Category Archives: current events

Sell your Rod while YOu Can

My reaction was to slide under the desk and start looking for all that 9mm I had squirreled away for the Zombie Apocalypse.  At this late stage, a life spent torturing fish (and worse, documenting same) have earned me a rarified spot right up there with Osama Bin Laden and Uncle Adolph.

As scientists have been telling us for many years – fish do feel pain when hooked, only now they’ve discovered the worst, that they can remember who done this to them and can recognize human faces from underwater …

(Queue the Jaws soundtrack …)

“… have impressive pattern discrimination abilities, but also provides evidence that a vertebrate lacking a neocortex and without an evolutionary prerogative to discriminate human faces, can nonetheless do so to a high degree of accuracy.

Jesus. We’re screwed. The only truly good news is that fish don’t have either Hellfire missiles or drones, so fleeing the parking lot swathed in Hoodie and sunglasses may get you to the Interstate.


It’s tough to acknowledge that PETA was right all along, and while we’ll walk soft and sheepishly avoid their gaze, their smugness will evaporate when the first near-sighted Salmon detonates itself in the reefer of that Whole Foods delivery truck on the Causeway.

Fly tiers will be the first culled given that Chickens are looking to settle scores for a half-century of heavy handed anglers wrenching hackle off their backside.

“Chickens (Gallus gallus domesticus)19 and jungle crows (Corvus macrorhynchos)23 can also discriminate pictures of human faces”

The upside being all them stuffy “featherwing Salmon guys” are even deeper in the Hurt Locker.

Exciting New Ways to Extinct Fish

While some had a premonition and some knew, the fact that it’s here suggests a great deal of magazine fodder will be spent gnashing teeth over what constitutes angling privacy, what’s the radius around the angler considered acceptable “air rights”, and whether “low holing” the SOB next to you with a drone carries the same censure as doing it in person.


… I’m not even going to mention whether it’s polite to zoom in on the fly he’s using, or whether you’ll simply make a fast pass to snip his fly line in mid-air …

Drones used to scout for visible fish – humming up and downstream, colliding with your cast – and whose owner operator is faceless and distant, and only appears if you disable his “pet” with a rock.

Learn about the IoT, the Internet of Things, and ask yourself would a small solar camera and IP address ever get cheap enough to mount over all the best holes ? Why wouldn’t the “Wall Of Rising Fish” at your fly shop be a source of wonderment? Instead of asking the fellow behind the counter whether there’s any action on the Creek, why wouldn’t you just check the camera at the Powerhouse?

Bold New World, and if you don’t the Warden will – as budget cuts means he’s driving less , and likely orbiting in an agency Predator instead … and the first sumbitch over limit gets a Hellfire up his tail pipe …

Roger Blue Leader, it’s Fox One on the Red Honda in the Parking Lot.”

How Misery surely Loves company

With the exception of male models in carefully creased fishing vests hawking angling gear in magazines, I’ve been reluctant to piss on fellow members of the angling brotherhood. Ditto for television and radio personalities, as I’ve assumed them to be reasonably honest versus an avaricious SOB, whose focus is to promote their guide service. Most sins of exaggeration or inaccuracy chalked up to the notion that  angling media are akin to weather people; they mean well, but rarely get the forecast correct.

That’s a nicety I’ll no longer observe.

After six or seven weeks scrimmaging with Lake Berryessa in hopes the “top water bite” would materialize, I’m convinced we won’t have one this year – compliments of the California drought.

This being in sharp contrast to the pundits on the Bob Simm’s radio hour, which insists that anything with fins is climbing the bank begging to be hooked – on dry land even.

Personal observation and discussions with fellow fishermen suggests no one can figure out where the fish are – and that extends to the Kokanee Salmon and anything else plying the waters of that drainage.

Us fly fishermen, ever mindful of Science, have always insisted on the plausible explanation and Latin-tinged theorem, rather than relying on the more mystical,  “… use the Big Red Sumbitch – Let God Sort Them Out” approach popular with bass fishermen everywhere.

While much is known about river dynamics and flowing water, lakes have always proven a bit of enigma for fly fisherman. We look for the same things we see on rivers; bugs, differing currents, weather, and cover, but we’re ill at ease given that lake fishing exposes the soft underbelly of fly fishing – how poorly our tackle sinks and how deep water is our absolute undoing.

2015 Drought

I took the above picture of Berryessa’s banks in June of last year, just before the blast furnace of summer hit the area.

