Happy New Year 2020!
Wishing all of our past, present & future guests
a happy, healthy & prosperous New Year in 2020!
By Caylon aka “The Stallion”.
On a hot July “Changeover Day” we said goodbye to some guests that were heading home that day and hello and welcome to some new guests that had arrived that day. They were eager to get out fishing so once everyone was settled in their rooms, fed, and had one of Simon’s famous orientations, we were off to Ruff’s Bluff, a 5 minute boat-ride from the Lodge.
Fishing started off slow at The Bluff that afternoon and other boats decided to change it up and head to another spot after about an hour and a half. I discussed with my guests the possibility of leaving for another spot but we ultimately decided to “stick and stay and make em pay”. Shortly there after trolling just up from The Bluff at approximately 3:00 PM we hooked into a good fish on a purple glow teaser head herring. This fish managed to get away and swim for another day. Before we had a chance to set both rods back in the water we had a mighty strike again on the herring and this time it appeared to be hooked well. My guest played the fish perfectly and after about a 25-minute battle, the Chinook was on the boat. Myself and the guests cheered, high-fived, and were in awe of the size of the fish we just landed!
It was truly a magnificent creature, and was a real reminder of why Rivers Inlet is such a world famous fishery. We guessed the weight for most of the rest of the afternoon while continuing to fish. The guesses ranged from 40-50 lbs and the fish may have gotten bigger as the afternoon carried on!!! We managed another couple of bites and landed a coho. This was truly a bonus fish for us as we had really considered ourselves lucky, successful, and blessed with the big girl in the tub already. When we arrived back to the lodge all the guests and staff were as super excited as were we to get this beautiful fish on the scale.
She weighed in at a whopping 43 lbs. It was an awesome day that I’m sure none of us will ever forget this magnificent experience. The best part is that I was able to share it with two brothers who travelled across the world the “Big Pond” all the way from Australia for their 3rd visit to the Lodge in pursuit of the world famous giant trophy Rivers Inlet Chinook Salmon! The spot where the fish was caught has been officially named “Rod’s Rock” after the angler that caught this mighty beast. There has been some confusion on where exactly Rod’s Rock is but if you ask for “the Stallion” the next time you are a guest at the Lodge I will personally point it right out for you on the map.
Cheers, Tight Lines & Godspeed …
Guide Caylon aka “The Stallion”.
This Baked Parmesan Crusted Salmon is a stunning show-stopper that’s very easy to make. The Parmesan Crust is insanely delicious and the Lemon Cream Sauce for the salmon is the essential finishing touch. A spectacular salmon recipe for a holiday dinner or other special occasions, and yet so fast you could make it midweek. Plus you can prepare everything ahead – even the sauce!
Please don’t skip the sauce! I know many people make similar recipes without a sauce. I really, really, really think that the Lemon Cream Sauce is necessary because this salmon is not marinated or glazed. Whole salmon fillets are quite thick and meaty so unless it is marinated or has lots of yummy glaze to use as the sauce, it lacks flavour inside. Don’t get me wrong, the flavour of plain salmon is lovely. But the sauce just puts this over the top from tasty to exceptional. Plus, look how the sauce clings onto that crunchy parmesan topping. ENJOY!
-1 (1 – 1.4 kg / 2 – 2.8 lb) side of salmon (Note 1)
-3- 4 tbsp Dijon mustard
-1 cup panko breadcrumbs (50g) (Note 2)
-3 tbsp / 50 g butter , melted
-1/3 cup (40g) grated parmesan , store bought (1/2 cup fresh grated) (Note 3)
-2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley
-2 tbsp finely chopped fresh dill
-Zest of 1 lemon
-1/2 tsp salt
-Lemon Cream Sauce
-2tbsp / 30g butter
-1 challot / finely chopped
-1 1/4 cups (315 ml) dry white wine (Note 4)
-1 1/2 cups (375 ml) heavy cream / thickened cream
-1 tbsp Dijon mustard
-2 1/2 tbsp lemon juice (plus more to taste)
-1/2 tsp sugar
-Salt and pepper
-Take salmon out of the fridge to bring to room temperature.
-Preheat oven to 180C / 350F (fan / convection) or 200C / 390F (standard).
-Spread panko on baking tray, spray generously with oil then bake for 3 to 5 minutes until light golden brown. -(Note 5) Scrape into bowl immediately.
-Add butter and stir, then add remaining Parmesan Crumb ingredients.
-Line same tray with foil. Place salmon on foil.
-Spread Dijon on salmon using a butter knife. Just a thin coating – like buttering toast.
-Sprinkle Crumb all over.
-Bake for 20 minutes for just cooked juicy perfection, or to taste. (Note 6)
-Remove from oven. Loosen salmon from foil using egg flip or butter knife – skin will hopefully be stuck to foil.
-Plate watercress on serving platter.
-Use foil to lift salmon onto watercress on serving plate, then slide out the foil from under it
-Serve with Lemon Cream Sauce and lemon wedges on the side.
Lemon Cream Sauce
-Melt butter in a saucepan over medium high heat.
-Add chalots and cook for 2 minutes.
-Add wine and bring to boil. Leave to boil rapidly for 5 minutes or until reduced by 3/4 or so.
