Monday, August 3, 2015

Help Me, I've Been Humpy'd






















 It's sunny and windy today, two weather events that I don't care for very much when I'm out trying to fish. They actually go hand in hand. Most sunny days around here are accompanied by the wind. It makes for a miserable day out on the water. On the one hand, if there wasn't any wind, the heat would be almost unbearable. On the other, the wind makes it so difficult to control the boat,and it almost always gets lumpy and very uncomfortable. Sooooo, I took care of some projects on the boat and I'm working on getting some stuff done around the house so that maybe tomorrow I can go out and catch a fish or two. What you see in the pictures above are almost all Pink salmon, or Humpbacks, or as they are so affectionately known by the fishermen, Humpies. They are the smallest of the salmon, averaging around three and a half pounds more or less. This year the processors are only paying a quarter a pound for them, so a lot of them aren't even worth a dollar each. It's really kind of depressing to have to deal with them for so little money. The upside is, if there is one, is that this year is a record year for them. You can catch as many as you can hold in a day, or as many as you want to catch. They just keep on biting. On the one hand, it's kind of nice, with a fish on almost every hook, you're making money. The bad part is, you have to do the same amount of work as if you were catching something worth six or eight times as much. Humpies are a really squirrely fish. From the moment they bite they are fighting tooth and nail to get off the line. When they come aboard they flap about violently and almost always sling blood everywhere. If you have twenty or more flopping around at once, it looks like a war zone. You have to spend  half your time just hosing off the deck or the blood will dry on it and make a hell of a mess. Fortunately the cold storage is buying the fish in the round, meaning we don't have to clean them. That's nice. However, because I needed some to sell for sport fishing bait as Tom's Halibaits, those that we caught one day had to be cleaned. I think we had 175 of the bloody little buggers, which meant they all had to be gilled and gutted. What fun! Fortunately my daughter Jen is one of the maybe handful of people in the whole world who like to clean fish. She really gets into it. I have no idea what is so great about cleaning a bunch of Humpies, but I"m glad she likes doing it. It really simplifies my life. I enjoy the catching part of fishing and she enjoys the cleaning part, so we make a good pair. I went out by myself on Saturday and in half a day I think I ended up with around 700 plus pounds of Pinks. If I had gotten there early and spent the whole day I'm sure I could have easily doubled my score, however, the slush bags that I use were temporarily out of commission and I had to resort to using the half totes, which don't hold very much. Oh well. I'm hoping that the Humpie run will gradually subside and the cohos will come in to replace them. As it is, any other fish in the area doesn't stand a chance to grab the bait. Too much competition.  It would be like living in China at a Chow Mein Noodle factory. God forbid you should stand in the way at lunch time. Anyway, I'll just keep grinding away and hope for the best. About the time I have a day when I go out and don't catch anything, I'll long for the days when I couldn't keep the Humpies off my line.

6 comments:

  1. I'm just glad you're finally out fishing! Good luck with the cohos!

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  2. Thanks- we're going out for my halibut quota now- if the charter guys, "subsistence" fishermen and the people who come here with stacks of large coolers hoping to walk off with enough halibut to feed all their friends back home have left any.

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  3. Ooohhhh, halibut sounds so wonderful!!! Glad you're finally out fishing, even if "You've humpied and can't get up!"

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  4. Hi Jill,
    It is pretty tasty. We got part of the quota, but still need about 400 or more pounds. There has been so much competition for it, that its become hard to come by. The price is good though. This trip was extremely trying. I may do a post about it sometime soon. Unbelievable!

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  5. This reminds me of all the humpies you caught when Dad and I went out with you. So fun though. And Jen is a cleaning machine indeed! Wish I was there this summer to help her out :)

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  6. Hi Shannon. That was fun. You and your dad should come up again. Maybe there will be some King salmon or cohos to catch then. Tell your fine husband I said hello.

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