The Grass Belt is the historic fill level of the lake. If the lake is full, that water will rise to that region, about 10-30 feet from the tree line. The Brush Belt is the area exposed during the 2014 drought year. It has had seeds drift into that area from both wind and receding waters, and the growth has been buttressed by what little moisture fell during the 2014 Winter and Spring of 2015. The Just Exposed Belt is the area that has receded during the meager 2015 Spring, and will dry further as the 2015 Summer bakes the area.

By the end of Summer 2015, the loss of water had exposed nearly 200 feet of bank on the steeper canyon areas – which translated into half a mile or more of shallows exposed in the wider portions of the lake.

This Spring we had one superb storm that lifted the lake level at least 30 feet from its 2015 low point. On the shallow ends of the lake those flats exposed were reclaimed by the waters, leaving shore anglers the ability to cast only to the recently reclaimed area, now thinly covered with water.

Clue 1: Those ain’t weeds, those are Stems

In the bays formed by the undulating shoreline, the sudden glut of water had covered the exposed soil in wooden debris and  terrestrial plant stems. No leaves or greenery suggesting they were of recent vintage, rather they were sodden and waterlogged, with enough woody material to lift them to the surface, where the wavelets formed by the boat traffic piled them in heaps at water’s edge.

Looking at the above picture, and remembering the sequence of events – suggested this was the remnants of the Brush Belt. Once lush and green during Spring, now dried and dead from Summer, and forced underwater by the rising lake.

The idle currents near the shore break the stems into pieces, and they have enough pithy material to float ashore. These stems represent the only cover remaining underwater, leaving a featureless dirt embankment with no cover for hiding or ambush.

Clue 2: Where’s the forage?

Any self respecting minnow knows immersion in water teeming with hungry and voracious predators, requires both cover  and shade, things that you can hide among or behind, anything that allows the minnow school to pursue insects and forage suitable for their survival

These schools of bait were visible all of last year. Weed beds and plant growth would die once the water receded and exposed them to the harsh daytime temps, but the schools of forage fish would recede with the water – as the weeds blanketed the lake floor.

Add thirty feet of water delivered over a single week of runoff, and you have many hundreds of feet of dead soil now covered with water, but lack weeds, shade, or cover of any kind.

No cover means no bait, and that means no fish other than the occasional cruising bass.

Clue 3: Where are the beds?

Bass spawn in shallow water, leaving scarred whitish areas that the female sweeps clean with her tail. Often she stays on the bed, which is part of the allure of the Spring top water bite … big fish, shallow water, and the desire to kill anything approaching the nest.

Bass anglers have always taken advantage of this phenomenon with great glee, as there’s nothing more exciting then the visual element associated with casting at visible fish. The notion of “cradle robbing” apparently is suspended for the duration of the festivities …

This year I have seen only a single bed – covered by a solitary fish. It was in a back bay whose bottom had lots of algae and cover, suggesting bass also look for cover and shade to offer protection from predators.

The clean dirt areas are devoid of life. No beds visible, almost no foliage or weed growth, and few fish prowling for food.


The above photo shows a “dead zone” bank. All dirt, no foliage of any kind as it was dried and desiccated by 2015’s summer sun. Note the pithy debris at water’s edge – mostly dried stems and dried thistle clumps (also shown in the water).

This lack of foliage means the dust in the soil leeches into the water as soon as boat wakes bathe the area. This thick band of dirty water provides the only cover for many hundreds of feet, and I always keep a weather eye out for signs of baitfish. So far, nothing.

Conclusion: Boat fishermen are better off

With no cover available to harbor baitfish, and with the water depth denying us that area of the lake that still has cover, my dismal conclusion is that the fish, their beds, and the minnow forage, are all too far from shore for bank fishermen to take part.

Six trips, in as many weeks, has yielded no fish activity of any kind.

I’ve not seen a boat angler catch a fish either – as many are fishing in close to the bank – consistent with a traditional wet year. I’m thinking that deeper water still retaining weeds and cover are where the fish are and the typical mobile bass angler is motoring  past them enroute to joining me in the Dead Zone.

Like Misery I surely loves the company, but I wish they would heed my “wave off.”

