Tag Archives: fishing

Embrace Spring with these Delicious Fish Recipes

Rejoice and feel the warmth (and probably the allergies) because spring is back! And is there anything better than diving into a plate of fresh fish that you caught and prepared yourself on a warm evening? Probably not. Here are just a few spring fish recipes to get you in the mood for this warm weather.

Spring Fish Pie

Courtesy of BBC’s Good Food

Spring fish pie

Spring fish pie. [Image: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/]

Ingredients

  • 250g bag washed leaf spinach
  • 450g small new potato
  • 2 eggs
  • 300g skinless, boneless white fish fillet, cut into large chunks
  • 100g half-fat crème fraîche
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Directions

  • Heat oven to 420 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Tip the spinach into a colander sitting in the sink and tip the potatoes into a saucepan.
  • Bring a kettle full of water to the boil and pour enough over the potatoes to cover. Slowly pour the rest over the spinach to wilt it.
  • Bring the potatoes to the boil and cook for 8–10 mins until tender. Drain and roughly mash.
  • Leave the spinach to cool. Squeeze out excess water with your hands.
  • Scatter the spinach over the bottom of two individual or one small ovenproof dish leaving two gaps for the eggs.
  • Crack the eggs into the gaps and season with salt and pepper.
  • Distribute the fish over the spinach and eggs.
  • Spread over the crème fraîche and drizzle with the lemon juice.
  • Loosely spoon over the potatoes, drizzle over the olive oil, then bake for 20–25 minutes until the top is crispy and golden and the sauce is bubbling at the sides.
  • Leave to stand for a few mins, then serve straight from the dish.

Grilled Salt and Pepper Tuna

Courtesy of Food Republic

Grilled salt and pepper tuna

Grilled salt and pepper tuna. [Image: https://www.pinterest.com/pin/162129655305811754/]

Ingredients:

  • 3 pounds sushi-grade tuna
  • 1/2 cup black pepper, coarsely ground
  • 1/4 cup coarse sea salt
  • 8 zucchini
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • Coarse salt
  • Coarsely ground black pepper
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons capers
  • 2 lemons
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

Directions:

  • Slice the tuna into 8 equal steaks.
  • Combine the pepper and salt in a small bowl and pour onto a clean dinner plate.
  • Press each tuna steak into the mixture to coat evenly. Refrigerate until ready to grill.
  • Preheat the grill to medium.
  • Cut each zucchini lengthwise into 5 or 6 strips.
  • Lay flat, brush with oil, and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  • Grill for one for two minutes per side, until lightly browned. Set aside.
  • Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  • Add the capers and cook for two minutes.
  • Add the lemon juice, salt, and pepper and cook for two minutes to heat through.
  • Add the tuna steaks to the grill and grill for two to three minutes on each side for medium-rare.
  • To assemble, place 5 or 6 zucchini strips in the center of each plate.
  • Drizzle with lemon caper butter.
  • Top each plate of zucchini with a tuna steak.

Crispy Fish Sandwiches with Wasabi and Ginger

Courtesy of Fine Cooking

Crispy Fish Sandwiches with Wasabi and Ginger

Crispy Fish Sandwiches with Wasabi and Ginger. [Image: http://www.finecooking.com/]

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 medium lime, finely grated to yield 1/2 teaspoon zest and squeezed to yield 4 teaspoon juice
  • 1.5 tsp. wasabi paste, add more to taste
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 cup panko
  • 4 4- to 5- ounce boneless, skinless hake, haddock, or cod fillets (preferably 1 to 1-1/2 inches thick)
  • 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 3 cups thinly sliced iceberg lettuce (about 1/4 head)
  • 4 hamburger buns, lightly toasted

Directions:

  • In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime zest, 1 teaspoon of the lime juice, and the wasabi paste. Season to taste with salt, pepper, and more wasabi, if you like.
  • In a wide, shallow bowl, lightly beat the eggs and 1 tablespoon of the soy sauce until combined. Put the panko in another wide shallow bowl.
  • Pat the fish fillets dry and lightly season with salt.
  • Working with one fillet at a time, dip it in the egg mixture, letting any excess drip off, then coat with the panko, pressing the breadcrumbs onto the fish. Set each breaded fillet on a plate or tray as you finish it.
  • In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat 1/2 cup of the oil over medium heat until shimmering hot.
  • Fry the fish, flipping once, until well browned and just cooked through, 5 to 8 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain and sprinkle each fillet with a pinch of salt.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, stir together the remaining 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, 1 tablespoon oil, the ginger, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Add the lettuce and toss to coat.
  • Spread the wasabi mayonnaise on both cut sides of the buns. Put one fish fillet on the bottom of each bun. Top with the lettuce and the bun top.

