This past Saturday, April 10th, 2010, was, in case you were wondering, Opening Day of Trout Season in Rhode Island.
Those of you who have been reading this blog over the years (or who know my husband) already know that this is THE High Holy Day in my husband's life. He WILL NOT make any other plans on that day. In fact, if, for some crazy reason, I had gone into labor with either of my children on or just before Opening Day of Trout Season, it is quite possible someone else would have cut the cord and Bill would have shown up at the hospital later, with a freshly caught trout dangling from a stringer for his newborn child.
Fortunately for all of us, our kids weren't even born close to that Very Important Day, so there are no ugly stories to dredge up.
Anyway. Opening Day is such a huge part of this family that it has its own category in my archives, so if you'd like to go back through the years and read other Opening Day stories, start there.
And speaking, as I was a moment ago, of our children, this year, for the first time, Alex got to go with Bill for Opening Day.
Now, in some families, Opening Day IS a family thing. Parents and children head out to their usual spots. Sometimes these are at some of the Kids Under 15 Only fishing spots in the state. Sometimes not. Sometimes families pitch tents and camp along rivers and streams the night before. It's a bonding time for parents and children who fish, and in my opinion, it's a great thing – just you, bait, rod and reel against weather, water and trout. Good, clean fun, as they say.
That's some families.
Opening Day is not about fun. It's about catching trout. But this year, because Joe is away (again) right now, and John's schedule has less free time than it used to, Bill decided to bring Alex. And because Alex was going, the "F" word (Fun) was applied to the trip.
Oh, you may laugh, but you'd better do it from the safety of your own home and not 'round here when Bill's in a trout mood. His approach to fishing – and I think I've mentioned this before – is not about fun. It's not about relaxation, either. There is no sitting under a tree waiting for a fish to bite it. No. You know how predators have eyes in the front of their heads and prey has eyes on the sides? Take a look:
So, back to the fishing.
Bill reluctantly agreed to include the word "fun" when discussing the trip with Alex, but not all the time, and not FIRST. Actually, they were also sort of going with another father/son combination – one of Bill's coworker/friends - David - and HIS son (Sean), who is the same age as Alex. They were in their canoe, Bill and Alex were in ours. So that, to me, made things a little more kid-friendly. The goal for opening day became To Catch More Fish Than David and Sean. Fine. Just let there be patience.
I got Bill and Alex up at 4:00 on Saturday morning (for that is one of MY jobs on Opening Day) and fed them and got the coffee going. Bill had already put the canoe on the truck and loaded up all their gear the night before, so the morning was actually relaxing, sort of. They got on the road about quarter to five or so, in order to get to the pond (on the other side of the state) and get everything out of the truck and into the canoe so they could be READY TO CAST right on the dot of 6:00 am (the official start time of Opening Day). It was pitch dark and cold and VERY windy that morning. They wore winter coats and should have brought gloves, but since you can't put power bait and meal worms on hooks very well wearing gloves, there was no point.
According to Bill, they arrived in good time and Bill carried all the heavy stuff (canoe, battery, motor, tackle box) and Alex carried the lighter stuff (oar, life preservers, net, poles) to the water's edge. When they were done, they helped David and Sean carry stuff, because they'd had to park farther away.
And 6:00 arrived, and the fishing began.
I don't have a play-by-play for the rest of the morning. (Yes, I know you're disappointed.) But – the important stuff – Alex caught a fish. That was my biggest hope. And not only did he catch a trout, but he caught one before Bill did. Bill went on to catch two, and he said they'd had other bites but the trout got off. No matter – these three were nice sized rainbows – just under a pound each.
Julia and I, meanwhile, spent our morning sitting in a waiting area while new tires were put on my car. Sure, it wasn't quite as exciting, but at least we were warm. I got a call from Bill around 9:30 – he and Alex were on their way home. They'd been successful, yes, but it was COLD and WINDY and they were both frozen.
They actually got home before we did, and here, without further ado or inane babbling, are the pictures:
Bill used a combination of lump charcoal and some cedar smoke for these, and all he did was put them on the grill. Nothing fancy. No herbs and lemon in the body cavity. Just fish and smoke.
It was a bit too early to start grilling them when the above picture was taken, so Bill and I went outside and took a look around the gardens and pick some asparagus to have along with the fish.
I cooked the aspagagus inside in some butter and lemon juice and salt.
Here's everything before:
Actually, we ate two of the three fish, plus the asparagus, and that was it. I saved the meat from the remaining trout to make smoked trout hash for Sunday morning's breakfast. I'll post that later.
Right now, I've got to hang the laundry out, water the seedlings, and get some other stuff done around here this morning.