Gone Fishin’

My salmon caught with my own hands!Foreigners, locals and Koreans from around the country came to Yang Yang, a small coastal city for the annual Salmon Festival.  Salmon that were spawned in Namdaecheon Stream swim to the East Sea to grow for three to five years in the Bering Sea before returning to Namdaecheon Stream between late October and November.  This is prime time to catch a big one.For this event, the office of Yangyang prepares a total of about 3,000 salmon, some supplied by the Yangyang Naesumyeon Research Center and others netted by professional fishers. The salmon are then released in part of the stream about 30 centimeters deep, which is blocked by a net on either end.
I hope Uncle Bill is proud, because I will never do such a thing again.  I felt like a murderer.  As Sally and I ganged up on one big slimy sucker, she grabbed hold of it’s tail with a firm grip, lifted it out of the water and raised it in the air, feeling quite proud and accomplished.  As we got a good hold on him and were about to take him to shore, a stream of thousands of eggs start shooting out of his *?*?*?*  Not quite sure what you call that part of a fish?  Sally and I shrilled and shrieked at the top of our lungs, almost dropping our catch back into the water, but “what you start, you must finish”, I think the old saying goes?  You could feel the poor fish’s size shrinking as she released her spawn. After we sorrowfully carried her back to shore, volunteers gave out white plastic bags in which we were to suffocate the newly caught fish in the bag.  Sally, speechless handed her over to me to do the final damage.  At this point, I was numb and traumatized.  I placed the squirming fish into the bag, saying one last prayer for his soul to go to fishy heaven.  I not only killed her, but also all her children!I know, I know what you all are thinking.  They are just fish.  Relax.  The damage is done and now I can enjoy eating salmon for a while, as half of my freezer is now stocked up with fillets!  It didn’t take too long to recuperate, recollect and relax so I could pose with the now dead big catch for the event’s photographer, hoping I would be a celebrity in the local paper.

We cleaned off our fish at waited in the hour long line to get it cleaned out, chopped up and packed with ice, all ready to transport back on our bus journey home.  The bus journey home ended up being over 7 hours long with 1 bus transfer, which made for a terribly long and exhausting Sunday, but an experience that will go down in the books forever!  Now I know that I am not cut out to be a hunter, only gatherer.  Set me off into the woods to collect nuts and berries all day long, but it’s safe to say that I will never kill a living creature again, and especially not with my bare hands!

“The charm of fishing is that it is the pursuit of what is elusive but attainable, a perpetual series of occasions for hope”

-John Buchan

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