Our annual Hook It & Cook It might have been the best ever. Ludger Szmania, formerly of the Four Seasons Hotel and Szmania’s restaurant in Seattle, is always great, but this year seemed special. From the appetizers through the main courses, we enjoyed an incredible array of rockfish, salmon, halibut, and black cod delights along with the expert instruction about how to recreate the magic at home. Ludger is a great communicator, excellent chef, and he focuses on creating dishes that aren’t complicated and can be recreated for your family and friends. His new endeavor is operating the Warm Spring Inn & Winery, a vineyard and bed and breakfast in Wenatchee, Washington with his wife, Julie.
On the fishing front, the action was probably the best we’ve ever seen for Hook It & Cook It. Fishing with Chef Ludger, Linda Wright, Mike Olsen, and Allen Tabish aboard my boat on day one, the anglers enjoyed a limit of two kings each, halibut limits, and rockfish limits. We also released 17 kings in amidst a wide open afternoon bite. The seas were dead calm, the sun shone brightly, and the temperatures hit the mid-60’s. The next day the salmon fishing in the morning slowed a bit, so we headed offshore for halibut in mid-morning only to return to an excellent afternoon king bite during which we landed nine. The pattern of afternoon biting extended into day 3 and we opted for halibut in the morning. Between noon and two on day three we brought a dozen kings to the boat. Day 4 came in windy, wet, and the ocean turned rough, but by mid-morning we’d located a group of kings in calm water and everyone rounded out their limits for the trip. We also caught some chicken halibut and limits of rockfish.
Rating on the cooking and instruction: 5 star
Rating on the fishing: 5 star
Rating on the Hook and Cook – The best ever.