Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Copper River Copper's



The famous Copper River Salmon fishery opened last Thursday and the first cargo planeload of fish arrived at the SEattle airport less that 24 hours later. Alaska Airlines unloaded about 20,000 pounds of FRESH fish and the first King Salmon was "caught" by University of Washington Husky Football coach Steve Sarkisian and the ceremonial 40 pound "first fish" was sold at a charity auction. With a string of sunny days and higher than normal temps, fishing fever has officially struck Alaskans. We're a sport fishing family and we'll be pulling our gear out from winter storage, checking reels, updating line, sharpening hooks, tying some flies and practicing my fly casting with the new Fly Rod I got last Mother's Day. The first time I was practicing my cast in the street, I managed to cast back into a low slung electrical line... then I cast forward, got the hooked snagged on a small rock in the road, and when I felt the resistance, instinct took over and I set the hook and had myself a rockfish!

With last week's opener, it seemed fitting that a copper salmon wall sculpture was ordered by a customer. This week I plasma cut out the metal copper salmon and because copper is a non-ferrous metal I will cold rivet the fish to the welded steel back plates. I've hand bent round stock and welded the back structure for support, added some rust patina finish to the steel and after heat treating the copper I'll hand rivet each fish in place. I used to hand cut all my copper work using tin snips, but when I started developing Popeye forearms and 
felt freakish carpel tunnel pangs, I switched to using the plasma cutter. After heat treating with my torch, the copper fish will have a beautiful orange-burgundy, iridized sheen covering their bodies.

My normal rule of (green)thumb for planting the garden and pots is to wait until Memorial Day weekend, but
 due to our beautiful warm weather I couldn't resist getting a few things into some terra cotta pots. I found this lovely ground cover in a six-pack at the Nursery and potted a couple of the cells for the deck. The perennial is called Golden Scotch Moss and in a few weeks, tiny white-purple flowers should be blooming on top of the velvety cover. We've been dining every night out on the deck and have had the grill going with a solid menu featuring "turf" beef or chicken. The market price at the seafood counter for the fresh caught Copper River Salmon was hovering around $22.95 lb... though tasty, we'll need to wait until we can catch our own too add a bit of "surf" to our diet and the grill!

7 comments:

Dolores said...

I love the ground cover only they called it Irish moss at the place I bought it. The fish wall sculpture is gorgeous - even if it's not yet finished. My daughter and son-in-law do a lot of fishing. They used to live in northern Ontario but now live in BC so I imagine they will be catching and cooking whatever fish is in the area. Good luck on your fishing expedition.

Linda Starr said...

Your copper salmon are looking great. I happen to love salmon, most times we get the farm raised in the grocery here with "color" added, Ugh. I hope to take up fishing again one of these days when we start traveling again, nothing better than fresh caught "wild" fish.

cindy shake said...

Hi Dolores, thanks for the post. Yes, I had some Irish Moss last year too, and I think it had a larger white flower that bloomed...(?) This seems to be a bit different. Yes, I ready to go fishing!!

Hi Linda! Isn't wild caught fish the best?! We like to take a fresh caught fish and wrap it in foil with butter, garlic, a bit of salt & pepper, and if we're feeling fancy, some lemon and onion slices...wrap it up and toss it on the camp fire. Pop open a chilled Alaskan Amber -swat the mosquitos and enjoy -mmmmm.

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...

Popeye arms!

cindy shake said...

Gary, guys at the metal shop where I buy most of my sheet material couldn't believe I used to hand cut so much of my copper, then I would flex my forearm... oooo baby! But then my blouses started to fit weird...

Cynthia said...

The copper salmon sculpture is coming along nicely - love it!

I love fresh salmon - but you can imagine the cost in land locked Denver. I won't buy the cheap - dye infused farm raised crap they try to pass off as salmon either.

cindy shake said...

Hi Cynthia- I mistakenly bought some Farmed Salmon fillets...once. They tasted like how a fish tank smells! Sadly, right now at the market, the Copper River Kings are $23 a lb. -yummy a bit rich for our pocketbook so we'll need to wait for a run of Reds and Silvers which are more affordable for our family.