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By G. X. Robillard
Ladies, it's spawning season again - for our anadromous friends. Yes, the salmon and steelhead have eaten all summer, I know, I know, while we've all been starving ourselves to paint on bikinis, to make their final labors of love on the inland rivers. It's constant sex, pregnancy, then death - doesn't it just feel that way for all of us?
Every girl knows that the fly fisherman is the ultimate catch -overweight, rich, and obsessed with tying knots. What's not to love? On your next date with the man with the rod, you will reel him in with your understanding of his favorite prey. If you see one of these little numbers, on your dinner plate or in the river, a few tidbits from this guide will impress your man with your knowledge of Genus Oncorhynchus.
His friends call him Steelhead - is that for his pleasure, or yours? This coy little number (is he salmon, is he trout? He won't tell) wears a rainbow speckled glitter on his gills and sides, and will swim up to 1000 miles on the long river to love. He's best accessorized with hip waders, leopard skin tights, or, if feeling saucy, fishnets. He's fun to play around with, but if you try to get him to commit, he'll give you the fight of your life.
This fine piece of sushi is only found on the Western side of the Pacific Rim, in Russia and Japan. The cherry salmon is the smallest of the Pacific salmon, but don't let her size fool you - she's deadly to the core, and will devour you without thinking twice - if you're apelagic crustacean, that is.
Brazen red, Sockeye is the fish you want in your arm as you're striding up to collect your Oscar. This hard-to-get redhead is the most valuable of the salmon species, prized for her red tinged meat and high oil (don't you dare say fat) content. When hanging with Red, you'd do well to avoid the steak house and go straight to the salad bar - this gal is a vegetarian.
Coho, yo! The Silver bullet, a.k.a. the Notorious F.R.Y. - this spunky hip hopper wears silver and red. Silver salmon spends much of his time in coastal waters, but can be spotted making the scene in the clubs of Soho.
So many names - chinook, tyee - but for sure, they should call him Elvis because he's the King! He's the largest of the Pacific salmon, and he'll spend up to six years in the ocean, before he's ready to settle down and find some gravel and make small fry. You'll know the King by his black lower lipstick - you might think it's goth, but he's all natural.
Think Pink! But don't let the name fool you - she's mostly earth tones,with a pink tinge at the gills, and a slight band across the midsection. Pink has a hump on her back and a chip on her shoulder - and you would be too if you showed up at an opening wearing a drab suit like that.
Chum, also known as dog salmon, is the Paris Hilton of salmon - he's everywhere! You'll know him by the distinguished gray marks on his fin. The chum is often seen in a can of Bumblebee. Of course, if you're staring at this fish from the business end of a can opener, you'll never get the time of day from any self-respecting angler.
Keep these friends in mind and you'll never be without a date to the Orvis store or on a jaunt to the hatchery. Once again friends, at the market and the bistro, ask for it wild - as we would do well to remember, you are what you eat. Grrrrr.
© 2005 G. Xavier Robillard
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
G. Xavier Robillard
lives in Oregon with his wife and cantankerous one-year-old son. His fiction
has appeared in print and online, and he's avidly searching for a publisher.
On the side he writes the weekly humor column All