Our first night on Lopez coincided with the rehearsal dinner. It was a Friday night and the wedding was the next day. The rehearsal dinner was at Steven and Molly’s farm, where Anne and I bedded down. In preparation for the dinner, I helped by making the hamburger patties. With the help of a simple, but great tasting recipe I made the best hamburgers that I have ever made. The recipe called for the melding of crumbled feta and minced onion into the patties. They turned out well, but I was still upstaged by the fish.
Patrick was the fisherman. He had caught the night’s twin King Salmon, cleaned and then cooked them. Patrick is a professional Alaskan salmon fisherman. He employs a seine or dragnet on his boat. He fishes about three months out of the year and spends about that much time getting ready for the next season. His right-hand was sore, but that was caused by skiing. His salmon was probably the best fish that I have ever had.
Patrick spoke of fisherman’s etiquette and greed. The seine nets run a quarter-mile behind the boat. Occasionally, another fisherman will swoop in and take your fish. They are that maneuverable. Patrick is our age and he had finished his fishing season by then, but another party goer’s son was still out on the water.
This son is just getting started and is not as established as Patrick. He doesn’t have a seine rig, so must hook, line and rod fish. What Patrick can catch in a day takes this son weeks. Not only does it take him longer than Patrick to fill his hold, but he has to work harder doing it. Patrick said that he had to handle each fish seven times. He made that sound like a lot of hand work.
I asked Patrick about the TV show, “The Most Dangerous Catch”. He laughed, said that it was just a TV show, but later, he told a story about the son’s first season. He was alone in high seas. The pulley at the end of one of his thirty-foot poles had fouled. He left his boat in an inflatable raft and cleared the pulley. The parents were silent afterwards.