Phishers of Men


As fishing involves pals, pals bring beer, and beer feeds bravado, there’s always a wager about which fellow will return home as the Outdoorsman Supreme, the fellow who retains bragging rights until he risks his crown on the next trip …

There are plenty that take part in the “first, biggest, and most-est” ritual; some with little intention to follow up on the boast, yet just as many take this pledge all too seriously, rising early and fishing late to take advantage of every opportunity.

Living at the apex of the food chain imparts a certain arrogance in all this,  and were we plucked from  our campsites by a hotdogs with hidden treble hooks, like fish, we might be a bit less boastful of our intentions – or a bit quieter while in the woods.

It turns out that’s exactly what’s transpired.

While we’ve not had fishermen disappear from their beds or fellows drag themselves back to the campsite mumbling about plasticine Big Macs tempting them on the trail ( each fitted with a 3/0 stainless), it appears we’ve been predated upon without our knowledge.

As the nature of the conversation I had with an agency representative implied litigation was forthcoming, and as I’d just as soon avoid same, allow me to be a bit cagey…

It appears a fishing website purporting to sell fishing licenses for all fifty states is about to be shut down, as it was solely used to collect the credit cards and personal information of fishermen. This “Phishing” web site was seeded to rank highly with Google search, so that the unwary might query for “fishing licenses online” and think they were transacting with a vendor or agent for their various Fish & Game departments.

It appears that California at minimum is on the warpath to close the site, but the damage is done already. No licenses were received, and all PII (personally identifiable information) data and credit cards entered are at risk …

No. I’ll not link to the site – nor reference it by name. These types of sites can link hostile code in an ad or a web page, and I’d be serving you all more trouble … 

I think they get bragging rights however, as the rest of us got owned.

It might have been that “red sea” reference

At some point a fellow simply has to wonder if he’s offended God.

Last week’s pitiful post on hot temperatures, oppressive drought, gasping fish uninterested in eating, and my attempt to remain positive in the face of overwhelming adversity, framed by my resolve to return this weekend to repeat my earlier adventure.


Now I have a new problem.

Roads closed, only 5% containment, and the fish thumbing their collective nose at me again …

I figure a plague of locusts are next, but that might not be all bad ..

Hopefully it tastes like Chicken

I suppose it’s a study on trade imbalances and deficits, but California may lead the nation in Sushi consumption –  yet is dead last in angler participation.

According to the U.S. Census, 10% of California’s population fished in 2001, tied for the 46th place in participation. Ten years later, California’s fishing participation rate plummeted to just 6% and ranks dead last in the nationCalifornia Sportfishing League

The California Sportfishing League points to the high cost of fishing licenses coupled with our license’s validity being based on the calendar year versus 12 months from the date of purchase like other states.


But I’m not so sure.

My casual contact with non-sportsmen suggest blood sports are on the way out. The evening news points to every gun owner shooting up his workplace, and fishermen killing what they can, and the uninitiated lack balance and counterpoint to this steady barrage of mis-information.

Television and the Internet don’t seem to be aiding us much. Most of the angling available to general broadcast channels feature commercial tuna and Alaskan King Crab boats – and everything coming aboard is stuffed below decks immediately.

Angling organizations and clubs have lamented for at least a decade on our inability to appeal to youth, and us longtime practitioners dwindle as age and frailty catches up with us.

Waters are polluted and wild fish don’t come snuggled in antiseptic Saran Wrap, and despite doctors urging us to consume anything with fins, non-anglers are wary and unlikely to replace a hamburger and fries with farm-raised Tilapia.

Now that we’re fixated on Invasive species and fish farming, from the public’s perspective it may reinforce the notion that GMO, tanker bilges, and salmon lice merely prove we’re as inept at breeding as we are at long term conservation.

Fly fishing hasn’t helped with our dogged insistence that the buy-in of gear, outer wear, and titanium vest fodder requires us to dump $5000 before we can learn to cast.

… and don’t forget the “end game” for all that capital investment is a 10” trout that was fed dog kibble prior to being shat into the creek for your pleasure. Five Grand for a wriggling fish you’d as soon toe into the underbrush in not a compelling proposition.

Add into this mix a half dozen agribusiness-friendly Governors and their attendant legislatures, a Fish and Wildlife organization reeling from declining anglers and dwindling license revenue, and the systematic extinction of every species worth catching. Add four years of drought, the high cost of lodging and gasoline, and a 50% reduction in home prices, and you’ve a better reason why the recent economic swoon has rid us of 40% of our numbers.

