It happened like this:
I had a random phone call the other day – “We’re going fishing on Saturday, want to come?”
Now, I’ve been fishing before. I grew up in Nova Scotia on a dairy farm, so my fishing experience is somewhat different than the experience that lay before me.
This is going to make me sound old, but there were times I would be brook fishing using a cut alder and some rope, a metal nut for a weight, and a hook. That’s right – bring on Tom Sawyer…
So, when I said a hearty “Yes” to my friend’s invitation, it was with the caveat that I had never experienced fishing from a boat, on the West Coast.
The night before, a good part of me was hoping they would call and cancel. The other part of me, was rearing to go (wherever we were going. Did I mention I had no idea where we were going?).
Several hours, some breakfast and coffee, and a bumpy ride later, I found myself bobbing in the relatively calm and fogged in waters off of Port Renfrew, motoring past the West Coast Trail with some solid friends.
It was like a different culture. Words like ‘army truck’ and ‘coho killer’ were being tossed around, as the other two in the boat discussed their strategy of how to snag the elusive fish that the fishfinder claimed was somewhere, down there, or over there…
To make a long story short, after a decent amount of ocean watching, I caught my first West Coast Pacific Pink.
It was a good half footer.
It put up a decent fight.
Then came one twice the size. We said hello, then tossed it back. This was getting interesting.
Then, I had a nice size Wild Coho fighting against the line. I pretended like I knew what I was up to, and somehow managed to ‘play’ in that wild Coho Salmon (with some great encouragement from my friends). It was kind enough to spit out the hook at the same moment my friend Steve netted it.
A very thoughtful gesture.
A few hours later, I had a couple of massive filets of Wild Coho, and spent about an hour stoking our outdoor firepit (which stands as our grill…yes, rustic is so now, too!).
Which leads me to the recipe. Yes, this is a food blog.
Simple Wild Coho Salmon.
1. Catch aforementioned Wild Coho Salmon. Make sure you can legally keep that Wild Coho Salmon, gut and clean accordingly, (keep the spine and tail for chowder later on. Yes, indeed!).
2. Heat your cooking source of choice. I recommend a fire bbq, or gas stovetop, but you can bake it in the oven as well.
3. Put a healthy amount (healthy amount?) of butter in a tin foil pan or tray. Add a bunch of diced garlic, squeeze in some lemon or lime. Season with Salt and Pepper. Allow the butter to melt in the pan before you put in your fish filets.
4. Top filets with more butter, garlic, and lime juice (You can add all sorts of things, but this one is very simple).
5. Cook, skin side down. Cover if it’s a big filet (Yes, mine was. Thank you for asking).
6. When the meat flakes off easily with a fork, it’s about time to eat that Wild Coho Salmon.
That was the best salmon I’ve ever had – and our toughest critics, our three kids, enjoyed it!
I think they enjoyed their dad’s fishing stories, too.