SOSSEXI Blog 7/27/12
Once again, for a slew of reasons, I am glad to be a SOSSEXI shareholder. For a recreational fisherman like me, we have officially entered the dog days of summer; there are still plenty of fish out there to catch, but you really have to work hard to get some to the table. Flounder have moved to deeper water with the cod, and the striped bass have moved out of the rivers during the day, only returning at night to feed in big numbers.
The ocean waters have warmed up considerably over the past month, which means one fish should be making his grand entrance soon. I am, of course, referring to the bluefish, much revered as a fighting fish, and much maligned (erroneously!) as an eating fish. In my experience, the arrival of the bluefish often signals the disappearance of the stripers.
I figured since we have been beating the waters in and around the North River for two weekends now with everything from Gibbs Lures to chunks of clams to some of Jack Gartside’s best salt water flies with precious little to show for it that the blues had to be on the way.
We headed to the boat ramp early on Saturday morning, and as you all know, the drizzle and overcast skies didn’t make for much of a boating or beach weekend. Fortunately, it didn’t make for a good yard work weekend, either. Dark days can be great for fishing, though, as the fish lose a little of their ocular advantage, and the pleasure boat traffic diminishes considerably. We moved slowly down the river through the fog, almost as if we were in an eighties Chris DeBurgh video, and I spontaneously recited the only poem I know by heart, Carl Sandburg’s American classic, “Fog.”
“The fog comes
On little cat feet.
It sits looking
Over harbor and city
On silent haunches
And then, moves on.”
We picked up schoolie after schoolie, small stripers not even close to approaching the 28” minimum length to keep, but no big fish and no blues. With the hot coffee gone, the cold, damp breeze coming in off the ocean and lunchtime long gone by, we did what all people do when they’re hungry. We started talking about food, specifically one of our favorite post-fishing sandwiches.
By the way, this post will wrap around to SOSSEXI! Anyways, my husband and I fish weather like this all the time, especially when we are fishing the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby in September and October. We stay in a little cottage in Menemsha, and after fishing from the crack of dawn to midday, we come off the boat and trudge to the only game in town Up-Island, The Bite (many of you are nodding knowingly at this point). It is truly a clam shack, proving one of the quintessential culinary truths; sometimes the smaller the kitchen, the better the food. I always order the same thing, the fish sandwich, and it arrives loosely wrapped in foil from the tiny “order up” window. Usually I’m a New England snob and expect a big piece of juicy cod in my sandwich, but this one has something equally good.
This sandwich is made to be eaten quickly, so we race back to the cottage as fast as our Grunden’s and fishing boots will allow, grab a couple cans of beer and head to the porch. Pealing back the foil, the perfect hot summer sandwich is revealed. On a buttered hamburger bun toasted until it caramelizes on the flat top lolls a big crunchy fried flounder fillet spilling over the edges. Why a slice of American cheese works on a fish sandwich (early McDonald’s Fillet O’ Fish brainwashing?) I will never know, but there it is. A dollop of homemade tartar sauce, a slice of summer tomato and a bright green leaf of curly lettuce, still crunchy because we’ve run all the way home, round out this perfect lunch.
I urge Dave, my husband, to get the boat back to the ramp, onto the trailer and home, because I know that despite our unproductive day of fishing, I, like the rest of the SOSSEXI shareholders, have a packet of flounder fillets just dying to be made into a Menemsha Bite sandwich. Crack a beer, throw on the Olympics, and gold medal for the Americans!
The fish sandwich recipe will be posted soon. Keep an eye out for it!
Submitted by Kathleen Wright