Since 1980, when annual licenses were sold for as little as $5.00, California’s annual fishing license sales have dropped by more than 55% (1980: 2.26 million; 2014: 990k), while our state’s population has increased by nearly 60%. In 2014, 40,000 fewer annual fishing licenses were sold compared to 2013.

If the 35-year trend remains constant, annual fishing license sales could fall below 500,000 by 2027, or another 49% over the next 12 years. Should this occur, between 1980 and 2027, annual license sales will have dropped 78%. This downward trend could accelerate if fees are increased substantially, or new regulations are imposed that increase costs or barriers to fishing.

The 2014  population of California was 38 million, which is a net increase of about 50% over the self same period wherein we lost or disenfranchised 40% of our fellow anglers. That is damning evidence that the high cost of licenses is only part of something much worse.

By 2027 I’ll be telling fish stories instead of fishing, so my being inconsequential will sting less then folks recently introduced to the sport. Our lack of voting clout will mean dark days for our conservation ideals and organizations.

Figure 1-2 percent of anglers are fly fishermen, and if the overall numbers drop to 500,000 as above – that suggests we’ll be in rarified company …

… and fishing for Pikeminnow.

The squeals of outrage will demand a watery Jihad

mule300While the old adage insists, “ … in Spring, a young man’s thoughts turn to Love,” the Global Warming variant may change that antiquated lyric to, “ …in Summer, a young trout’s thoughts turn to Hybridization.”

A recent study of wild trout intermingled with hatchery fish, based on lakes and hydroelectric dams in Norway – suggests that wild fish and hatchery trout rarely inter-breed. It’s thought the high mortality rate of pen-raised, pellet-fed, fish – coupled with the inability of hatchery fish to make use of spawning creeks – means the two strains rarely occupy the same space at the same time, and interbreeding is negligible as a result.

Released trout accounted for nearly 30% of the sexually mature fish in the reservoirs and it was assumed that the prolonged use of non-indigenous and previously released fish in hatcheries posed a risk to the genetic integrity of wild fish. However, it appears that wild fish maintain their natural, genetic structure, principally due to the high mortality of indigenous and released hybrids and to the fact that released fish do not migrate when spawning.

from the Norwegian School of Veterinary Science

My tortured blend of humor and lay science suggests this phenomenon could be due to their “fast food” diet. How inhaling pellets shat from a cannon leaves hatchery trout couch-prone and listless – versus chasing a shapely wild female up the riffle and into the Gravels of Lust.

But Global Warming and its corresponding changes in water temperatures apparently changes this delicate relationship. With elevated temperatures, “Couch Potato” fish suddenly mount everything, including beer cans and sunken grocery carts and the gene pool resulting is a crazy mash up of hybridized fish.

Despite widespread release of millions of rainbow trout over the past century within the Flathead River system5, a large relatively pristine watershed in western North America, historical samples revealed that hybridization was prevalent only in one (source) population. During a subsequent 30-year period of accelerated warming, hybridization spread rapidly and was strongly linked to interactions between climatic drivers—precipitation and temperature—and distance to the source population. Specifically, decreases in spring precipitation and increases in summer stream temperature probably promoted upstream expansion of hybridization throughout the system. This study shows that rapid climate warming can exacerbate interactions between native and non-native species through invasive hybridization, which could spell genomic extinction for many species.

Excerpt from Nature Climate Change, July 2014

As I’m one of those horribly insensitive louts that claim to have tread lightly on his environment, (which we now realize as “having our way with the Old Gal,”) and after leaving what few scraps of the watershed that remains to the New Breed of fly fishermen, can only cackle at your indignity when you see some obese Grass Carp mounting that silvery, noble Rainbow (as it lies panting in the hot water), and how righteous you’ll sound when you insist we kill everything with Rotenone, so the gene pool is kept sacrosanct …

In addition to leaving you whatever we couldn’t eat, along with the discarded plastic wrapper of everything we did consume, we’ve imparted to you our antiquated snooty attitude towards salmonids. No doubt you’ll cling to this last bit of purism despite rising hemispheric temperatures, and with the Trout-centric enviro-lobby’s urging – will launch a Genetic Cleansing, or watery Jihad … whichever Politically Correct term you’ll devise for eradicating all the warm water fish that don’t mind hybridizing with lawnmowers or Salmo Salar …

Wherein “reduced dressing” refers to your sudden lust for an Xtra-Strong 12

The local farm journal is bemoaning vines and trees budding earlier than normal. Early nut and vine crops are a bigger issue given the drought and the increased salinity of the Delta, whose waters are tapped when rainfall is absent. What little fresh water currently flowing from the hills isn’t enough to push the salt water back towards San Francisco Bay, and pumping brackish water is not an option.

