Tastes Like Chicken!
For the most part, I am an advocate for catch and release fishing.
Sustaining the fish and habitat in the sport you love only makes sense.
However, sometimes a freshly caught trout, bass, or crappie is just to tempting to pass up. So even though I release most fish that I hook these days, I will occasionally thump one on the head and do my best Emiral Lagassi imatation, as I grill, cajunize, and accessorize my fish du jour.
I have heard many people say that they like to fish--but they don't like to eat fish--and I just don't understand this. To me there is nothing more satisfying then the feeling of being self-sufficient and providing food for ones family or ones self.
Granted, you can head 0n down to the Piggly - wiggly or ask the local fish monger for a nice slab of fresh Tuna, but that primal instinct that man has - to hunt and gather, just can't be satisfied by hunting down your meal with a shopping cart. That's why the caveman invented the spear first and not the wheel. That, and the fact that it is easier to throw a spear then it is to throw a shopping cart. I also never really feel compelled to pose in the seafood section, proudly displaying my handsomely and completely plastic wrapped 14oz keeper! Wouldn't that look great on the mantle.
All that being said, I would like to go back to the issue of taste.
The problem most people have, is that they don't eat their fish fresh. I have caught trout at six-thirty p. m. and had it ready for the blue plate special at six-forty five, and I gotta tell you. to me there is nothing tastier. Peeling away the skin while it still on the bar-b, and savoring a bite of freshly caught mountain trout....makes my mouth water just thinking about it!
Most people think their fish is fresh at the supermarket. The SIGN says fresh. BUT unless you live on a boat, oil derrick in the ocean, or meet the fisherman at the dock with your Hibachi grill fired up, about the best you can hope for is three day fresh frozen fish.
Think about it.
Captain Ahab heads out to sea and runs his commercial operation hopefully in the most efficient and somewhat profitable way. ** ( It is almost impossible these days for any commercial fisherman to make any profit-and they do it mostly as a labor of love. Trust me on this!!)He has to stay out long enough to pay for the fuel, so he may stay out a few days, throw the fish on ice, and head in when he has enough fish to pay for a pitcher of beer, and a steak or pizza. (Anything but fish!!) In to port he comes, where the fish buyers will purchase his catch, and then turn it over to the distributors, who drive, fly, or ship your FRESH fish to market. Then you take it home, throw it in the freezer, where it sits under the frozen taquitoes or egg rolls for two months, having whatever flavors are left to it turned into some sort of papier mache meal fit for only a cat. The final insult to this wonderful finny friend who gave his life to fill your gullet, comes when you roll him in some pasty flour batter, pour a little beer on him and relinquish his flesh to the fry daddy - or equvilent - and then douse him with "catsup"!!
Where is the humanity!!
"Yeah, I love to fish but I don't really like the taste of fish."
That's what most say, and truth be told I have never been a big fan of "Pescado ala papier mache" myself!! AND, after deep frying the sucker into Mrs. Pauls culinary nightmare, there is not much difference between an egg roll and a Salmon.
People always say fish smells "fishy" and while as a whole this is true--the meat when fresh usually does not smell bad.
Most people that I have forced to eat real fresh fish--while at gunpoint-- have always been pleasantly surprised at the taste, and have this look on them like they have just tasted fish for the first time. Itchy trigger finger aside, they seem sincere.
Rarely do they say: "It tastes like Chicken!"-
That's because it tastes better, and if you ignore the mercury poisoning, and DDT traces --it is better for you.
Anyway, like the song says--"All we are sayyying is give fish a chance".... or something like that.
So, keep supporting catch and release fishing, do what you can to improve habitat and the environment in general, but don't feel guilty if you keep an occasional fish and get to experience what is truly one of the great pleasures of fishing, eating ones catch.
A. J. Klott
Author, writer of fishing humor, and "fly tack" peddler. A. J. writes about the people, characters and modern day events that surround the fishing world. His first book is due out in December of 2005.