Back to Basics: Inshore Tackle

Inshore saltwater kayak fishing is one of the most popular means of fishing for a large percentage of the kayaking community. The ease of access, relatively safe waters, and challenging fishing draws thousands of anglers to chase inshore species every year. But while planning an inshore kayak fishing trip with a few friends a couple of weeks ago, a buddy asked me, “What should I bring?”

For those inexperienced with inshore fishing, the choice of tackle can be daunting. Aside from the obvious of live/dead bait, a beginner is faced with hundreds of options of artificial hard or soft baits, colors, shapes, sizes, etc. So I tore apart my tackle box and whittled my plethora of choices down to just a few options that I deem essential for an inshore fisherman’s collection.

Swim/Paddle Tails

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

Used in combination with a small jig head, these soft plastics catch just about everything that swims around inshore waters. The rate of “wiggle” that the swim tail has depends solely on how fast the retrieve is. These are great for bottom bouncing to chase things like flounder and redfish, but can also be pulled in quicker and higher in the water column to entice trout and snook. Just remember to always bring extras. Toothy guys like mangrove snappers have a nasty habit of biting off the swim tail.

Weedless Jerk Shad

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

One of the biggest issues with inshore fishing is obstructions. Mangrove roots, oyster bars, docks, weeds, trees, etc. You name it, you’re probably going to get hung up on it it. And unfortunately that’s where most of the fish like to hang out, so you’ll find yourself casting near these things constantly. This is where weedless setups shine. Using wide gap worm hooks, an angler can easily make use of these weedless setups. Generally speaking, the soft plastic itself is heavy enough to cast, but if you’re trying to reach deeper water, or bottom bounce, a simple bullet weight can change how these are used. Twitch them occasionally for a mid-water column effect or very quickly to simulate something topwater. Set the hook pretty hard with these setups as you need to obviously expose the hook for it to work. 

Shrimp Imitations

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

Baits like DOA shrimp and similar are absolutely dynamite when it comes to inshore species. Their design also means that the hook is almost always faced upwards, which limits the amount of snagging that occurs with the bottom. They are unfortunately somewhat expensive when compared to other options, but I’ve encountered numerous instances where it’s the only thing fish will hit. Slow twitching works great, and sometimes all it takes is letting the bait drift down current for a fish to pick it up. It isn’t uncommon at all for fish to hit the shrimp immediately after it hitting the water, so don’t be surprised if you reel in the slack to find a fish on the end already.

Spinner Baits/Buzz Baits 

To many, this may seem like an oddball choice. Spinner baits and buzz baits are generally used by freshwater fisherman after bass. But in case you haven’t heard, redfish absolutely love them. They’re somewhat difficult to use since they aren’t weedless and require a bit of depth to the water, but since many inshore spots have poor water clarity, the vibrations of the blade attract fish. High tide and oyster bars are when I break out the spinner baits, and I’m rarely disappointed in their results.

red fish

This red fell victim to a spinner bait. [Image: Alex Vail]

Topwaters

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

As far as excitement goes, topwaters take the grand prize. There’s few things in life more exciting than watching your surface plug get annihilated by a fish from below. There are several options when it comes to these, but I almost always go with a lure that does the “walk the dog” action. These simulate a wounded baitfish on the surface and have an advantage over subsurface lures in that they rarely get caught on anything. The simple fact that they float means that glide right over the top of anything below, meaning they rarely foul. Use these early morning and late evening when it’s rather dark outside.

Popping Corks

Image: Alex Vail

Image: Alex Vail

The final piece of tackle I wouldn’t leave home without is the popping cork. Generally used when fishing with live or dead bait, a popping cork rig shouldn’t be overlooked when considering artificials either. Previously mentioned baits like swim tails, shrimp imitations, and jerk shad can easily be tied underneath a popping cork and used effectively. The nice thing about these is that the cork actually keeps the lure suspended and off the bottom. Tie a one to two foot piece of mono or fluorocarbon underneath the popper and then attach the bait. The quick popping action works the lure below and keeps it suspended. And in instances where a fish strikes, it’s immediately noticeable as the cork disappears below.

snook

Snook that fell for a DOA under a popping cork. [Image: Alex Vail]

So if you’re just getting into inshore fishing and trying to sort out the tackle box, consider giving these a try. One or the other, or a combination of them, all is bound to eventually work. Trout, reds, flounder, snook, and more are options for inshore kayak fishermen. With the right amount of patience, equipment, and luck, inshore kayak fishing can be one of the most productive ways to fish. Tight lines!

Women that Fish: Phenomenal Fisherwomen

Many imagine fishing as a sport that middle-aged or retired men enjoy at their leisure; maybe they’ll bring their sons along, hopefully bagging a bite that’ll make for a tasty dinner. But since it’s Women’s History Month, we want to break that illusion and give some attention to the fisherwomen out there who are totally killing it. More and more women are coming forward in their love for the great outdoors and angling to destroy these previously conceived notions, and it’s about time we focus some attention on them for their efforts.

Marianne Huskey

Marianne Huskey.

