The right place at the right time
The Sportsmanís Report
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By Bill Hanson  August 23, 2013 12:00 am

Sometimes, you just have to be in the right place at the right time with the right equipment. Chef and photographer Roger Praplan joined his friends Tuesday on a fishing trip to Lake Sonoma. 

They were after steelhead trout and trolled slow and deep. No steelheads were boated but many bass, big ones, were. They were at 40 feet with a “Teeny Bikini” fly at the end of an 18-inch leader. The bass were hitting other offerings, and then the amazing happened. Roger had taken out his camera to get a shot of a bald eagle that had been circling…very cool. Then, the bird went into a steep dive very close to the boat and nailed a fish near the surface. He captured all of it on “film” and sent in a copy for you to admire.


Tuna is the word

On the ocean fishing front, the news from Eureka is Tuna, tuna, tuna. Fishermen are hitting limits only 45 miles out. They are being sold off the boats on Woodly Island to those of us unable to catch our own. The albacore is not the more sought after Yellow Fin or the prized Blue Fin tuna, but it is the fish you eat when you open a can for a sandwich or tuna salad.

One of my favorite ways to cook whole tuna is to make deep slashes in the heavy fillet area behind the head, then add lemon wedges, sliced onion and salt and pepper to the cavity and around the fish. Wrap it in several layers of foil and cook over indirect heat on your barbeque grill for an hour or so. Remove and discard the overcooked vegetation and plate it whole. Present with a side dish of Jasmine rice, Hoisin sauce and fiery red sauce, fresh lemon and lime wedges round out the fish offering. Add a homemade tartar sauce for the purist at your table. Leftovers are, well tuna.  

The salmon season has become the best in memory for moss back fishermen. Last year was epic. Limits of king salmon are still the rule, few are over 40 pounds, but the smaller fish are better eating in my opinion. Pacific Halibut have moved in and are taking drift baits. Grilled fresh Halibut steak seared in peanut oil and served with a garlic-herb butter and fresh lime is one of finest eating experiences possible.


Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.

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