Thursday, December 20, 2007

Merry Manuqing

On the Saturday of Labor Day weekend, Marta, Esther, and I joined Tuluk a short walk from town to spend the afternoon manuqing.

Fishing for little fish in the tidal rivers around Hooper Bay is called "Manuqing." We fish for little flatfish that are a type of flounder, delicious buttery fish called a tomcod, and then we catch lots of (but don't keep) the infamous devilfish. Supposedly elders eat them and think them delicious, but I'm not ready to go there yet!Tuluk is casting with a regular fishing pole, but I prefer the low-tech traditional stick with a string on it. The hooks are tied on to the end of the string, and the string is unwound from the stick to cast. When you cast, you are supposed to say "Aqfau!" which is a Yup'ik command to the hook to "Go get it!". I always say aqfau without fail, and I really think it helps!:) Anyway, the best part about using the low-tech stick manuq is that you can stick it down into the mud on the river bank, then, and have several manuqs going at once. But then it gets difficult to keep track of which one has a fish tugging on the end of it. Here Esther is going to try reeling in her line with a fish tugging on the end of it:
And she caught a little "nadukanuk," flounder. Way to go, little fisherwoman! Marta & Esther showing their catches:
And I had luck, too.

Yum -- the best part -- cooking them up! Mainly they are poached in some shallow boiling water in a pan, this is them just mostly cleaned up and ready to cook. There is one nadukanuk in this pan, but all the rest are tomcods.

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