Not sure who has the bigger smile here. [Image: http://www.fishingdad.com/]

History was made in the fishing world when Marianne Huskey took home the Anglers Insight Marketing Angler of the Year award as she was the first woman to ever win it. The award is given to a fisherman (or fisherwoman!) who acquires the most points over the course of a season, and in 2012, Huskey beat out all the other fishermen who were competing for the prize. The year prior, Huskey also received the Dave Anderson Sportsman of the Year award, which is awarded to anglers who promote the sport best and act professionally in competitions. You go, girl!

Pam Martin-Wells

Pam Martin-Wells.

One fish, two fish… [Image: http://espn.go.com/]

Pam Martin-Wells has won a slew of awards for her accomplishments in fishing, including 22nd place in the 2010 Bassmaster Classic, the WBT Championship (Classic), the 2010 Lady Bass Championship, and 25 Time Classic Qualifier. She’s also been recognized as the Women’s All-Time Leading Money Winner and Time Angler of the Year in 1994, 1995, 2005, 2009, 2011, 2013, and 2014 and has been inducted into both the Legends of the Outdoors Hall of Fame and the Decatur County Sports Hall of Fame. She clearly has a lot of experience in fishing, having spent her entire life doing so, and is sure to keep making strides for women in the sport.

Sheila Penfold

Sheila Penfold.

Sheila hugging one of her record-breaking catfish. Is there really a more appropriate response to hooking a monster like this? [Image: http://neveryetmelted.com/]

Included mostly because this is just a really fun and inspiring story. Sheila joined her husband Alan on a few fishing trips and ended up catching two record-breaking catfish. The best part? She’s partially blind and had only about four years of experience! In 2009, Sheila hooked a 214-pound catfish in Barcelona, the largest ever caught by a woman. The next year, she went on to catch 192-pound albino catfish, which was the largest of the rare species to ever be caught. Pretty damn impressive if you ask us!

Stephanie Choate

Stephanie Choate.

Champagne = totally warranted here. [Image: http://internationalfishingnews.blogspot.com/]

Following in her father, Tim Choate’s, footsteps, Stephanie has been fishing since she was young. She worked hard at being a fisherwoman worthy of looking up to, and eventually asked her dear old dad for tips on tournament fishing. And that’s when the opportunities really piled up for her. Stephanie has fished marlins in the Marshall Islands, attended ILTTA angler-based tournaments in Costa Rica and Puerto Rico, caught bluefins in Nova Scotia, and way more. Not only is she invested in the fishing world, but she’s also heavily into conservation efforts as she’s seen the negative effects of overfishing and longlining. Stephanie is still making amazing strides in both fishing and preservation, donating most of her winnings to IGFA and Wild Oceans.

If you’re feeling inspired and dying to explore the depths of water that surround us after reading this article (don’t lie, we know you are), then make sure you download our Pocket Ranger® mobile apps to help make your experiences more memorable.

Kayaks and Kayak Accessories

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

By this point, we’ve all seen them—the fishing kayaks decked out with everything from GoPro mounts and livewells to sails and even motors. To the beginner kayaker, the amount of options to add to your kayak can seem somewhat overwhelming. Sure, you can add tons of stuff to your plastic yak, but where do you start? The following are a few basic accessories that can slowly turn your barren paddle craft into a much more functional piece of equipment without getting too crazy.

Kayak on the beach loaded with gear.

Image: Alex Vail

Seats

This may seem a bit basic, but first things first, right? A good seat is probably one of the most important pieces of equipment you can “upgrade” on your kayak. Think about it: It’s where you spend almost all your time. Kayaking and kayak fishing is supposed to be enjoyable, and each trip can be much more enjoyable when you’re actually comfortable. Stock kayak seats are often extremely basic. Some even lack a bottom and are just a support to lean against. I personally suggest biting the bullet and investing in a nice seat. When you’re already staring at almost a full day in the yak or over 10 miles of paddling, the last thing in the world you want is to be cripplingly uncomfortable. 

Some kayaks don’t come with the standard cleats that are required with a seat. But with a few basic tools and sealant, it’s pretty easy to get the kayak ready to not only accept a new seat, but also make it comfortable.

Rudder

Another somewhat basic piece of equipment, but one that can make your life infinitely easier. I personally swear by a rudder—it’s far better to have and not need than need and not have. The advantage to a rudder is tackling windy conditions during longer paddles. The rudder helps the kayak track much more easily so you aren’t constantly trying to correct, and therefore alter, your paddling rhythm. A simple pedal-steered rudder can make life much easier while out on the water. These are advantageous in foul weather as well when you’ve been caught in the wind and have to turn around. Ask anyone who’s struggled with that, and they know the nightmare it can be. Finally, a rudder proves useful even in calm conditions on days when you’re out fishing. You can get the kayak moving with a few paddle strokes, and after picking up the rod, you can easily adjust the direction of the kayak with some simple footwork with the pedals. It’s even easier when the wind is at your back.

