“Lunch* In Minutes”


(July 1, 2018)

bait with a dough ball,

small hook on a floating-fly line,

let drift the creek bend

 

  • (Charcoal briquetes white-hot in an hibachi grill firebox, placethe gutted (drawn) whole fish atop streaky thin-cut bacon on a foil sheet and roll across the dorsal- and ventral-fin removed salt-and-pepperd fish and if desired place thin-sliced lemon on the top side after placing a similar string of citrus slices on its opposing side and roll the bacon to seal.  Place, sans foil, over the hot coals and broil.  When the bacon bubbles to a crisp brown texture the fish will be done. To test, take a knife or spoon and insert along the ventral fin: the skeleton will be easily removed by running the implement down one outside edge from just behind the head to the tail.  If desired, remove the head and discard, but you will be missing some fine eating if you so do.  The backbone easily will be removable on the bottom half of the small 10- to 14-inchlargemouth baby bass (or if you are in the eastern mountains or Newfoundland a rainbow trout). A light tartar sauce of mayonnaise, sweet relish, lemon, worchestershire(sp?) and minced green onion tops and bottoms may accompany, but take the first fork – or spoon – naked.  The fish, that is. but if so inclined feel free, just recall the joices from both fish and bacon will be hot!)

4 thoughts on ““Lunch* In Minutes”

    • First attempted about 20 years ago on a reforestation project at the southern terminus of a local airport’s N-S runway. I was using a pump to “water” the young pines, playing the 6-inch hose along the way of the quarter-mile of trees. I took my flyrod and a few slices of bread, the hibachi grill, some charcoal bricquettes, a lemon, a constant-companion all-purpose knife and salt-n-pepper, aluminum foil and a small sealed container of butter. The fish lined up to be caught: I took two to eat and another to dress and put on ice to treat my father. No tartar sauce. Didn’t need. Fish – or most any seafood – eaten within the three minutes or so it takes to prepare just after being caught – is best fresh. And this was. My father was an avid hunter and angler from boyhood in Minnesota’s North woods, and the U. S. Navy took him off flight status for several years and assigned him to The Crash Crew fire/rescue teams at Argentia, Newfoundland, Canada, US Naval Air Station. He was in charge of half the crew, but his real job was escorting visiting bigwigs on Northeast Arm hunting (Moose, Bear, and I think some Caribou) and fishing: rainbow trout and salmon. We learned what real Grand Banks lobster was all about. And, growing up I alone of my brothers spent a lot of time fishing with dad and one neighborhood elderly man whose wife felt better when he had another person along. Like graduate school in life. That old man was one of Arthur Murray’s first “hoofers,” professional dance instructors in New York City and he had most of the neighborhood boys cowed. Fishing with my father was like a truce in our constant war. Years later when mom asked me if ever I fished without dad. “Sure, Mom.” I’d sometimes take my tackle, a cooler of beer and a book out to a well-treed river bank along the upper St. Johns. Sometimes I’d take minnows or worms and actually bait a hook – but mostly I just put a lead sinker just below the cork bobber and not even have a hook. People would putt by in small boats and ask ‘catchin’ any?’ And I’d say ‘Nary a bite,'” Mom laughed. “J, that is just soooo bad. I mean, really fish with someone else other than Dad?” Why, I asked. “Well, Shirley (her best friend other than her boyfriend my dad) has a husband (Ralph, also a Navy Chief, whom dad and his three boys can not stand: the man is a brute to his own brood and selfish) who also fishes…” I interrupted: Ralph golfs in the morning, goes out to fish for trophy-sized bass just after lunch at noon and wants to be back ashore by six p.m. at the latest. Dad and I go out before sunrise, fish all day and into the night, especially if it’s a full moon, and murder a hundred head or more to fill the second shelf of that monster freezer you have when we all have depleted the frozen orange and tangerine juice and grapefruit sections. Even Glenn – eldest brother – comes by, and Storm, too, for fruit and later fish. Most times we just go out ‘fore sunrise to three or four p.m. and toss back all but a dozen or so for supper. ” When she was given back the lectern, Mom continued nonplussed, “Your dad said he had no desire to fish with Ralph. He’d wait for you. Why?” I responded before her next paragraph: “none of us like Ralph nor his ways. He talks too much. Dad and I just fish. A beer or two, a sandwich or two, an apple and fish. We may pass five whole words other than ‘Sandwich?’ or ‘Beer?’ all day. We ain’t out to converse. Murder Fish. That’s why I wait for dad to have time off midweek to go fish.” Why midweek, she asked, settling in for some understanding of her menfolk, methoughteth. I sighed. Got a glass of milk and a few of her mother’s Viennese-style homemade struedle – the kind with nutmeats and dried and candied fruits, not just apples. “Okay, Mother, Dear. What you want to know is simple. Too damn many fools on the river or in the lakes on weekends and they got no courtesy, running full bore and disturbing the folks fishing with high waves and loud noises. Midweek I take my two days off from the newspaper; Dad pretty much picks his days and hours. And he takes all October off because everyone else thinks Specs (Speckled Perch are more formally called Black Crappie everywhere else but Central Florida , I reckon. Specks are white, densely fleshed and sweet. And some of them broach 4 pounds and are real aggressive with wide mouths and on very light tackle and 2-pound test line can put up an amusing fight. It’s fun. But dad and I also throw out three cane poles each – and he uses some kind of triple-hook affair on each of his poles – fishing in your own county everyone is allowed three cane poles without a license. We have licenses and each of us has lightweight spinning and/or bait-casting rods as well. But, to answer your nosey little inquisition, Mom, we go fishing to give you some time alone. We just hate to fish, but, there it is: Dad would go nuclear meltdown if he had to squire you about town all the time. Reminds, me, he still owes me twenty bucks for taking you grocery shopping at the Navy Base Commissary last month and then to the Base Exchange for other stuff and then to your dressmaker and then drop you off at Shirley’s. Said it was worth it to him to have time to sit and watch teevee.” She smiled sweetly: “You, know, J, that’s a buncha crap. I asked Johnny why he always waited for you to come home from the newspaper in Titusville to go fishing. And he told me: ‘We don’t talk. We just fish. Yeah. Five words past ‘Beer?’ or ‘Sandwich?’ is bout our daily limit. We just go out to murder fish. Everyone else wants to talk or wants to go out after dawn and make it back before noon, or out after noon and back before four. That ain’t fishing!”
      “Okay, I allowed to the lady who bore me: so he can be right once in a Blue Moon. Is that what you wanted to hear?” She just did that enigmatic thing and I went back for another piece of flaky pastry.

