Welcome to Week LXI of 'Fishing Parkland Shorelines'. Like most of us I am a novice fisherman, loving to fish, but far from an expert. In the following weeks I'll attempt to give those anglers who love to fish but just don't have access to a boat, a look at some of the options in the Yorkton area where you can fish from shore, and hopefully catch some fish.
So let's pop into the kitchen for a quick summer dish with fish to start the week.
Well it's not that quick, but it suits with the season of burgers.
Start by frying up some pike. If you like a particular flavour fell free to spice it the way you like it, otherwise it's just a quick fry in butter.
Let the fillets cool, then go to work flaking the pike, primarily as a way to get the bones out. Yes pike have bones, but the extra work is worth it, since they are tasty too.
Put the flaked pike in a bowl, add some chopped green onions, something to bind the mixture, dry bread crumbs, crunched crackers, or a favourite, unsweetened cereal such as corn flakes, and an egg. For flavour try smoky paprika, lemon pepper, some Frank's Red Hot Sauce, and a shake of seasoning salt.
Form the mixture into patties, and set aside for a minute or, two.
You will use those couple of minutes to fry some bacon, and then put the patties into the bacon grease to fry. Keep the bacon warm in the oven, you will need it.
While the patties are cooking take a few dill pickles and grate them, or toss through a food processor, then add some plain prepared mustard and mix.
Use the quick relish on the bottom half of a nice cheese bun.
Then add a pike patty. Give it a squeeze of lime juice.
Top with some feta cheese, a slice of fresh pear, and that bacon you cooked up, and the pike patty burger is ready to serve.
For a full meal cook up some homemade potato fries to go with the burger.
The other day a package arrived at the door.
I love the mail arriving, and couriers dropping off things since it could be a new First Day Cover for my meagre stamp collection, a game to try out for my other passion of board gaming, or new hooks to try out at a favourite spot.
The latter was the case this time, with a selection of hooks from the Eppinger Company, a company best known for their Daredevle® spoons.
Now a review of the hooks in action will be something woven into future articles, as I have opportunity to put them up against finicky pike and walleye, but I thought I'd share a bit of the company's history this week, since it has at least some of its roots here in Canada.
"The Eppinger tradition began in 1906. Lou Eppinger spent a month in the Ontario wilderness, fishing, camping and thinking … all alone. He used a lure of his own design … a spoon weighing two ounces. The metal was hammered out so that it was thinner in the middle and thicker toward the edges," related the company's website.
"When he cast it into the shallows it would swing from side to side, nearly turning over, but always righting itself … kind of like a Dardevle.
"By 1912, Lou turned his prototype into a finished lure, the Osprey®. It caught fish; lots and lots of them. Especially pike, a favorite sport fish in the Midwest.
"In 1918, Lou's nephew Ed came to work in his uncle's shop. They changed the name of the Osprey® to Dardevle® after the "Teufelhunden," or "Devil Dogs", the name given by the Germans to the 4th Marine Brigade – which successfully penetrated and captured the Germans in the Battle of Belleau Woods in 1918. The allies called these U.S. Marines "Dare Devils", the name now used for Eppinger's most successful line of lures …
"The original Dardevle® has since spawned an entire family of lures. Now more than 16,000 different sizes, shapes, and colors of Eppinger lures are available to match every fishing need."
It is neat to read the company remains in control of the founder's family.
"Since 1987, Ed's daughter Karen has been at the helm and is now successfully leading this company into the 21st Century. In 1994, Karen was joined by her daughter Jennifer, keeping this remarkable family-owned tradition alive," states the website.
"Eppinger celebrated its 100 year milestone in 2006 as the leading company and innovator of high-quality fishing lures.
Karen Eppinger proudly notes, "We're still having fun in our business, but we're so busy filling orders for over two million lures a year, we don't go fishing often enough ourselves."
On another topic I was back on the Internet one day when I came across the whimsical, and fantastic art of Wes Ashcraft, and had to learn more, so I fired off some questions so I could share a bit about the artist and his work with my readers.
"My background as an artist, I've been drawing since before I can remember," said Wes.
"My high school didn't have an art program so my first art classes were in college. I attended the College of Southern Idaho and earned an associate's degree in Commercial Art.
"I then attended Utah State University but transferred to Idaho State University where I earned a Bachelor's degree in Fine Arts with an emphasis on ceramics. I was also going to be an art teacher, but plans changed when I got hired on at the City of Pocatello's Water department. That's where I live, Pocatello, ID."
With a natural interest in drawing, and formal college education to help his development, Wes said his art has changed.
"My style has evolved over the years," he said. "I started doing variations of Calvin & Hobbs. I loved how free and expressive his cartoons were! I started experimenting with bigger heads and feet."
And then his focus turned to fish.
"I didn't always draw angler inspired art, I feel like I was drawn to it," offered the artist. "A friend of mine got me into fishing and then my wife, Heather Ashcraft, and I started fishing. Well, she didn't want to touch worms and I was tired of putting worms on for her so I bought a couple fly rods and it exploded from there."
And his art followed.
"The fishing aspect is where I have ended up, I found something I love doing and I like showing a different aspect of fly fishing," said Wes. "I think sometimes fly fishermen can be kind of snooty, but I see a trend towards what I think of as 'punk rock' fishing. People having fun with fishing, people like Marc Crapo, Collins Carlson, and even companies like Blue Halo with their radical colours of rods.
"I love this because fishing should be fun."
That said the artist has a difficult time picking what is his own favourite work.
"I don't really have a favorite piece, every new piece becomes my favorite because each is different and has different challenges," said Wes. "Every once in awhile I have an idea of what I want to do and then I go about working it out. Right now it is a guy standing on a casting deck on a flats skiff from behind, trying to figure out if I want him standing or kneeling."
For Wes the combining of two passions works well.
"I do fish, I love it," he said. "My most memorable catch was at my favorite reservoir. It is an artificial lure and size restriction reservoir and I caught this nice rainbow so I kept it. Well the size limit is 20-inches, as I was backing my pontoon boat to shore I saw a fish and game officer. He came up and started talking to me, he measured my fish, it was 20 1/8-inches long. I quit keeping them after that"
As for his art, he is just starting to take it to a broader audience.
"I have only done student shows, I have only started really displaying my work and mostly online," said Wes. "I'm really excited about the prospects of social media and its positive aspects."
And he sees the Internet connections as a way to get his art to his core audience.
"My primary market is the fly fishing community, they are a great group of people and have been real supportive," said Wes.