Much like the seats, installing a rudder just requires a few basic tools and obviously the equipment. Be sure to sit in the seat and measure out how comfortable you are and how far away you need the pedals to be based off of your leg length. If your rudder doesn’t already have it, I highly suggest using a steel cable to link the rudder to the pedals. My last rudder with steel cables lasted 11 years before finally needing any maintenance.

Closeup of kayak.

Image: Alex Vail

Anchor Trolley 

This is one that I don’t see many people using. In fact, I don’t see a ton of people using anchors to begin with. But the advantage to an anchor trolley is the ability to adjust the direction you’re faced when anchored up. With this very simple pulley system, a kayaker can change the facing and actual location of the kayak even while anchored. Need the pivot point of the anchor line to be off the bow? Just adjust it. Need to face the opposite direction so you can cast repeatedly into that hole? Fine-tune the pivot point to your liking. It’s proved invaluable for me on several occasions, and it wasn’t particularly difficult to install.

So if you’ve just recently dipped your toes into the world of kayaking, try and start small. The bigger, more in-depth accessories can wait. Focus on the basics first. With these simple upgrades, you can easily step up your kayak game. Just be careful: Upgrading the kayak can be a slippery slope. Before you know it, you’ll be latching on sails and livewells just like everyone else.

Fall Surf Fishing

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

It’s getting to be that time of the year again—the dog days of summer are beginning to wane (even here in Florida), and there’s a cool breeze in the air. Pretty soon the water temperatures will begin to drop, and that means different fish species start to pop up on the radar for fall. If you’re lucky enough to live near the coast, you may find yourself in the perfect position to do one of my favorite types of fall fishing: surf fishing.

Man fishing on the beach.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

I’m asked fairly regularly by friends of mine to take them fishing when they haven’t actually been before. When it comes to taking someone fishing for their first time, it’s generally best to pick something low-key. I’m not exactly about to go pole the tarpon flats with the fly rod with someone who has never even caught a fish before. So when I introduce someone to fishing for the first time, it’s almost always surf fishing.

Surf fishing combines two of the greatest things around: fishing and sitting on the beach. And honestly, it’s generally fairly action-packed. But before you go running off to cast some lines out into the water, take the time to plan properly to maximize your enjoyment and success.

Tackle

Generally speaking, the name of the game with surf fishing is long distance casting—you want to be able to get the bait out past the breakers and into deeper water. At least one long surf casting rod is a must with line and leader weight depending on the species you’re targeting. For species like pompano and whiting, I generally stick with 10-12 lb test. With other species, like redfish, it might be wise to step up the game a little. Fall (particularly down here in Florida) is when the big bull reds come in to spawn. It wouldn’t be surprising in the least to hook a 40+ inch fish from the beach, so plan accordingly.

Fish in a cooler.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

When it comes to leaders and bait, I almost always use a double or triple dropper rig with a pyramid weight. The pyramid weight will help keep the bait from rolling around in the surf, and the multiple hooks allow for more bait. And everyone knows there’s no such thing as too much bait.

Equipment

Rod holders (a.k.a Sand Spikes)! These are pretty much a requirement. No one really wants to hold onto their rod the entire time as sometimes it takes a while for the bite to pick up. Bury the sand spike into the sand, and make sure it’s secure before putting a baited line in it. The simple fact that you don’t have to hold onto your rod now opens you up to use multiple rods, which increases the amount of bait out in the water (yes, lots of bait is important). This also means you can cover more water, which is important because sometimes fish aren’t always present in every part of a hole.

A fishing rod perched in the sand.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

Coolers and carts are also fairly important in my book. Coolers for the obvious reasons of keeping fish and drinks cold, but the cart for its simple ease factor. Drop the cooler in a cart, put the rods inside of it, and suddenly you’re only making one trip from the truck instead of five. I’m also a HUGE fan of using folding chairs once I’m set up on the beach. I generally place the chair right in the middle of my setup so that I’m equidistant from my two rods farthest away from me, and then I sit back and enjoy a cold drink without sitting in the sand. Don’t get too comfortable, though; it’s not uncommon for three or four of your rods to get strikes at once, so you might not be doing too much sitting.

Tactics

The final and probably most important part of surf fishing are the actual tactics involved. They aren’t particularly complex, but you must always remember that not all parts of the beach are created equal. There are good spots and bad spots; holes that produce fish, and holes that just waste time. Look for areas of deeper water where the breakers aren’t, well, breaking. Deeper water closer to shore tends to hold fish. Also keep track of which direction your current is moving parallel to the beach. I like to set up on the down current side of certain holes to catch anything that may be chasing bait as it’s pushed along by the current.

Remember how I mentioned a longer rod is nice to have? Well it isn’t just nice because you can cast further. It’s important to try and place your sand spike as high as you can above the water line, because once you’ve cast out, the line is now at a downward slope toward the water. The longer the rod, the higher that point of entry is into the water, and the line doesn’t drag in the water as much. This is important because incoming waves tend to pull on the line, and it’s often easy to mistake a wave as a fish strike.

