Monday, December 12, 2011

Day 2: Licensed to Kill

I am officially licensed to kill in Washington State. I purchased an annual combo fish, shellfish, and seaweed permit. It’s an exciting event, this licensure. The regular state resident fee for the combo permit is $52.25. As a disabled veteran, my fee was considerably lower, only $8.25 plus another $8.25 for a crab endorsement. I plan on catching several rock crabs on the Seabeck Bay, and hopefully some Dungeness when I build up courage to take the Whaler further out into the canal.

I made small talk with the young woman handling my transaction today at Wholesale Sports Outfitters in Silverdale. She was small of frame, dark-haired, and looked like she was in her early twenties. A pair of pink, fuzzy fishing flies dangled from her earlobes. She was cute but didn’t know jack about seasons, restrictions, prime fishing areas, and recommended equipment. She apologized and shrugged her shoulders at every question. Her shrug sent the pink flies dancing in a brunette sea.

I’m easily irritated by incompetence, especially when I need answers and rely on folks in a particular business to know their jobs. But something about her unarmed me. She wore a pastel flannel over baby blue long johns, and her face set in an ivory expression of wholesomeness. She looked like the kind of girl I’d hire to babysit my kids. I liked her. I liked her even more after she told me a lovely fish story about a twenty-four pound Chinook she took near Aberdeen.

I hear the word, “took” often now that my ears are open to conversations of outdoorsy folk. “I took my four-point just off an old logging road outside Shelton,” said a man leaning against the archery counter. Took sounds friendlier than killed or shot or even caught.

I hope to take something soon. I’m eating leftover soup, brazil nuts, and dried mango for dinner tonight. A big slab of bbq salmon with a side of sweet acorn squash sounds much better than my makeshift meal.

Wild-caught salmon is expensive and out of my food budget for the most part. And I won’t put farm raised salmon in my mouth. The stuff is poison. The American Heart Association recommends eating fish high in omega 3 fatty acids twice a week. Wild salmon is full of omega 3, but farm-raised is full of toxic chemicals and antibiotics.
Farm-raised fish constitutes over 60% of all fish eaten in the United States. People seem to believe that eating fish is a healthier choice than beef, pork, or chicken, but this isn’t true in the case of farmed fish. Higher concentration of antibiotics are used on farm fish than any other livestock, and farmed fish have seven times the levels of cancer causing PCBs and dioxins as wild salmon. Farmed fish are fed a pellet diet of chicken feces and feathers, corn meal, soy, genetically modified oils, and fish meal with concentrated toxins. Wild salmon do not eat corn, soy, canola, chicken feces, or even a steady diet of other fish. Wild Salmon subsist mainly on krill. Krill gives wild salmon its lovely red color. Farm-raised salmon are grey-fleshed and fed chemicals to give them a salmon-like color.
I own little Boston Whaler, a new salmon rod, a box of tackle, and even a fish finder. I’m fully licensed and ready to go. But where do I go? I need a fish mentor. I think there are some things I can’t learn out of a book or on the Internet. Finding fish and fish mentor is on tomorrow’s agenda.

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