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2011-03-14 19:34:32 (UTC)

A bit Fishy

About a day of hunter gathering when I really didn't get anything to eat.

Yesterday Brent took a rare day off work to go fishing with one of his suppliers. We are not a fishing family. We have no desire to own a boat and although we do have rods they are covered in rust and dust. Also, Brent has a tendancy to get bored sitting still. I have never known anyone else to find it so difficult to relax by doing nothing.

So, off he goes for a day out with the boys and I didn't really think much of it. By early afternon I had received a text saying "Need lemon and chips", so I knew he had caught something we could have for our tea. This is probably a first too because another reason Brent doesn't like fishing is that he never catches anything.

For a change I was busy at work and completely forgot about the fish until later in the afternoon when Brent phoned to say he had had a good day and, yes, it was fish for tea. He had caught some snapper and kawai and what should he do with them. I foolishly said I would gut and fillet them when I got home, which was quite foolish as the last time I gutted a fish must have been six or seven years ago.

Once home I couldn't believe the amount of fish he had caught: six snapper and five huge kawai. Brent didn't catch all these but some of the guys caught so many snapper they were not interested int he kawai, probably because of the fact that kawai are supposed to be bled once caught. No-one on the boat told Brent this so my boss, who is an expert fisherman, suggested they put the catch into the freezer to chill down so the blood is easier to manage. I had filleted (poorly) several snapper when Ollie came in and, seeing me with the knife awkwardly in my left hand, offered to fillet the remainder - well, who was I to turn down an offer. So I gave him a beer and got a glass of red wine and stood back to watch. By this time the cat had woken up and suddenly realised there was the irresistible (to a cat) aroma of fresh fish wafting from the garage. He was in luck.

Once the snapper was duly filleted and the bones piled into a bucket Ollie and India went out for the evening and I was left with the less than enviable task of dealing with the kawai. We knew that these fish are good smoked so Brent went around to a friend to borrow his smoker. In the meantime I attacked the first kawai. They are quite large fish, longer than my forearm and hand, and quite heavy. First I slit them open to reveal the disgusting innards. The snapper intestines I could easily deal with but the guts of this fish were far larger and multi-coloured, requiring more of an effort to remove and involving the blood I had been warned of. Next I decided to cut off the head. Not an easy task but with the help of a chopper and a good twist or two I managed it, splattering the walls as I worked. Next I opened up the fish as far as possible and removed much of the membrane and clotted blood before giving it a good wash. This I did four times, each time giving the fish to Brent to be smoked. He had mixed up a concoction of brown sugar, honey and salt to put on the fish before smoking so he got on with that, cooking two fish at a time. In the meantime I filleted the last fish, removing all the red meat, as apparently that is very strong and unpleasant. The cat didn't seem to mind it though.

With the fish finally was filleted and de-headed, we were faced with a problem. What to do with a bucket and a half of fish bones, heads and guts and scales. I have to admit that Brent took the smaller of the piles of waste up the road and put it into someone's skip. It was dark so hopefully no-one saw him. But I am not sure what he has done with the big bucket, which by now will have started to smell quite badly I expect. I hope he has not left it in the garage. Friends of ours dig a big hole and bury the waste but we do not have much room in our garden and our soil is hard as rock.

By the time I had finished filleting it was 9pm and I was exhausted. My hands were sore from being spiked from fish fins and I had also managed to cut my finger with the sharp boning knife, which bled profusely for a few minutes before being coverd by a plaster.

Once I had cleared up most of the mess I decided to taste some of the smoked fish. Brent had covered part of the fish in the sugar/salt/honey mixture and part was left unmarinaded. The unmarinaded side was lovely, but the side with the marinade tasted weird and unpleasant and inedible. Not sure if they will all taste like this but if so it will be a waste of a good fish. The taste was very bitter and it made my mouth feel numb. First of all Brent looked a little hurt but once he tried it he agreed that it was not at all pleasant.

By this time I was getting tired and wanted a shower. I had fish scales stuck to my arms and adorning my clothes and in my hair and traces of blood down my trousers and on my feet. We wrapped each fish in a piece of foil and refrigerated them. Goodness knows what we are doing to do with so much fish.

It wasn't until I got to bed that I realised that, apart from a few mouthfulls of smoked fish, some of which was horrid, I hadn't eaten, but it was too late by then so I went to bed half hungry.

In the night I woke from time to time and all I could smell was smoked fish. I think I am over this fishing lark. Just give me a fillet from the fishmonger or, better still, some fresh fish that a friend has just caught and kindly filleted. Thank goodness we don't do this often.

Even today at work I keep sniffing at my hands and I am sure everyone will be able to smell fish on me.

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