Fish.

Image Credit: Alex Vail

So if you find yourself with the chance to hit the beach this fall, consider giving surf fishing a try. If you’re also ever looking to take someone fishing for the first time, always give this type of fishing a go. It’s extremely low-key with easy clean up and is often times quite action-packed. Worst case scenario, their first time fishing includes siting on the beach and catching a good tan all morning, and that’s still pretty hard to beat. The only thing to make it better is a cooler full of pompano.

Warm Your Belly with these Fall Fish Recipes

Fall cooking means savory, rich, and delicious meals that warm you up against the autumn chills that are starting to creep around. Here are three unique fall fish recipes to use to prepare your latest catch!

Cedar Smoked Maple Salmon

Courtesy of The World Fishing Network

A piece of salmon cooking on a barbecue plank.

Image: http://www.worldfishingnetwork.com/

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp. maple sugar (or brown sugar)
  • 2 tbsp. soy sauce (natural brew)
  • 1 clove minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 servings of salmon with skin
  • 2 cedar planks soaked between 2 hrs and 24 hrs

Directions

  • Mix maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, and pepper.
  • Add salmon and rub it down. Let stand for 1 to 2 hrs.
  • Heat barbecue and lay soaked planks facedown. Leave for 3 minutes or until it starts to smoke, then turn over.
  • Add oil to board then add salmon.
  • Sprinkle salmon with maple sugar.
  • Close barbecue lid and cook for 15 minutes (depends on thickness of salmon).

Cedar-Roasted Char

Courtesy of Field & Stream, contributed by Jeff McInnis (chef at Yardbird Southern Table & Bar in Miami Beach)

Cedar-roasted char.

Image: http://www.fieldandstream.com/

  • 6 Arctic char fillets, approx. 5 oz. each
  • Kernels from 15 ears of fresh corn
  • 1⁄2 cup champagne
  • 6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 3 ears corn on the cob
  • 2 cups baby lima beans
  • 1⁄4 cup plus 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup thinly sliced leeks, white part only
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 fresh thyme sprigs
  • 1 large tomato, seeded and diced small
  • Salt to taste
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste

Directions

Make the sauce.

  • Place corn kernels in a blender and puree about a minute until very smooth. Pour puree into a bowl through a fine-mesh sieve.
  • Press on pulp to extract as much juice as possible then discard pulp.
  • Add corn juice and champagne to a small saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Cook, stirring constantly, for about 3 minutes or until it thickens almost to the consistency of pudding. (Sauce at bottom may appear slightly scorched; keep stirring.)
  • Reduce the heat to low and stir in the butter one piece at a time to form a silky sauce.
  • Remove from heat; the natural cornstarch will thicken.
  • Season with salt and pepper, and set aside.

Make the succotash.

  • Bring large pot of water to a boil over high heat.
  • Add carrots, and cook for approx. 3 minutes or until tender.
  • Transfer to a bowl of ice water.
  • Add corn, and remove when water returns to a boil in approx. 3 minutes.
  • Set corn aside and add lima beans to same water.
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer for 10 minutes or until tender.
  • Drain, and set lima beans aside.
  • Cut kernels off corncobs and discard cobs.
  • Heat 1⁄4 cup olive oil in a large, shallow saucepan over medium-high heat.
  • Add leeks and sauté for few minutes.
  • Tie up the bay leaf with thyme sprigs like a bouquet using butcher twine. Add to pan.
  • Add reserved carrots, lima beans, and corn along with the tomatoes.
  • Season generously with salt and pepper.
  • Cook for approx. 2 minutes or until just warmed through.
  • Remove herbs, cover, and remove from heat.

Cook the fish.

  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  • Lightly oil fillets with remaining 2 tbsp. olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.
  • Place fish on a thin cedar plank and bake for 7 to 9 minutes depending on thickness.
  • To serve, spoon a generous portion of succotash onto the plates, top with the fish, and torch.
  • Brush each fillet with the corn sauce. Using a kitchen torch, lightly brown the sauce as you would a crème brûlée. Alternatively, brush the fillets with corn sauce while they’re still on the plank and place them under a broiler very close to the heat. Remove when sauce has browned.

Walleye Wild Rice Cakes with Wasabi Dressing

Courtesy of Midwest Living

Walleye Wild Rice Cakes with Wasabi Sauce.

