Saturday, September 2, 2017

Freediving for Abalone, Spearfishing, Huckleberries, and More Figs!

"Man it ain't my fault, I just live the way I talk!" - Morgan Wallen

Years ago our buddy John Banks was watching spearfishing videos that my brother, my friends Kirby, Sam and I had put on Youtube. He saw our dive floats (modified body boards with bungees and net bags to carry our catches). He liked the idea so much that John designed the "Banks board" pictured above! They come equipped with bungees for carrying spearguns and pole spears, a dry hatch, a loop at the bow to attach a floatline, and a huge mesh bag that has plenty of room for abalone gauges, irons, tags, and way more room left over even when it's loaded up with a catch as pictured above! 

Check them out!

Well, as you can see from the image above, we had a nice and productive time freediving and spearfishing the California North Coast the other day! I got abalone, blue rockfish, a black rockfish, a greenling, a black and yellow rockfish , and my brother speared that fine cabezon!

When I lived seaside I would have only taken half of this catch knowing that I could return soon for more. Now that I am landlocked in the central valley however, I decided to do my best to stock the freezer back home and feed my extended family with a fish fry back at camp! That being said, I was selecting that black and those blues from schools numbering well over one hundred! The abalone were a days limit taken from an area where I counted around 25 on a single breath of air. Freedive spearfishing is the single most selective and sustainable method of bringing seafood to the table!

 Mom made Spanish rice and beans while I battered and fried the fish. All 15 of us ate like royalty! 

Just as exciting as the clear waters we encountered while diving was the abundance of perfectly ripe huckleberries growing around camp!

Red huckleberry (left) and blue huckleberry (right) plants (blue is way sweeter!)

I couldn't stop picking them...and neither could my cousin's daughter! Though I think only a third of her harvest made it into the bag because they were so darn good!

My cousin's little ones wanted to see some tide pools and try a little fishing the next day so we took them to a secret cove. We watched harbor seals play in the surf about ten feet away while we fished. 

My brother and I had not planned on hook and line fishing so we used hand lines and hobo fishing rigs.

Justin rigging up a hobo fishing rig with a sprite bottle for a reel

I can't believe I landed such a nice fish on such a simple hand-line rig!

That afternoon I pounded my dad's abalone and we fried up another feast that night!

Mom made some awesome blackberry cobbler which we cooked in the Dutch Oven.

The next morning we had a great campfire breakfast complete with mom's Dutch Oven biscuits!

It was a great weekend to say the least! 

On the way home I stopped at the family orchard to see the Gravenstein apples in full swing and the blackberries just starting to mature!

When I returned to the central valley, it was tough to get out foraging in the 100 degree heat...
...but I did anyways! The figs are perfect right now! And the fig preserves are absolutely fantastic!

I am gonna be cooking up the rest of the abalone tonight for a party so that should be a heck of a good time!

Well, I hear tell the salmon are running in the delta and making their way up the rivers...I sure hope to be there to greet them!

Keep the old ways alive!

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Fig Season: Balsamic Fig Pizza

"Let your hair down, hair down, get you some of this laid on back. Kick your shoes off, kick 'em off, get you some of this slow down fast! I'll take you up and down these hollers and hills, let me show you how country feels!" - Randy Houser

My girl and I got out for a little early fig season harvest the other day. All we needed was a dozen or so to pair with caramelized onion, goat cheese, baked chicken, and a splash of balsamic vinegar for a world class pizza.  

Finding enough for our little feast was no issue at all.

The fruit were bursting with flavor!

And we were happy as clams with our quarry.
Next, we grabbed a few goodies from the local store and fired up the oven as we chopped away and let the crust rise.

The pizza was awesome to say the least! There's a reason this is a standard meal every fig season!

Well, I have a few more lines to write on a report I need to finish up today, then it's off to the coast for some freediving for abalone and maybe a little berry harvesting as well!

Keep the old ways alive!

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Octopus Poki and Other Related Ramblings

I got out with my girl the other day for a little camping and ocean fishing on the north coast. It was absolutely beautiful!

Hanging out in redwood forests and camping on the bluffs and seashores was a one of a kind experience!

Diane made some killer green onion pancakes for the road...

After a good long day on the water we also reeled in some nice fish, including this sizable cabezon!

The fish and garlic-scallion chips we made were incredible!

A little whitewater rafting with my girl and some good friends also ended up being a great change of pace!

Then I was off to the California Channel Islands for eight days of spearfishing fun.

I had to punch a Moko shark a few times when he tried to steal my fish...but I won!

Upon my return with octopus, scallops, and fish in hand, we cooked up a hell of a nice feast with our friend Susan.

Keep the old ways alive!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Shenanigans: Plum Jam, Wild Trout, Bowfishing Carp, and Strawberry Ice Cream

We are gearing up to launch a new Youtube channel dedicated to our California hunter-gatherer lifestyle in a few weeks. As a result I have not been snapping many pics, but instead have been compiling footage of outdoors adventures. I will keep you posted as to when the vlog begins!

In the meantime, here's a little rundown of a few things we've been up to lately. Diane and I got some killer strawberries at a farm stand the other day and made some exquisite strawberry ice cream!

It was absolutely incredible! We also harvested some of the summer's first blackberries (which we froze and I have yet to use). The bass bite is back on as is the trout action! While I forgot to snap a photo in the field, here's a couple of dinner last night!

This was a really tasty snow-melt-run wild trout dinner!

And Martijn and I got out with the bows he made us from Osage Orange we cut last year in pursuit of Asian Carp!

The Santa Rosa plums were ripening like crazy at the family orchard, so I harvested a bunch and my girl and I made a small batch of incredible plum jam too!

Well, I'm gonna go try to shoot some more rabbit hunting video! Wish me luck!

Keep the old ways alive!