-Turn heat down to medium.
-Add cream, sugar, salt and pepper.
-Stir, then add lemon juice and mustard. Stir again.
-Simmer for 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened
-Adjust salt, pepper and lemon to taste. Be generous with the salt – remember the salmon is not marinated, the only salt is in the topping.
-Allow to cool for 10 minutes or so. It will thicken as it cools. It can be served warm or at room temperature.
1. Skin on or off is fine, and ask your fish monger to remove the bones.
2. Panko breadcrumbs are chunkier than normal ones so they make a better crust.
3. Store bought is denser than freshly grated so if you are grating your own, use more.
scallions (white part) or even normal onion. You need 2 tbsp. Or use 1 1/2 tsp minced garlic.
4. Or fish stock/broth or chicken broth.
5. This step is key to ensuring your salmon comes out with a beautiful evenly golden crust, rather than with splotches of burnt bits / overcooking your salmon to get the breadcrumb to go golden.
If your oven doesn’t cook evenly, you may wish to shake the tray once.
6. My salmon was 1.2 kg / 2.4 lb and 2.5cm / 1″ thick at the thickest part and it was at room temperature. 20 minutes yielded a perfectly “just cooked” salmon that is very moist. Use a knife to take a peek if you want – you can cover it back up with crumbs, no one will ever know!
If your salmon is fridge cold, add 3 minute to the cook time.
7. MAKE AHEAD at home: Prepare the crumb and place in an airtight container in the fridge until required – up to 2 days ahead. Make the sauce, cool then refrigerate. On the day of, prepare the salmon according to recipe directions. Reheat sauce in microwave – 40 seconds or so. Do not put crumb on salmon then refrigerate – it will draw moisture out of the salmon and into the crumb mixture = soggy crumb. ðŸ™
With any organization after 36 years, we have developed a few unique traditions that help define the Rivers Inlet Sportsman’s Club. Traditions are important in our society for many reasons. The crowning of the “King/Queen of the Tide” after each fishing session or “tide” as we call it, promotes the excellence (& luck) of successful anglers with the hope to inform & inspire others to greatness. The guest’s meal service is at specific times so it is a unique time of the day when most anglers come back to the Lodge. Everyone comes in off the water & drops off their catch for processing, weighs the fish, gloats & takes pictures of their “trophies”. The dock boys are like the “Indy Pit Crew”, quickly cleaning, refueling & re-provisioning the boats to go right back out fishing again.
Of the utmost importance is the mealtime exchange of information amongst anglers. The often rambunctious crowd gets very quiet as I go around from table to table asking everyone where they fished, what they caught, the depth & lure/bait of choice & any other tips & techniques on how they were successful. So in the midst of all this comradery & “honest” exchange of fishing information, I get to crown the new King/Queen of Rivers Inlet. As I dash into the dining room to catch the eager anglers that have “scarfed” their food down & are already heading out the door to go fishing again, I swing by the cleaning table to chat to the guides about who should be crowned. Mostly it is awarded for the biggest fish of the last session, but not always. Sometimes it is for the most fish caught & released, the prettiest/sexiest fish or even awarded to the most eager, improved or inspirational angler. The decision is at the discretion of the guide “committee”. Some guests are very reluctant to even put on the crown & do so only briefly for their friends to get a quick picture. Other guests want the whole “show” with the accompanying velour robe as well as the antique throne & then they wear it all through the entire meal service. And some quests completely embrace it & we can barely get the regalia back for the next crowning as they are wearing it around the dock & even out fishing!
However, at the whim of the “fish gods”, what seems to be the pattern is once you are at the pinnacle of your fishing success you will more than likely not stay there too long. You will be hovering back down around the bottom again sooner than later. And so goes the roller coaster that is trophy salmon fishing. Sometimes you are so “ON” your game, slaying the fish & nailing the boating like a professional skipper, so much that you think you should retire & start your own fishing show! And the next minute you are out there getting all tangled up, losing your gear on the bottom, breaking off fish. Or worse, getting your line in the prop & after you spend 15 minutes staring at the motor to cut the line out you realize that you are disoriented & now lost, even with a radio & GPS! Hence the saying, “You are only as good as your last tide”.
All this relates back to the “masochistic mystique” of trophy fishing. You don’t get them every time you go out, so when you do have that epic, successful day when the planets are all lined up & the fishing is amazing, it actually means something. I had a colleague years ago who owned a trout fishing lodge in the interior of BC. It was easy fishing with pretty much one fish for every cast & in a small lake, not like boating in the “great wide ocean”. Guests would be bored on day two & ask what else there was to do. In 35 + years of running the Sportsman’s Club, nobody has ever asked us that question! Between the fishing technique, boating skills & ocean navigation there is lots to master & that is why we have customers come back year after year to hone & perfect their fishing & boating skills. Not that you won’t be successful on your first fishing trip with us, especially if you hire a guide. There is just a continuing education component in lifelong pursuit of trophy salmon that we all embrace. This is so that we can maximize our success & be completely prepared for that moment in the “fish lottery” when a ‘lunker” takes a look at your lure & hooks up. FISH ON!!!