Posted at: 05/07/2013 3:59 PM
Updated at: 05/08/2013 11:04 PM
By: Laura Kennedy
Spring is slowly returning to the Northland. That means late nights on Park Point, casting nets in the search for smelt.
Smelting is a long standing spring tradition for Brady Huseby.
"Both of my gramps used to take me when I was just a little guy," Huseby said. "We used to do a lot of smelting. Dip net in the rivers up by Silver Bay."
Huseby spends four or five hours a night for two weeks straight, filling up coolers with these small fish. Experienced smelters know you need the right equipment and the right intel to know when the smelt are running.
"You gotta know people," Huseby said. "Word travels fast. By the time it's in the paper, it's almost over. "
On this night, Huseby brought along his roommate, Tyler Masseth, a first timer.
"I love fishing, never heard of smelting before," Masseth said. "But hanging out on Superior, catching some fish, I was pretty excited about it."
As with many traditions, the smelting rookies have to go through a little initiation.
"They get the holey waders," Huseby said.
"Yeah, gotta deal with the patches," Masseth said.
"The first smelt he catches he has to bite the head off, that's tradition too," Huseby said.
"I was unaware of that," Masseth said.
When the time came, Masseth rose to the occasion.
"Tastes like a fish that just came out of the bay," Masseth said.
Once the fish are caught and cleaned, it's time to toss them in batter and throw them in the fryer.
"Deep fried. It's the only way," Huseby said.
But the delicious fish dinner is just a bonus. The camaraderie is what keeps smelters coming back.
"I mean yeah, they taste good and it's fun, but it's just a nice atmosphere," Huseby said. "It's finally springtime, gets you out of the house especially at night."
"To come out to a place where I've never fished before, but is a fishing tradition in Minnesota, it's nice to try something new and be a part of something different," Masseth said.