Monday, August 9, 2010

Canadians Catching Skookum Lingcod.

Why start a blog? Well, it’s an excellent forum in which to prove you ARE NOT NUTS to your fellow-classmates. Case in point:

A few months ago, we had an entire school day devoted to fish; a fish expert and her Michelin-star chef husband came in with a large box of swimmers and taught us all sorts of fishy things.

At one point in the lesson our teacher held up a salt-water ling-cod, prompting me to raise my hand and ask:

“Are there ling-cod in freshwater? No? Well that’s strange, because my Dad and I used to go fishing at a lake in northern BC and he’d set night lines for ling-cod, then when we caught one he’d nail it by its head to a tree.”

This statement, unsurprisingly, got a reaction from the class and from it I learned that:

a) What we caught, according to her, weren't ling-cod.

b) I didn’t actually know why my Dad nailed the fish to a tree. As a child, apparently there were certain things I accepted without question.

c) I am, short of living in an igloo, everything my classmates and their cliché-ed view of Canadians expect me to be. Where do I spend my summers? In the woods with plaid-wearing treeplanters. Are there moose where I live? Of course, they always used to be in our backyard before my dad put a fence up. Have I eaten moose? Yes, because my neighbour hunts them. Does it get freezing cold in the winter? In Prince George, absolutely. Do I say eh? ALL THE TIME.

The point of this story is that not only am I one big walking Canuck, but it turns out there is such a thing as a freshwater ling-cod (though that’s a BC nickname for them and their real name is Burbot). You have to set nightlines for them because they are bottom-feeders, and my Dad explained to me that nailing them to a tree makes them easier to skin. So I’m not nuts, I was just using BC vocabulary in Italy, which also turns out to be a problem when employing the adjective ‘skookum.’

I’d like to tell my dad that camping each summer in the middle of Carp Lake was one of the greatest highlights of my childhood. I don’t really think a kid needs Disneyland when they’ve got a lake and an island to themselves for entertainment. I also think that if you nailed anything to a tree at Disneyland, there would be problems.

Thanks Dad.


  1. Oh Carp Lake. Obviously I love this post. In fact, I think that may even be me sitting behind you in the canoe?

  2. You haven't changed much in that picture, you still have such a beautiful face. You dad however has become a tad bit greyer, and he is now missing that moustache.