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      • And…I recall not mentioning specifics about “The Creek” at which I lunch-fished. It came out a big retention pond my brother Storm and I constructed for the airport – with the proper trees and plants we put in (still working as designed near 30 years later) – which put out clear water through a culvert under an access road and into a small pond which led to the sand-bottomed creekbed. The stream had cut into the groundlevel by nearly six feet and twisted both gently and abruptly. I climed down with the doughball baited small hook on a light test floating line and played the bait out which was attached to a cane-pole cork bobber and let it drift around several bends. Loads of fun. 10- to 14-inch bass with plenty of fight and no parasites which are common among the larger 5-6-8-and-more pounders of the species. As I moved the big hose to newer – and dryer – sections of the pine tree farm I “solved” a decade-long riddle. In 1998 a massive series of storms flowed across the southern portion of Sanford and its airport. A longtime acquaintence – a college history and economics instructor for whom a friend and I babysat in the mid-’60s and again in 1972-ish when I got out of The Marines to finish my college requirements – lived near the airport in a mobile home (after a divorce and children grown up and on their own). I long had encouraged Tom to build at least a 10×10 concrete block “pantry and storm shelter” attached to his trailer for rough weather times and simple storage room. He demured. Too busy managing his retirement accounts. The mid-winter massive storm front moved out of Texas into the Gulf of Mexico late the day before its visit to The Gulf Coast of Florida. My weather radar television showed it as a massive series of storms, almost all carrying the “Bow Echo” signature of nascent rotating thunderstorms and possible tornadic action once the front moved over land – common in these parts – and I set my alarm for 11 p.m. that night so I could watch the storm progress and fired up the National Weather Service stormwatch radio program. What I saw alarmed me. The front instead of being at Tampa Bay heading northeasterly towards me – and Tom, some five miles away – it was much closer and moving more than 60 miles per hour (kilometers? A lot!). The radio weather alert came on as I was reaching for the landline phone – pre-cell days) to call Tom to tell him get out of his trailer NOW and find a ditch and cover up. The phone rang forever. Maybe 10 cycles and then abruptly stopped. No carrier tone on redials. The storm hit my home in Sanford seconds later, howling and the radio howled Take Shelter Yesterday. I went to the interior bathroom and covered myself in several sleeping bags-worth of flying debris protection with my already emplaced important papers, survival gear and a windup portable weather radio. The next day I found out that not only Tom had died – found in the tangled limbs of a tall oak tree a mile or so from his trailer, which also was missing from his property, but three of the other five men I had known since high school also were killed that night by what later was termed a massive half-mile (or more!) wide Enhanced Fujita Scale Category 4- verging on 5-tornado with winds approaching 300 miles per hour. I think there were up to 17 tonadoes recorded that night in a swathe some 30 miles from Sanford South to Saint Cloud (outskirts of Disney World). No one ever reported finding the two missing trailer homes from just South of the Sanford airport. Years went by. I was irrigating pines. I trod the trees checking for water absorption. I stumbled across one massive pile of jumbled I-beem steel twisted like pretzles. I identified two trailers by the remains of the mobile home-wheels-and-axle arrangements. No siding, no interior wooden framing construction, no nothing but rusting-quietly steel I-beams, mute testimony to nature’s wrath in Florida.
        Central Florida from Tampa through Orlando and Sanford and on to Daytona Beach and New Smyrna Beach (including Kennedy Space Center at Cape Canaveral) is the most-lightning-struck part of the Western Hemisphere (and annually we allow untutored aliens – legal and criminal – to come enjoy our weather and water and wicked themeparks without much forewarning at all. I think portions of Thailand receive as much if not more lightning. But no where else in this world – as far as I have been told. I never told Tom’s ex-wife nor his children what I found. I never told them of his and my talks about taking precautions. But I do have all my really imnportant papers, some survival equipment and treasured toys and suchlike in an interior bathroom with several layers of down and modern-filled sleeping bags always prepared. I do not care for – never have; despite some thrill-a-second work in The Marines from Boot Camp onward with or without ropes and climbing gear high off my usually preferred sleeping perch – low and if possible finger-touching distance off the floor. Stops the world from spinning so much if you can grab hold and apply a handbrake. But I do make concessions in case company comes. I actually have a real bed and sometimes I deign to so use. Again. Sorry you had to wade through a lot of extraneousness to find out we gots lots of ‘lectric light shows – with supplied sound effects – for free ’round here. And some times its dangerous.

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