Image: http://www.midwestliving.com/

Ingredients

  • 8 oz. skinned walleye
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup cooked wild rice
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 tbsp. finely chopped red sweet pepper
  • 2tbsp. canola oil mayonnaise or regular mayonnaise
  • 1tbsp. Dijon-style mustard
  • 1tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2tbsp. canola oil
  • 1/4 cup canola oil mayonnaise or regular mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1/2 tsp. prepared wasabi paste
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. soy sauce
  • Salt to taste
  • Ground black pepper to taste
  • Mixed greens (optional)

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
  • In a 2-quart baking dish, pour wine over fish.
  • Bake uncovered for 4 to 6 minutes per 1/2-inch thickness of fish until fish flakes when tested with a fork. Drain and break into pieces.
  • In medium bowl, combine fish, egg, panko, cooked wild rice, onion, red sweet pepper, 2 tbsp. mayonnaise, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.
  • Shape mixture into 6 3/4-inch thick patties (about 1/3 cup each).
  • Place patties on a baking sheet, cover, and chill for 2 hrs.
  • In 12-inch skillet, heat canola oil over medium heat. Add patties to skillet and cook 10 minutes or until golden brown, turning once.

Make wasabi dressing.

  • In small bowl, combine 1/4 cup mayonnaise, 1/2 tsp. lemon juice, wasabi paste, sugar, and soy sauce.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  • Serve cakes with dressing on a bed of greens, if desired.

Top 5 YouTube Hunting and Outdoor Channels

Imagine if hunting was like the shows on Outdoor Channel: You get up at 8:00 a.m. (dang, that’s early!) and drive your camouflaged ATV 100 yards to a small condominium overlooking a soybean field where you can see in every direction for seven miles. After ten long minutes, the bucks start coming in, each bigger than the last and with names like Heart Attack and Linebacker because you’ve already ranked and catalogued them all on your trail camera. You pick the one you like because it has nice G4’s and a drop tine (it’s just like shopping), and then it magically appears in the back of a new Dodge Ram. Throw in some commercial breaks for Michael Waddell’s irresistible food coloring and corn syrup mineral licks, and that’s hunting. Fortunately there’s an alternative called YouTube, a democratized space where amateur videographers and outdoorsmen present alternative and more realistic depictions of hunting.

DIY Sportsman

The above video is probably the single best tutorial on public land scouting available on the web, and it’s yours for free thanks to Garrett Prahl aka DIY Sportsman. For the last three years, Garrett has built a small library of self-shot hunting and fishing videos set in Minnesota and Wisconsin that reflect his self-reliant philosophy of hunting. Garret is an extremely good hunter, but what I admire most his work is that he’s not afraid to make a video that reflects our most common experience as hunters: going home empty handed. There’s an elk hunting video on his channel where the high point is him waking up in the middle of the night to discover that his pants have frozen solid. How many of us screw things up while hunting? Yet every hunting show only depicts hunters getting it right. Garrett is able to pull this off because he knows you can learn as much from an unsuccessful hunt as a successful one. With each video, success or not, DIY Sportsman delivers an honest and informative take on hunting.

Virtuovice

I discovered Virtuovice’s channel a few years ago while looking for a tutorial on Japanese water stones. Virtuovice, also known as Wako, has since earned himself a cult following on YouTube for his expert knife reviews. Because Wako takes about 70 deer a year (the area where he lives is overrun), he’s personally field tested almost every quality hunting knife you can think of. This is real knowledge that can be useful for making your next purchase. Despite specializing in knife reviews, his self-shot sika deer hunts in the snowy mountains of Hokkaido are simply beautiful. I recommend this channel to anybody looking to buy their first hunting knife or learn the finer points of blade geometry.

Stuck N The Rut

Travis Schneider started Stuck N The Rut in 2010 to showcase his family’s free DIY hunting videos. The team’s excellent camera work, beautiful featured locales, and dedication to the concept of earning your hunt make Stuck N The Rut essential YouTube viewing. Although they’re young, these guys are absolute pros at what they do, and even the most experienced hunters can learn something new by watching them. Their Alaskan moose hunting videos are simply breathtaking.

Leatherwood Outdoors

Leatherwood Outdoors is a loose collective of truly dedicated and down-to-earth PA boys who document everything from hunting rattlesnakes and snapping turtles to using a flintlock shotgun for grouse. They’re rowdy, fun, and have no product to sell you. They simply love to hunt, and the videos capture their enthusiasm perfectly. If you’re just learning to hunt in the Northeast, this is great place to get some practical advice.

Primitive Pathways

Forget Bear Grylls: Billy Berger of Primitive Pathways is the guy you want on your side for the Apocalypse. In one video, he literally saws a branch off a tree, magically turns it into a longbow before your eyes, then proceeds to hunt with it. He’s as skilled a woodworker as he is a hunter. His videos on the use and effectiveness of stone and primitive weapons are both edifying and entertaining. This guy is the absolute real deal.

We just recently launched our Pocket Ranger® video channel where you can see even more hunting and fishing videos from contributors Bubba Rountree, Darcizzle Offshore, Fishing with Flair, Mr. Bluegill, Captain Ben Chancey from Chew on This, and more. Check it out, and make sure you download our Trophy Case mobile app before hunting season goes into full swing.

