SITKA SAC ROE HERRING SEASON is in full swing. Approximately 5,000 tons of the slippery little silver dollars were netted on the second opening held Thursday, March 26, 2009, which means that roughly half the quota of 14,504 tons remains to be scooped up before the season ends. Immediate rumours of herring spawn lacing the beaches in the Middle Island vicinity is essentially the equivalent of a code red warning at the Alaska Volcano Observatory, signifying that that everyone else should be getting their spawn on by now.
Normally, I would advise ladies and gentlemen, both, to keep shaving yer backs and shining yer teeth. It is, afterall, Springtime in Sitka – despite the intermittent bouts of Winter -and that means all the upright critters congregating ’round the watering holes are habitually pairing up to get their spawn on. As for me, this year, ahem, may very well be the first herring season in history that the WSW opts to participate merely as an observer.
I conspiratorially shared this tidbit of seemingly epic implication to my number one critic, the fruit of my womb, Miz Calamity Jr. (CJ), recently in an exchange that went something like this:
CJ: Are you in the thick of another big herring season, momma? Enjoying all your options?
WSW: Sure, why not? I always enjoy options… Though, be advised, Jo Mama is swearing off fishermen this year.
CJ: Whatever. You always say that! What makes you so sure this is the year that you are going to dodge the boyfriend bullet?
WSW: Because this is the year I quit bathing. And shaving. For all intents and purposes, you can color me invisible. Herring honey non grata.
CJ: Yeah right! So essentially you are using hygiene as an aesthetic prophylactic?
WSW: Well, lack of hygiene is more like it. Some ploy, huh?
CJ: Sheesh. I thought men liked dirty girls.
WSW: Different dirty, honey, different dirty.
Prior to a couple of husbands ago, I would have never contemplated the implications of utilizing aesthetics as a form of birth control, however, times have changed and so have I. There comes a day when a gal simply cannot afford to hazard a sloppy peccadillo with any three-legged critter that drags his knuckles across her hearth. Not even if it’s for the betterment of the environment, the economy, or merely the scratching of certain itches, bitches.
Oh yes, there comes a moment when the smoke clears, the dust settles, and the epic hangover some folks refer to as their lost youth finally wears off. While your momma might claim that “you’ve finally grown up,” I can assure you that my momma would beg to differ… Nonetheless, time waits for no one and besides, here’s the thing about Man Herring Season: It isn’t only about harvesting tons of silvery fish worth millions of exvessel dollars. It is not even about the sudden cavalcade of intriguing skippers, crewmen, permit-holders, and seafood processors that steadily drift into town like so much flotsam and jetsam after a big blow.
What Herring Season most certainly is about for us chickee-babes is the annual reconnection of girlfriends on the heels of a long winter lull. For while we claim to gather in order to time our menstrual cycles, design quilts, or discuss the latest antics of our collective children, in truth we convene for one simple mission: to tantalize, scrutinize, anesthetize, and occasionally traumatize, the invasion of fresh meat.
My ladies come together for regular recon missions about town, ceaselessly amused and amazed by the vast array of alpha males, posers, and still-wet-behind-the-ears scooby snacks. While some of the veteran fleet seem comfortable enough in their skin, the newbies are ever-entertaining in their efforts to appear as gnarly and seasoned as the fishermen of so-called reality television. Regardless of whatever niche these blokes aim to claim, they are no match for the well-seasoned women of my posse! Out of sheer vanity, in conjunction with the ever-looming realization that several of us are sniffing up the butt of midlife mediocrity, we permit them audience (which is to say, we shamelessly flirt ’em up).
All of this seasonally-enhanced optimism and intrigue, further intensified by the deadly combination of charitable lighting and stiff drinks, combine to yield the ingredients for, either A Perfect Storm – or in the best scenario, some really good fish stories to deny in mixed company.
Ladies, I think you know what I’m talking about here: Your standards dropping faster than the Dow Jones on the heels of the AIG bailout. It’s about that sort of man that promises his world to you on a silver platter, knowing full well all he has is a boatload of paper plates. It’s about Springtime in Sitka, where the Official Perfume of the Sitka Sac Roe Herring Season is Eau du’ Me (read: Oh! Do ME!). The message here is to proceed with caution.
Better a water haul than a sloppy last call.
Oh, I still believe in love. And fishing. I am, however, for all intents and purposes, taking this herring season o-f-f. Perhaps it is time to change the name of this blog from “Well Seasoned Woman” to “Stick a Fork in Her, Boys, I Think She’s Done.” But only until salmon season starts. After that, I am all rigged for trolling.
**Photo cred post-script: I have no idea who to credit the seine-puppies pic with, however, if it appears a bit grainy, that’s only because I spent an entire winter licking it.
Thanks to The Canooks at Fisheries and Oceans for the water haul pic.