Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Daiwa reel & Trash Cleanup

We had a couple of Daiwa Sweepfire reels, they've very inexpensive and not a great reel, but when you're taking the family fishing or you've got friends in town, it's nice to have a few extra setups that work. Both reels had broken bail springs but were otherwise in good shape. I dropped an email to Daiwa informing them of this and asking where I could purchase replacement springs. They sent me a couple free of charge. When buying a new reel, there are a lot of things to consider, its casting, its reeling, its durability, but the company who makes it is also a factor, and Daiwa is ok in my book.

The reservoirs are as low as they're going to get (we hope) and now is a great time to recover bits of garbage from popular fishing areas. At Groundhog the other day we saw a Grebe with a piece of mono coming out of the area between its wings, we can only assume there's a hook holding there. This kind of thing, while it is probably purely accidental, makes my stomach turn. It also gives the anti-fishing nuts at Peta ammunition to sway public opinion away from fishermen. Going fishing this weekend? Please bring a trash bag and fill it. There is a lot of line out there, and that's what gives critters the most trouble. There are powerbait jars everywhere (dare I say that the kind of person who relies on chemical bait made in a giant factory is also the kind of person who leaves trash everywhere?) and there are also cans and bottles. This year to date I've found several really nice lure bodies that need nothing more than some new hooks, so this kind of work can be rewarding. I'm not asking anyone to go and make a day of picking up trash, just go fishing, the trash will be there.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Bacon & Jalapeño Stuffed Trout

This recipe requires a butterflied Trout, and many people are afraid of butterflying a Trout. I can say from experience that it requires practice and the first few times may look like the work of Salvador Dali or Stevie Wonder, but you'll get it! See our soon-to-exist "how to butterfly a Trout" page or watch one of the great vids on youtube.

You'll need:
2 Trout, butterflied (or 1 if you catch'em big!)
3 Strips of bacon
2 green onions
1 Jalapeño Pepper
Parsley for garnish (you don't have to go nuts, I just had too much Parsley laying around)

Salt the inside of your butterflied trout and let it sit at room temperature while you do the other processes. Cook the bacon in a cast iron skillet until finished and leave the excess fat in the pan (unless you've been cooking with realllly fat bacon, you don't want the fish to swim in bacon grease, just a nice coating for the pan) and reduce heat to low. Chop the bacon, Jalapeño and green onion finely and combine. Mix well and stuff the mixture inside the Trout. Close the trout using toothpicks (or if you've got too much time you can stitch it closed with kitchen twine.) Increase heat to the skillet to med-high and place the trout in. After about 2 minutes, flip the Trout (you should have nice, crispy skin) and do the same for the other side. Remove the skillet from the burner and place in a hot oven (400F) for 12-15 mins. Let the fish stand a minute after removing from the oven, then sprinkle Parsley on top. or drizzle with parsley oil. Serve immediately. If you've done your job deboning the fish, the end result should be completely boneless and delicious.

A note on butterflying: The dorsal fin and the bones attached should be left in after butterflying. Once the Trout is cooked it will come out easily, bones attached.

Need for crappy weather...

This high pressure, beautiful sunny day thing is old already. For one, we need to start piling up snow in the high country to fill our reservoirs in 2013.

We fished groundhog on Saturday, I caught 3 nice rainbows and everyone else got a whole lotta skunk. We took the boat to Puett on Sunday to run the motor one last time before winter. We got skunked utterly and completely. This happens at Puett often. The water was muddy and 39 degrees. I'm ready for snow and ice fishing, dunno about you guys, but this lovely weather is for the birds.

I always wanted a "Shoulda been here yesterday" shirt, so we've made one on Cafepress.com.. You can order one by clicking on the shirt.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving

Burp. Excuse my glazed-over, food induced giddiness in the following paragraphs. I think my fingers are the only part of me that can move at the moment. My father is in town for the Holiday and I figured I'd take him for some fun at Vallecito and Groundhog. Both days were sunny and still. We caught few fish, but what we did catch was nice. Lisa caught a nice Rainbow at groundhog which gave me more practice butterflying and I'm getting a lot more proficient in that area. This time I stuffed the fish with bacon, onion and reduced tomatos an it was flippin delicious. I've expanded on the Trout Caviar method, this time I boiled some baby red potatoes sliced a bit off the bottom so they'd sit flat, sliced off the top and then hollowed out the potato, filling it with chive creme fraîche and topping with the caviar. It was runnin. I'm such a fan of this trout roe, that I'm considering releasing males I catch in our local reservoirs.