Five Trophy Cases We Aspire Toward

We here at ParksByNature are enamored with trophy case catches and constantly find ourselves hoping that every tug on our line is the next big one—if our website didn’t clue you in to that, anyway. Here are five of our favorite trophy cases that may have made us stare with our mouth open for longer than we’d like to admit.

Blue Catfish by Greg Bernal and Janet Momphard

Two people with a giant catfish.

Greg Bernal and Janet Momphard trying to assemble their monster 130-pound blue catfish. [Image: http://darkroom.baltimoresun.com/]

The couple in Missouri was about to give up and decided to castaway one last time around 1:30 a.m. on July 21st, 2010. Well it’s lucky that they did, because it resulted in them catching a world record-breaking 130-pound blue catfish! They beat the previous world record (also caught in Missouri) by a mere six pounds.

Alligator Gar by John Paul Morris

A man smiling next to a huge alligator gar.

John Paul Morris smiling alongside his terrifying alligator gar. [Image: http://bigfishesoftheworld.blogspot.com/]

Not the largest alligator gar ever caught, but possibly the world record for an alligator gar caught by bow and arrow, this monster rang in at 8’3” and weighed 230-pounds. John Paul Morris is the son of Bass Pro Shops CEO, Johnny Morris, and has quite a few trophies catches and kills to brag about. He hooked this humungous, frightening fish in May 2009.

Largemouth Bass by John Perry

A black and white photo of a man handing a huge largemouth bass to a child.

A photo finally surfaced of John Perry’s record setting largemouth bass. [Image: http://www.mrlurebox.com/]

John Perry created a world record that people spend their entire fishing careers trying to break: the 22-pound, 4-ounce largemouth bass. This record was set on June 2, 1932, and Japanese angler Manabu Kurita tied it on July 2, 2009. Other than that, the record still stands.

Atlantic Bluefin Tuna by Ken Fraser

A man standing next to a gigantic bluefin tuna.

Ken Fraser posing next to his monsterous 1,496-pound Atlantic bluefin tuna. [Image: http://bigfishesoftheworld.blogspot.com/]

On October 26, 1979, Ken Fraser hooked a record-breaker in Nova Scotia, and it somehow only took him 45 minutes to reel it in. He caught a 1,496-pound Atlantic bluefin tuna that even ranks among one of the world’s biggest fish ever caught in general.

Stingray by Jeff Corwin

Seven men holding a gigantic stingray.

It took eight people to hold Jeff Corwin’s stingray so they could measure it by hand. [Image: http://news.nationalgeographic.com/]

Nature conservationist Jeff Corwin caught a 14-foot long, 8-foot wide, and 800-pound stingray on the Mae Klong River in Thailand in March 2015. The stingray took two hours to reel with assistance from multiple men, and was placed in a specially made pen where eight people helped measure it to calculate its weight (it was too large for a scale).

Three Do-It-Yourself Catfish Bait Recipes

Sometimes the best idea for succeeding in your favorite hobby is to change things up a bit. Trying a new fishing method may lead to hooking that prize catfish you’ve been after; a true record-breaker that you’ll brag about for years to come. Here are three unique catfish bait recipes you can cook up next time you’re heading out on a fishing excursion, rather than rely on worms or pretty lures.

A man holding a gigantic 200+ pound catfish.

Gigantic 232-pound wels catfish caught by Sven Weide. This could be you if you play around with these fun recipe ideas! [Image: http://www.grindtv.com/]

Jack’s Cat Attack

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. chicken livers
  • 1 package hot dogs
  • ½ loaf bread
  • 2 cans nacho cheese
  • 1 can corn
  • ¼ bottle Tabasco sauce
  • Dozen chopped worms

Directions

  • Age chicken livers in the sun and mix with hot dogs in a blender.
  • Break up bread into bite-sized pieces and place in a gallon jug.
  • Pour the liver and hot dog mix over the bread chunks.
  • Add nacho cheese, corn, Tabasco sauce, and worms into the mixture.
  • Pour the mixture out of the jug and knead until it becomes thick and dough-like. Store in the sun in a large plastic container until your next fishing venture.

Cajun Mud Bait

A man with a mask on putting a fish into a blender filled with green liquid.

It may smell pretty horrible, but in the end, it’ll all be worth it. [Image: http://www.userinteraction.com/]

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. rotten minnows
  • ½ cup water
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese
  • 1 box of cherry Jell-o
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 3 tbsps. onion salt
  • 3 tbsps. garlic salt
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 3 tbsps. soy sauce
  • ½ cup flour

Directions

  • Mix minnows, water, Parmesan cheese, Jell-o, molasses, onion salt, garlic salt, breadcrumbs, and soy sauce in a blender.
  • Pour mixture into a bowl and add flour as needed until thick.
  • Roll into small 1-inch balls and store in plastic bags.

