is something that's supposed to be very fishy and gamey tasting. Undaunted, I take my filets home anyway. DT told me that one thing his mom did was to soak it in milk for a couple of days to get rid of some of the fishy taste. So I took one filet and did just that. Another one, I cut into bite-size chunks and marinating them in lime juice A third one, I simply threw in the freezer.

The last one, that was dinner. I took the simple route; salt and pepper on both sides and cook it in olive oil and butter. I cooked one medium rare and the other well-done for future reference. As an experiment, I cut off a small piece to eat it raw with soy sauce just to see if it would work that way (in a word: NO).

The fishy taste was certainly there in the medium rare filet but while it wasn't unpleasant, it's certainly not meant to be seared. The well-done portion was better but nothing to write home about. I'm starting to wonder if this is the stuff they put in canned tuna.

But hey, I never said I'm Mario Batali and any day you get to go fishing and eat your catch later in the day is a great day.

:: Miscellaneous Ramblings by Dan-E at 10:39 PM [+] :: | 0 comments

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