I mentioned in an earlier post that the drought would advance the calendar of nearly everything; stoneflies gone before Opening Day, most hatches early versus their traditional schedules, and much of the Sierra fishing like August once June arrived. This from past experience of similar trauma in the Seventies, and how painful were the lessons learned.

While most focus on the high country and it’s Pristine, I’m already gearing up for the Other White Meat, Shad, and how the run, such as it is likely to be, will be small and arrive early, and how we’ll be further constrained by river closures, and last minute gear changes none of us seem plan for …

Chatting with the dam operator from last week’s outing, I was curious on how much they were releasing and what were their plans in the event of a windfall of moisture. “Eleven …”, says he, “We’re currently releasing eleven feet per second, and have no plans to release more until we fill the lake behind …”

With the drought-based closures of California’s more prolific fisheries due endangered salmon and steelhead – and with the potential for the Shad run to be smaller, shorter, and sooner, it’s likely that whatever 2014 has in store could be a “hot mess.”

… all fishing will be banned through April 30, 2014 on the American River from Nimbus Dam downstream to the power lines crossing Ancil Hoffman Park.

Excerpt from the Sacramento Bee, March 7th 2014

… late April – early May usually debuts the run, and if water conditions make them arrive sooner, they’ll be moving through the river without us doing more than watching.


Nimbus Dam and Folsom Lake (above), source of the American River.

The above shot of Folsom is prior to the most recent spate of showers, but we’re still absent the multi-day pounding rain that saturates the ground and generates runoff. Current flow in the American is 500 CFS, which is about 10% of what it should be – and about 20% of what it is when the fish are aggressively invading the river.

It may be time to ditch the Spey rod and grab the one hander. Distance won’t be an issue given the river shrinkage, and a sink tip may be better than a full sinking head in many spots. Don’t be surprised if smaller and “less bright” is the preferred rig, as you’re likely to be pawing through the bins hoping to see #12’s instead of the customary 6’s and 8’s.

As I fished mostly size 8’s last year, I’m looking at reducing the weight and dressing, opting for a dimutitive collection of bugs on 2X Strong, standard shank, 10’s – 12’s.

Bead chain can’t get much purchase on shanks that small, so if you use them be mindful the finished fly will spin with finger pressure and have a tendency to unwind and fall apart. A Model Perfect bend and single smaller bead – or 2AMP wire wrap – may be much better than the classic chain, both in weight and its resultant durability.

I’ll add some tips on reduction in a future post.

If you peed enough Bacon would trout want a pork chop?

wastwater3It started with the discovery that hot flashes and night sweats lead to wastewater rich in estrogen and other hormones, making everything downstream of our treatment facilities female and completely irrational near a shoe sale.

Now our worst fears are becoming scientific certainty, anything we eat, drink, and pizzle, dips our watersheds and its many residents in a chemical cocktail of human excesses.

That which is excreted by us is swallowed by them. “Them” being fish both common and noble, insects, tadpoles, frogs, newts, and anything else that buries a muzzle in the creek to drink.

As anglers we’ve limited our outdoor competencies to the lifecycles of fish and insects. Entomology is used as the only device to explain both angling phenomena and our good fortune. Everything else, the lack of fish, the presence of Didymo, the absence of trash, the color of the water, its opacity, are all Mysteries of Nature – marginally understood and endured as part of the outdoor discipline.

Bugs and fish alone can’t explain much of what we witness, yet we use them as the “Lee Harvey Oswald” of angling; the guy they caught and hung, and chemically charged sewage ripples through our watershed undetected like a sniper cloaked by the shrubbery of the grassy knoll.

If the essence of everything we eat and drink are marinating fish, the difference is our visual recognition of them as food and conscious choice. We knew what the chili-cheese fries will do to our colon and eat them despite the pleas of the medical profession. Fish are not so lucky, they enjoy the same clogged artery endorphins we’ve released upon completing our sodden meal, but lack any knowledge of the source of this obscene pleasure.

If our excreted chemicals are part of the watershed then its residents are filled with unexplained cravings, unfulfilled deep-seated needs, and both fish and insects hunt for oddities they’ve inhaled but never seen, hoping it’s a Caramel Macchiato, cheese burger, or nicotine-rich cigar butt.