Catfish Mélange

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. Velveeta cheese
  • 6-8 oz. chopped chicken liver
  • 1 tbsps. Garlic powder
  • 1 can wet dog food
  • Dozen minnows
  • ½ cup flour

Directions

  • Melt cheese and mix in chicken liver.
  • Add garlic powder, dog food, and minnows.
  • Use flour as needed to thicken.
  • Mix all ingredients together in a blender.

A big ball of food on a fish hook.

Successful homemade catfish bait ready to hook a big one. [Image: http://www.fishingtalks.com/]

Have any successful catfish (or any fish!) bait recipes? Download our Pocket Ranger Trophy Case® mobile app and share your secrets with us on our social media pages. Looking forward to hearing your tips!

Boatless Angling

Contributed by Alex Vail of The Flying Kayak

Florida is one of the top fishing destinations in the United States. People flock from all around the country to chase the wide variety of both saltwater and freshwater fish species that our state has to offer, particularly in the summertime. However, upon arrival, a person doesn’t have to look long before they start spotting big offshore fishing boat, flats boats, and bass boats. It’s easy to feel as though there’s no other option for fishing in Florida if you don’t have a boat. However, with the right know-how, a fisherman can easily take advantage of the many boatless angling opportunities here in the Sunshine State this summer.

Wade Fishing

Fish caught on a lure.

This trout was caught on a wade fishing trip. [Image: Alex Vail]

What’s one of the nice things about wade fishing in Florida? You can wear your swimsuit to wade fish almost eight months out of the year. The state has countless opportunities and places for anglers to take a step into the water and immediately begin chasing big fish. Most state parks have easy inshore wade fishing access for places like mangrove creeks and sea grass beds, but obviously not all areas can be wade fished—a combination of oyster bars and chest deep mud usually snuffs that. But even so, there are a wide range of places to choose from (particularly along the Gulf Coast) if you’re looking to get a little wet while you fish. Just remember shoes! Many of the grass beds are home to sea urchins, and that’s the last thing anyone wants buried in their foot.

Beach Fishing

A fishing rod in the sand on the beach with a sunset in the background.

[Image: Alex Vail]

What’s more relaxing than the beach? How about fishing while relaxing at the beach. Beach fishing (or surf fishing) is an extremely easy and fun way to get your fishing fix without ever having to step on a boat. With the exception of the Big Bend and Ten Thousand Islands areas, beach fishing is a perfectly reasonable way to catch a wide variety of fish. Talk to local bait shops and ask what is running in during that time of the year and in that place, and you should be able to get a rough idea of what to expect. Just remember a cooler full of ice and a lawn chair, unless you prefer sitting in the sand.

Pier Fishing 

If you don’t mind fishing alongside other anglers, pier fishing can be an extremely effective method here in Florida. A quick Google search or looking at a satellite image of the coastline will point out the piers—they’re scattered all along our coasts. Do note, however, that just like some state park entrances, getting onto most piers comes with a small entrance fee. Pier fishermen in the Gulf or Atlantic can expect to catch anything from redfish and pompano all the way up to sailfish and tarpon depending on the place and time of the year. Don’t cross off inshore pier fishing, either! Most bridges in the state have been updated in the past few decades and many of their old ancestors have been converted into piers.

Canal/Bank Fishing

A peaceful photo of a canal with trees along the sides.

[Image: Alex Vail]

It’s easy to focus primarily on saltwater fishing when one comes down to Florida. We do, after all, have plenty of it to go around. Freshwater fishing shouldn’t be overlooked, though. In fact, Florida produces some of the biggest largemouth bass in the country. Freshwater fishing without a boat isn’t ideal, but it can definitely be done. Unfortunately in the Northern and Central regions of Florida, freshwater fishing from the shore won’t be too enjoyable. Most lakes or rivers have limited access or small piers. Wade fishing in freshwater isn’t the greatest idea, either, unless you don’t mind getting friendly with our resident alligators. Southern Florida, however, actually does have quite a bit of freshwater fishing access in the form of bank fishing. South Florida is riddled with canal systems that cross the state in almost every direction. Many of these can be accessed right off of the side of the road. Inland canals are home to largemouth, bream, catfish, and even exotic species like cichlids and peacock bass. Canals closer to the coast often get landlocked tarpon and snook as well. It certainly isn’t uncommon to reel in a bass only to catch a snook on the next cast. Just be aware that not all canal levees have public access, but they’re generally well-marked with signage explaining just that. Also note that, however sad it might be, the crime rate in many areas of South Florida is extremely high. When fishing in some of these urban canals, be conscious of your surroundings and be sure to lock your vehicle and hide/remove any valuables from your car while you’re out fishing.

So if you make your way down to hot and sunny Florida this summer and want to fish, don’t get discouraged if you don’t have a boat. There are opportunities everywhere around the state to fish without a vessel. Be it fishing in waist deep water for trout or casting for cobia from a pier, anyone can get down to the Sunshine State and still have a great time on foot.