|Yellowfin tuna the catch of the day north of Eureka
A drizzle of rain freshens the air against a backdrop of majestic redwood trees framed in blackberry and wild fern. It is the start of the wet season in Fieldbrook, a small community 20 minutes north of Eureka in the heart of the Redwood Forest. I’m here visiting my friends Jed and Kim Douglas. Jed returned last night from a business trip to San Diego. At the end of the business day last Thursday, Jed boarded the Eclipse, a sport fishing boat bound for the temperature gradient 200 miles off shore. The ride out was uneventful but rough. He said the cook was outstanding, and the skipper ‘Rick’ was a personable fellow. Early Friday morning, after a hearty breakfast at sea, the fishermen rigged their lines, donned their strap-on rod holders and let out their lines. The first fish were hooked within half an hour, and the action just got better.
Yellowfin tuna was the catch of the day. We know it in the fish market as Ahi, one of my personal favorites. They also boated Dorado, also known as Mahi Mahi, another prized fish for the table. Yellowtail, not a tuna fish, was also on the menu. At your favorite sushi bar, you know it as Hamachi. A few Skipjack were boated and a few kept. Jed likes to smoke the oily fish; it is outstanding as a snack with crusty bread and a good brew. I love smoked fish. A sharp mustard sauce served with seared Skipjack or other oily surface fish make a memorable meal.
Today, I’m helping vacuum seal and freeze 70 pounds of fresh fish. Last night, we three tucked in fish tacos made with lightly breaded Mahi Mahi fillets and Kim’s fresh salsa. Jed also provided his downtown brown ale to finish off an incredible meal. The downside was watching both San Francisco teams lose while we ate.
The Mycological Society of Humboldt hosted an overnight trip to the Trinity Alps over the weekend. They have had some good rain and have reported Bolete, Chanterelle and other early species of wild mushrooms. The north coast is usually about a month or less ahead of Sonoma County, so Salt Point is looking good. I love all that the rain promises. “Wait! All that the rain promises,” by David Aurora is the very book you should buy to get you started in the pursuit of wild mushrooms. At 18 bucks and change, you can’t go wrong buying the book. You can still go wrong if you try to identify your mushrooms with photos and text.
On the hunting front, Roger Praplan chef/owner of La Gare in Santa Rosa, did a Bonzai trip to the Marble Mountain Wilderness north of Weaverville. He said there were hardly any deer to look at and only old bear scat. The trout fishing was incredible in Coffee Creek. He said the NFS campground, of the same name, offered hot showers, clean well-appointed campsites and beautiful, high mountain views.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.