Friday, 3 July 2015

scales and prints


Those mature chinooks migrating in from the north require some real fishing. As I noted in the previous post about Claude's Tyee, they are no longer feeding. Or at least they are being very careful about it. Their priority now is getting home to spawn. The body cavity that has room for an expanding stomach to put food in gradually becomes full of eggs or milt, so eventually there will be no room for food, and the fish will be living off of stored energy in fats and oils. We catch salmon along this continuum from fish that are eating and growing like teenagers, to cautious returning veterans.

One of the interesting features of these maturing fish is that the scales become tight and flatten smoothly to the body. This is in contrast to the rapidly growing fish that have growing scales with rougher and open edges that often come loose when they are netted.  You can see examples of this in my last recent posts, with a photo showing a fish with many scales knocked off.

Someone who cares a great deal about the exact features of the scales is my friend Eiji Umemura who makes prints of fish.  His work is exquisite in quality and detail. Eiji actually inks the fish and transfers that image to fine cloth.  This makes a work of art that is also an exact image of the fish. He paints the eye in by hand and adds some more careful details such as spots. This is a wonderful alternative to taxidermy. You can learn more about Eiji and fish prints at his website . Also , he is an excellent fishing guide who speaks Japanese and English.

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