If you're reading this on a computer, there's a lot for which you should be thankful, you're in a more comfortable position than quiet a few people worldwide. Not only is this a great time to be thankful for friends, family, health and wealth, it is a great time to fish! The time right before the ice goes on seems to be the season of the magical bite. Wait for the weather to turn sour, and let'em rip. Cheers, and Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Vallecito

I got into a bit of Maker's Mark on Friday night which may account for me missing quite a few strikes saturday morning, but I did catch a crazy fighting Rainbow. He was only 18" but I should have tested him for PEDs because I've never seen a fish fight quite so hard. It made the wet rags on the Juan look like.. well.. wet rags. I tried my hand at butteryflying a trout, something I've wanted to try for a while. I've always had a bit of a fish bone issue from a childhood of filleting flounder ("DON'T MISS THE BONES OR YOU'LL CHOKE ON ONE AND DIE!" said my grandmother.) Over the years I got around this issue with the help of hundreds of Trout and I think I'm all better now. That being said, the idea of an entire Trout 100% deboned and then stuffed with good stuff was pretty enticing. Butterflying isn't easy, but with a sharp knife and a relatively steady hand you can make a job of it. I didn't take pictures this time around because I was afraid of making the fish look like Dali's worst on my first attempt. It actually came out really nice. I also filleted a smaller Bow and made a pretty swanky fish dish with it. I hesitate to call it "Asian" merely because it uses Soy Sauce and Ginger, but for lack of a better word, I guess that's what it'll be.

Sauce
1/3 Cup Soy Sauce
1 tablespoon finely minced ginger
1 tsp sugar
Pinch salt

Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan and simmer gently until reduced by 1/2. Strain out ginger.

For the fish you'll need a 12-14" Trout, filleted. Some Green Onion, Cilantro and Diced Serrano Peppers and Rice Vinegar. Chop all these ingredients. Salt the fillets liberally. Heat a skillet with oil (you can melt some butter in the oil too, I won't tell) once the oil is just about to start smoking, throw in the fish, skin side down. Time varies based on the thickness of the Trout, but usually it's about 2 and a half minutes on the skin side. Flip the fish and finish the other side. One more flip back to the skin side and then top each fillet on the meat side with the Cilantro, Onion, Pepper and Rice Vinegar mixture. On more brief flip to bind these ingredients to the fish, scoop out and place on rice or potatoes, skin side up. Drizzle sauce and serve. I like to do this kind of thing for a first course.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Groundhog

Groundhog is my favorite place to catch trout, hands down. We returned for a day of trout gathering and I thought I was getting my normal birthday skunking from Ms. Lisa, however, when she stopped for lunch I caught my limit. Fishing wasn't on fire, but it wasn't slow and we caught 8 nice bows. That lake is normally no good if the weather is nice but this day was an exception, the weather was lovely and the fishing was pretty damn good. The silence was deafening, with not a bit of wind. Young grebes were swimming around the glassy surface, occasionally diving below to feast on minnows. The road to get in there is pretty soupy once the afternoon sun gets to it, so if you're heading that way, I'd recommend 4wd and good tires or you're gonna be enjoying a long day of digging your vehicle out of the mud/snow.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Back for more...

I think I might have broken my fish scale. Today I was hoping for another monster and caught a bunch of smaller fish. I lost my lucky woolybugger, and the weather was again nice and sunny. The hangover of catching the biggest fish of my life is setting in, and I wonder what kind of monster I'm going to have to catch to feel good again. Now I know how serial killers feel. Oh well. I made Trout Caviar with the eggs in the big mamma. I found out how to do it online on that awesome hunter-angler-gardener-cook blog. It is very simple and tastes pretty awesome. I like to serve it on toasted croutons with a lil creme fraîche.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Well heck...

If I keep trash talking Rainbows.. will they keep looking like this? Lights out fishing at Vallecito today. Cold, windy, snowy, ice on the guides. That's the spirit. This guy was just a smidge under 30" and weight 11pounds 4oz. Caught on a very small streamer with 5x tippet.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Pastorius Reservoir Report

I'd kind of written Pastorius off as unfishable a while ago. The weeds grow so fast and thick in there that shore fishing is impossible except in a few select spots. I thought the lake would be much lower, or I would have brought the boat. We did a lap around the lake to look for deep water and found a few holes and pulled out a few smaller stockers, but they seemed to be in good shape, fins and all. Nothing really exciting, just a nice afternoon jaunt. If you have a way to float, I'd say the fishing is probably stellar right now out in the lake. Keep your eyes out for duck and goose hunters who will be out there until January. In the picture below you can see the Vallecito fire in the background.