While afield we’ve seen countless fish dart from cover to inhale some current-borne morsel and being dependent on bugs science have assumed it to be a tumbling mayfly or caddis that caused this feeding behavior. Not surprisingly fish behavior has always been attributed to bug theory, and the reality may be our incessant pizzle of hormones have given them all seven cardinal sins; wrath, greed, sloth, pride, lust, envy, and gluttony, and the real motivations are akin to our own.

Flick, Schweibert, Swisher & Richards, all join a Human history full of ardent prophets whose outlandish theories were proven wrong after they were burnt at the stake.

Now that our sport struggles to free itself from its classical roots, and real scientists struggle with the role of human diseases, sexual aids, and dietary shortcomings as they pour into our watersheds – it may be time to rethink our dependence on bug-minnow imitations and upgrade our selection to include flavored and scented patterns that imitate the chemical essence of an Egg McMuffin.

Now that artificial sweeteners coat our stream bottoms and antibacterial soaps are denuding our watersheds of life-giving algae, it’s becoming obvious that the next century of anglers will be mastering sewage-sitology, the predation of innocent hosts using effluent based triggers.

It’s not really that far fetched, as it’s possible all of the great fly fishing mysteries remain so because insect science has never been able to explain them fully …

Why do fish prefer one fly pattern over another?

Entomologist: The #12 Royal Wulff more closely resembles the Ephemera Guttulata, and the trout mistakes the artificial for the real insect.

Sitiologist: The trout cannot recognize a cheeseburger by sight, yet it has inhaled beef byproducts in its water supply since it was an alevin. The Calf Tail emits a faint odor of cow flesh and the trout inhales it, knowing it to be a natural.

Why do bead headed flies work?

Entomologist: We’re not sure, but it sinks like a Son of a Bitch so it must be tasty!

Sitiologist: Normal insect imitations look like real bugs that live in the creek. Real bugs hide under rocks, burrow in the bottom, or simply fall in the water by accident. Despite their origin fish know they taste like shit compared to a Twinkie.

The addition of a big shiny copper bead makes the insect imitation something novel and new, therefore they eat the beaded fly to satisfy their craving for Twinkies (which they’ve never seen, and hope this is). Fish are optimists and something new may be that human thing they crave, yet cannot attain.

fivehourWhy do large fish feed at night?

Entomologist: Large fish are wary of predation and feed on smaller fish which are wary of big fish, and therefore unavailable until black dark.

Sitiologist: Large fish have been in the river far longer than smaller fish and therefore have inhaled a great deal more Five Hour Energy, Starbucks, and Rock Star effluent and have considerable trouble sleeping.

Without much else to do they prowl around for smaller fish that are quietly sleeping so they can bully and eat them.


Insect theory suddenly showing itself as quite porous in light of the above …

Unfortunately for the wader industry it appears  front zippers are doomed based on the Fish & Wildlife’s concern about chumming …

And so shall it return to the aquifer from whence it came

Naturally I attributed my proximity to my earlier howl of misfortune. Rant or critique being immaterial as there was no expectation of accomplishing anything, rather the commentary was like the Bat Signal over Gotham City – Justice being more important than revenge.

I walk in it, I fish in it (I scratch my chins after fishing because of it), and you are an unknowing consumer of it. Much of the Northern snowmelt feeds it, trucks haul it, and chemicals kiss it to juicy perfection.


… and on rare occasion the rear half of the semi stutter-steps into the turn just a bit fast, and the life giving snowmelt is returned to its prior form after a bit of sunlight and decay.

Which can smell like … well … Justice.

Naturally being a tremendous fan of both physics and dumpster diving, I opted to cut my fishing trip short and assist the Department of Transportation in clearing this dreadful mishap.

… with a shovel and a waiting pickup bed.


These are the Roma variety, commercial grown to be a dense fruit with a thick skin to aid harvest and transport.  Boil until the skin starts cracking, then shock under cold water to loosen the skin. Peel. Toss five pounds in a bag to freeze so they soften further when unfrozen, and then chopped or blended to make crushed tomatoes for spaghetti sauce. Toss in some extra parsley, basil, chopped onions, and a few bay leaves and refreeze as “Italian seasoned.”

Just remember my hammy feet when your spouse says, “We’re having Italian tonight, Sweetums …” A gift from my watershed to your suddenly sensitive colon.