So there I was on Saturday, laying low, minding my own business – by choice – and not doing a damn thing. My sleeping abilities lately have been extremely sub-par, so I slept way in on Saturday and planned on doing nothing until later that night, when my buddy Mike was playing a show at a bar. You know, a recharge day. There is really very little that could have gotten me out of the house that afternoon.
Well, leave it to Erika to find one of that select group of things. About 5 pm she text me asking if I wanted to meet up with her and the Hsaio Liuchiu gang and go shrimp fishing. At first I said, “No, absolutely not.” I’ve never been shrimp fishing before. I realize I lived in New Orleans for seven years, but I never went shrimp fishing. I never even went regular fishing. I’m not sure I know anyone – aside from local Yats – who even know where shrimp come from. So I had no concept of what shrimp fishing was, except what I saw our pal Forrest Gump do in his little movie. So no, I had no interest in dragging myself out of my house, driving to meet them, then driving elsewhere to get on some giant boat and do God-knows-what for God-knows-how-long, only to come home shrimpless and reeking of the fish-stench.
But no, Erika said. We’re not going anywhere else. The shrimp fishing is here. No boat, no nets. Just drive up here, meet us, and sit down here and be lazy and maybe catch shrimp. Reluctantly, I said ok – only because it’s yet another thing that I’ve never done that I can do here.
Now, I’m not what you’d call an avid fisherman. I don’t think I’ve even been fishing in the last 20 years. My grandpa used to take me once a year or so, but I never really liked it even back then. Really, I just went because my grandpa was one of my favorite people in the world. I still adored him even when he yelled at me, which he rarely did. But there was that one time when one of us – him – finally had a bite, and instead of just watching him reel it in, I, in my excitement, moved my pole over right next to his, our lines got tangled, and his white whale got away. Just so you know, I get my temper directly from him; and he was displeased at the sudden, negative turn of events. So those of you who know me probably know what he was like in that aftermath. I don’t think we ever went fishing after that. It was for the best.
Anyway, so yes, it was this big indoor place, right off of a big main road. I walked in, and there was this large-ish rectangular pond in the middle of a dimly lit big room. Erika and the others were all in a row on the opposite side, lines cast in the water. She had been right – I was not going to be exerting much energy here. Excellent.I grabbed a fishin’ pole, and after some incredible clumsiness and awkward baiting – how I didn’t puncture myself or anyone else with the hooks is beyond me – I cast my line into the little indoor shrimp pond.
For the first hour or so, I wasn’t having any semblance of success aside from not casting my line backward. During that span, Johnjohn caught a couple, and Hein got one. The rest of us wondered what we were doing wrong. I was using whatever bait the establishment had – tiny mini shrimps, ground up liver… nothing was working. Then Ryan caught one. My dejection increased.
Johnjohn suggested I try the one kind of bait I hadn’t to that point – I found a whole liver (not a human’s, mind you; that of a smaller animal) and cut it up into little pieces. I baited my hook with a couple of those little liver morsels and cast back into the shrimp pool. And wouldn’t you know it, within five minutes I reeled a little guy in. So all of the boys caught at least one. Erika and Leah were not able to summon the shrimp magic that evening.
I can hear you saying, Ok, you went to some indoor shrimp pool and caught some shrimps… what did you do with said shrimps? Well, I’m glad you asked. They actually had a little barbeque oven on the premises; so Johnjohn skewered them up, salted them down, and threw them in the oven. Five minutes later they were done. And we ate them. Pretty damn good.
And that was the time I went shrimp fishing.
PS – I realized I’ve posted a picture of Forrest Gump here; he is, after all, the most famous shrimp fisherman of my generation. But with that said, I’d like to say something else. And, if, over the course of your life, you only take one piece of advice from me, let this be it: If you ever find yourself in New Orleans, and you’re looking for some good food, please, I beg of you – don’t ever eat at Bubba Gump’s. It’s disgusting, generic tourist tripe; it makes Joe’s Crab Shack look like good eatin’. I’d say harsher things, but my sainted grandmother reads this, and I’m getting off-point, anyway. Just please, trust me. Don’t do it. Great movie. Shitty food.
Anyway, after the jump, enjoy all of pictures from the shrimp fishing! They’re wonderful!