Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Blues Festival

Finally got home at a decent hour and had the boat ready to go-throw in one of those cheap sandwiches from the Kangaroo, top off the gas, add a couple bags of ice to the cooler and it's away from the ramp before 6:00. Had to decide on going up in the marsh to catch the rising tide or go out the inlet and run the beach. I decided on the marsh and I turned the corner to cut around the large shoal that juts out into the intracoastal, the channel indicated by a series of red daymarks that curve around to the left. Not more than a quarter mile ahead of me I could see the birds going crazy-circling and hovering over an area at the edge of the shoal stretching for as far as I could see. I knew it was bluefish because of the frenzy and because there weren't any birds dumb enough to sit atop the water and become possible food.
Bluefish are basically food processors with fins. Oh, and they have powerful jaws and sharp teeth-a painful lesson I learn two or three times a year. You get your finger anywhere near their mouth and you'll be cussing up a storm and slinging the damn thing back into the water with a bloody hand. They will attack anything. They are perpetually irritated by anything that swims. I have caught the things until my bait was gone and caught even more just jerking a bare hook through the water. They school up and maraud through a school of baitfish sending them flying everywhere. This attracts the birds which find an easy meal actually delivered to them by the fish. I caught over 20-no cast went without landing one. They were small but no matter the size , they shake and fight like nothing else. The best way to unhook them is to grab the line in one hand and pin the fish to your chest with the other. There just almost impossible to grab onto while they're flopping around. Brought the biggest home-headed and gutted him then laid him on a bed of sliced lemons on the grill and cooked him till done. Nothing better absolutely fresh-nothing worse a day old. They have a bad reputation as table fare, and deservedly so if they aren't iced down immediately and cooked shortly after that. The old bluefish recipe joke is to take the bluefish, nail him to a wood plank, stick the plank over some hot coals until the fish is cooked, remove the fish from the board and then eat the board. Try one fresh-you'll be surprised.


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