It occurs to me that in 35 #ForageFriday posts that I have yet to put any meat on the table. Also, with the onset of winter finding edible plants is definitely a bit of a challenge. So when I found the fishing photos in my archive I knew that I had to include them in my Forage Friday posts.
Thanks to Jack Spyrco of The Survival Podcast my definition of survival skills has expanded to include things that benefit every day life and not just the worst case scenario. I’ve tried to reflect this take on things in my Forage Friday posts and provide you with things that have a potential to wild foods that can be given space to grow and flourish in off lawn areas or even in a garden setting. With fish it’s a little more of a challenge. Most of us don’t have ponds on our land and for those in an urban environment installing a pound a pond large enough to accommodate a reliable stock if food fish may not be possible. For those folks I’d recommend that you look into something like aquaponics. Otherwise you’ll need to find a body of water where you can drop a line. Pollution is a huge concern with fish. The mercury found in tuna is of particular importance because it accumulates in the fish. While humans have a way of clearing mercy from the body over consumption of contaminated fish can lead to health problems. Freshwater fish can also be contaminated and mercury is just one of the potential substances that you need to avoid. Fortunately, your local fish and wildlife conservation service will have a list of areas where the fish should not be eaten.
As far as aquaponics and aquaculture goes I really don’t have experience beyond a tank of tropical fish from the pet store. The main concerns of caring for them were keeping the tank clean and the fish healthy. I can only presume that those concerns get larger when you talk about tanks that are in the thousands of gallons. Regular maintenance seems to be key there. Fortunately for me, I practically live in water-world. There’s at least 5 fishable rivers and a multitude of smaller streams as well as a lake with 50 miles of shoreline all within a short drive of my home. Artificial resources like stock tanks would guarantee that I would have something for the grill but I just haven’t made the investment. The economic potential of supplying fresh fish to farmers markets and restaurants might just be worthy of the effort one day and could even be a good cottage industry for someone who’s willing to learn the techniques.
For the rest of us fishing is a form of foraging. It’s a way to connect with nature and enjoy the simple blessing of partaking in God’s creation. We crave the ambiance of the life in wild places and the challenges of the sport side of fishing.
It’s easy to lose your situational awareness when you so focused on that perfect casting technique. This power line above one of the more popular fishing holes in my area has a collection of tackle from those who became so lost in the activity that they forgot to look up.
Speaking of those iconic red and white bobers hanging from the cable, I’ve come to believe that in some areas that the fish have learned to avoid them. I’ve tossed them out of my kit in favor of natural cork. Cork is made from tree bark and tree bark is naturally found in the water. The fish are actually attracted to it and don’t associate it with the hook.
In most of the USA game fish like bass, catfish and pearch are regulated and techniques like weirs and spears are strictly prohibited. However, not all fish are considered game fish ( check your local regulations) and can be taken with a bow and arrow.
The tricky part of bow fishing is learning how to aim. Because the water bends the light the fish appear a little higher in the water than they actually are.
The image here shows the refraction of the light making the fish appear in a place where they are not. Bass and Bluegills are not legal to take with a bow but if it was you’d need to be able to estimate how low to aim.
Once you’ve got the fish out of the water and cleaned there’s as many ways to cook the fish as there are fish in the sea. My favorite way is to simply open the robs and prop it up over a pile of hot coals. A Native American way of cooking fish is to wrap it aromatic leaves and seal it in wild clay from the river bank. The whole package is buried directly in the hot coals and slow roasted. Once it’s done you just crack the clay open and dig in.
I have more to say about fish and fishing but I think I’ll save it for a later date. For now I hope that you have a blessed day!
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