I am using a two-pronged depression fighting approach : drinking coffee and thinking about fishing.
I thought about fishing in the Black Sea. I remembered how I really wanted to catch three rare fish about which I’ve read in books: a fluke (Paralichthys dentatus), a sargan(Belone belone euxini) and a trigla (aka sea rooster) (Trigla lucerna).
I caught my first big fluke in the US, I think. I never caught a sargan, but this eel more than makes up for it. The trigla is a special story. I’ve only read about it in books. I’ve never even heard about somebody catching one. The books described it as an ultra rare, very tasty and beautiful fish. The pictures that I’ve seen in the books portrayed a brightly colored fish with huge iridescent fins. Trigla has an almost mythical status in the Black Sea area. It’s said that it brings bad luck if a fisherman doesn’t release it. Stuff of legends, really.
In the books I’ve read it was described as a fish that makes loud sounds under water. And I know one fish like that. Yes, the favorite prey of underwater hunting of , the sea robin. But the pictures from those books did not look anything like any sea robin that I know. Well, I did a bit of research today, and it turns out that the mythical trigla is in fact a specie of sea robins. The Black Sea trigla has slightly more colorful fins, but looks and behaves almost the same as the kind that I catch here. The dumbass book illustrator did not have a photograph of a trigla and worked from the description.
I find it kind of unsettling that the mythical fish I wanted to catch all of my life in Odessa turned out to be a lowly throwback fish here in the US. This must be symbolic of something or other, but I don’t know what.
Ok, since I started ranting about fishing, here’s a good story.
I went fishing once with Michael Pryor, whom you might know as the president of Fog Creek Software. We went on the Dorothy B VIII for a half day of fluke fishing.
The trip wasn’t going well. The boat was a bit crowded, there was an obnoxious redneck with a loud kid right next to us. And neither of us were catching anything. Well, actually I caught two really big skates. But skates are not fun to catch. It was still nice to be able to get some fresh air, fish and talk, but I was afraid Michael was regretting taking the train all the way from Manhattan to Sheepshead Bay for that.
Exactly the second the captain announced “lines up, let’s go home” Michael got a bite. And caught the biggest damn fluke on the entire boat, effectively winning the pool for the biggest fish. Fishing on that boat for years, I never caught a fluke that big.
The secret, is of course luck, but in addition, we were both fishing with a special kind of a bucktail called the Atomic Bullet. A bucktail is a sinker with a hook attached to it. I never liked those, but I’ve been hearing that the biggest flukes were caught on that. And it looks like that’s true. I’ll be using those this season.
P.S. If you know of any good fishing blogs, please let me know.
Went fishing on Pastime Princess. This time, besides a single skate and a few cunners I caught no throwback fish. I did catch three fat porgies and half a dozen sea bass. The one tog that I caught was short (under 14 inches) :(
What sucked, was that the captain had trouble positioning the ship over shipwrecks (that’s where all the fish are) all morning. Finally, in the very last hour he anchored the ship correctly and people were catching “double headers” (two fish at a time) , but then it was time to go.
And now it’s time for a game show! Let’s play “What the heck is this fish?”