If you’re not hungry for fish at the end of this post, something is wrong with you – you must be a vegetarian. I love a good veggie, but this is NOT a post about gardening. Today, we’re talking about rippin’ lips aka fishing. I’m going to HOOK (couldn’t resist!) you up with a Fishing Essential Gear List & a recipe for your next fish fry!
There is a Chinese proverb about fishing that is often mistaken for a Bible verse, and it goes…
“Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.”
I think that depends on who is doing this teaching! I went fishing a few times as a child – and caught nothing, zilch, nada. We went ‘fishing’ on family vacations to New Mexico or Colorado; fishing with rented poles, maybe a few worms, & some canned corn. Yes, corn. Stop laughing.
Luckily, I’m engaged to an outdoorsy guy who can fish & hunt and would know how to keep us fed if zombies took over the grocery store.
No Corn Was Hurt Today…
A couple of weeks ago, it was going to be a really nice day out – in the high 60’s with no wind – perfect fishing weather. So my Sparky, & my future father-in-love (FFIL), and I all went fishing. The three of us at the Lake O’ The Pines, in Sparky’s custom-built Gator Trax 17×54 boat, out on the peaceful water, with just enough sunshine & my new Browning hoodie to keep me warm. This girl loves a good hoodie; I’m always cold.
We started out fishing by Watts Island; me with my Zebco 33 fishing pole I got for Christmas from my FFIL, and Sparky with his Abu Garcia Spincast. FFIL was using minnows, and Sparky & I were using night crawler worms. And yes, I can hook my own worm.
I was, however, having a hard time getting my line out where I wanted. Sparky worked with me on casting. I’m a huge OKC Thunder fan, so he said, “Think about Westbrook slamming a basket,” as he mimicked Russell Westbrook’s classic movement with his arm arcing overhead and into the basket. Perfect analogy for me; now I’m a casting fool.
We moved the boat a few times, seeking out different spots to fish. There was a local High School fishing tournament going on that day, but Lake O’ The Pines is a large body of water, and there were plenty of spots for everyone.
Casting our lines, we hoped to catch a mess of Channel Catfish, Redear Sunfish, and Crappie. Initially the only thing biting was Yellow Bass aka Yellow Bellies. Ugh. Not something we wanted in our frying pan, although I know there are people who say they are both healthy & tasty.
Fishing was my big plan for the day, so we kept at it & caught some Channel Catfish aka “Channel Cat” & Redear Sunfish. Every keeper went into the built-in livewell on Sparky’s boat. Days of catching zilch are over.
Pure joy, a little foot stomping happiness, & a holler was going on in that boat when I CAUGHT some Channel Catfish!
Catfish isn’t as healthy as Salmon (Bucket List trip to Alaska needed for that!) but I love a filet of tender, flaky, & spicy blackened or fried catfish. And what I was thinking up as a garnish…it’ll set your taste buds on fire!
We ended our day fishing up in a cove in Hurricane Creek. Going back & forth from both tightlining & cork fishing. Some people might prefer cork fishing. Cork fishing means you watch for the white & red cork to bob under the water as the fish grabs a hold of the bait.
So far I seem to prefer tightlining, where you just feel a slight tug as the fish grabs the bait. I feel like it’s much easier for me to ‘set’ the hook when I’m tightlining vs cork fishing.
Relaxation = Pines
If you’ve never been to Lake O’ The Pines you need to plan a trip to East Texas. If your honey doesn’t fish or hunt, sell them on the beauty of the relaxing pines & peaceful waters. And then check out my Dates In The Pines post to find the best places to adventure & eat while you’re here!
Take a look at Babe’s quick YouTube of Lake O’ The Pines: Riding Around Lake O’ The Pines. See for yourself how relaxing it’ll be when you visit the pineywoods Babe has come to love.
Get Fry Happy!
- Prep – Channel Catfish were filleted, Redear Sunfish were scaled & gutted.
- Breading – Keeping it simple, we used Calhoun Bend Fish Fry Coating Mix. *This girl loves spice, so I also sprinkled mine with Slap Ya Mama seasoning.
- Frying – The lightly breaded fish went into the sizzling hot extra light olive oil (not all olive oil is good for frying) in my Cuisinart Chef’s Classic Stainless 14-inch Stir-Fry Pan. Yes, you read that right. The high sides make it a smart choice for frying small amounts of fish; it makes the small surface area have a greater depth of oil, and you are also less likely to splatter your entire cooktop with oil.
- Drain – Place the fried fish on a serving platter lined with paper towels to absorb extra oil.
- Serve – Plate the fish alongside your favorite tartar sauce or Babe’s Pineapple Pico!
Set Your Taste Buds on Fire!
Ready for a way to kick up your fish? Babe’s Pineapple Pico is a flavorful recipe full of gorgeous yellow & green color that makes anything pop on your plate.
Now imagine eating your freshly caught fish with my pineapple pico in a corn tortilla. I’m your new best friend, aren’t I?
Today I felt like using fresh pineapple, but I’ve also used two of those nifty 4 oz pineapple cups (just drain them really well) when making this recipe. Either way, you want the pineapple chunks to be on the smaller side, so you may need to chop them up a little more.
Okay, so I confess that I did not dice the red onion that you see in the picture below.
I ALWAYS buy pre-diced onion (fresh or frozen). I have tried EVERY, and I do mean EVERY way to cut onions, to no avail. My eyes run constantly, swell up, and I can’t see.
I love onion, but freshly cut – it’s my Kryptonite!
Well, my outdoor-loving friends, y’all should be set. Gather your gear, get out on the lake, & cast like you’re Westbrook getting his next triple-double!
I hope you try my ridiculously easy & tasty garnish. Give it a whirl and come back to let me know what y’all think.
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