Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Bluegill Bounty

      Salutations, I hope this post finds you all as well as I am finding my time in Niles, Michigan. My name is Hannon Clark Hylkema and I am currently enrolled as a student archaeologist in the 2017 Fort St. Joseph Archaeological field school. I have been cultivating anthropological interest for the entirety of my educational experience, but it was only in last winter’s semester that I declared a major in anthropology. I will graduate from Wayne State University in the spring and hope to pursue further studies and vocational opportunities in anthropology, specifically archaeology.

      With that supplemental background information, you as the reader may develop a better appreciation for the experience I would like to share in this blog post. The archaeological work at Fort St. Joseph is fascinating, but I am certain you will have many more opportunities to read about our archaeological endeavors; in this post I would like to recount the events of Sunday, July 23 and the product of Monday, July 24.

      Sunday morning, my teammate Joey and I met with Neil, our floodplain dewatering expert, for a morning of fishing in the village of Edwardsburgh. Neil arrived to pick us up at 7:30 and before we hit the lake we made a few essential stops. First we stopped off at Martin’s grocery on South 11th for a fresh half- dozen donuts, obviously essential to anyone who enjoys Martin’s donuts. The next featured stop was at Walmart to purchase our fishing licenses, ensuring game legality in accordance with the legislation of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The third stop was at Neil’s place to pick up his boat and soon after we arrived at the lake! Pleasant Lake is about 60 acres of fish-filled delight, featuring private residences, in addition to a public access beach and boat launch. Joey, Neil and I were joined at the lake by Lynn, a man of many skills who happens to be Neil’s brother-in-law. To maximize our fish catching opportunities Lynn and I took his vessel out while Joey and Neil took the other. We were fishing for bluegill and according to Neil and Lynn, the best way to catch bluegill is with earthworms. We rigged our lines to bait the worms and got to fishing just before 10am. Neil and Lynn were right as ever; the bluegill were hungry for earthworms. We went for great stretches of time in which every line that was cast reeled up a fish. We must have caught about 100 fish over the course of four hours on the lake, however, we kept 35 select fish for our eating purposes.

      Sunday was the day I learned to descale and filet a fish. I got about five fish prepped (10 filets) in
the time Neil and Lynne prepped the rest (60 filets). We added our filets to a batch Neil had prepared previously in order to feed the Fort St. Joseph field team a Monday night feast. We are a large group; all of our meals have to be feast-sized. The feast was prepared for the group to reward a day’s work of digging, something to really look forward to aside from finding artifacts. The meal was truly a spiritual experience, and one I will not soon forget. Thanks to Neil and Cathy, the bar has been set high for field team dinners. Thanks to their combined efforts we will have the energy to dig again. 

The delicious meal I described is pictured above. 

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