Wednesday, 2 August 2017

A Voyage with U Catch'Em Charters

This is not exactly an efficient way to acquire local food, but when Mr. Ferdzy's cousin was here from California last week, he wanted to go fishing. So, after living in Meaford for 9 years, we finally went out on the water for a few hours in a boat.

Jeff Brattain runs U Catch'Em charter boat trips out of Meaford harbour. Mr Ferdzy's cousin - let's call him Seth, because that's his name - was luckily able to set something up on short notice. We've been telling him for years that this is a great area for his huntin' and fishin' interests but I don't think he took us too seriously until he actually got up here.

At any rate, we were booked for 4 hours from 5:00 pm to 9:00pm. Fishing trips run either in the morning or evening; fish are most active in searching for food during those times.

The boat was plenty large for the 5 of us, including Jeff, and quite comfortable in the cabin. Good thing; there was a fair bit of rain during the trip. It was fascinating to watch the sonar screen by the steering wheel and see just how many fish we were passing over.

Salmon and lake, brown, or rainbow trout were the fish we were hoping and expecting to catch. Above, Jeff selects some lures to set on the lines.

We got one! We got one! Our first catch was a fairly small salmon; a nice meal for 2 people.

Admittedly, a lot of the trip looked like this, and that was after it cleared up a bit. Still it was extremely enjoyable to be out on the water. At least it was very smooth sailing as there was no wind.

Alas, after that first fish we only caught one more; a rainbow trout that was a fair bit larger. I think you are allowed to catch up to 2 fish per each license you acquire, but of course there is no guarantee that the fish will bite and indeed they mostly didn't. It's all a matter of luck!

There they are; then they were rapidly gutted by Jeff and put in a bag for us to take home. I have to say, this sort of trip makes it amazingly easy for the person who has never fished before to try their hand at it.

One interesting thing I learned on this trip is that salmon were introduced to the great lakes fairly recently. I asked about smelts, which used to be a spring time tradition, available in the supermarkets when I was a kid. They disappeared when I was in my teens, and apparently it's because the salmon have eaten them in huge numbers! There are not enough left to support a fishery.

Seth left the larger rainbow trout with us, and we ate half of it the next day for lunch. So fresh and good! I think most of our fish will continue to come from the grocery store...  but this was an excellent way to enjoy some time on the water and see Meaford from a new perspective.

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