Let’s go fresh water fishing for dinner!

Largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides) is a freshwater gamefish that is in the sunfish family. It is a species of black bass and it is native to North America. It is a lovely white meat fish that is solid and delicious to eat.

I remember going fishing, before I was a teenager, with my family in a very forested area of Ontario. It was a research area, so most of the rivers and lakes were not very fished. We had our favourite fishing spots. “The Rocks” was a special favourite. We drove from our home, located on a forestry station, along windy, gravel roads, to a place where we hiked through the low bushes of sweet fern and elders, about a quarter mile, to the wild shoreline. Wearing our black rubber boots, we jumped over the water and landed on one of two huge rocks that protruded out from the shore about eight feet from the water surface.

My father would bait our lines with freshly picked worms or minnows that we trapped earlier in the day from our minnow trap, and then proceeded to through our fishing line over the edge of the rock we sat upon. Once in the water, we would monitor our red and white bobber to see if any fish were nibbling. To make our bait more attractive to the fish, we jigged the line with our free hand.

Sure enough, just as the sun was setting and the dusk was approaching, the bobber bobbed up and down in the water. Using a jigging fashion, I finally snagged a fish – a wonderful largemouth bass. I think it was about two pounds big. I pulled it out of the water, with it thrashing back and forth, fighting to get off my fishing hook. The worm was delicious. However, the next day, that largemouth bass was going to be delicious!

After catching a few largemouth bass each, our family trekked back through the woods to our car. Handheld flashlights led the way. Thank goodness my father turned our car around so it was homeward bound facing. Once into the car, the night became pitch black with only headlights shining.

The catch spent the night in the fridge, ready for cleaning the next day. Once it was gutted and the scales were removed, with my homemade scaler of bottlecaps nailed onto a two by four by eight block of wood, it was time to prepare it for dinner. I recall that the easiest dinner that we would enjoy, was simply a steamed fish.

Wrapped in foil, with a few dabs of butter laid first in the foil then a few slices of fresh lemon, a few sprigs of fresh parsley, finally we would lay our cleaned fish on top. I would also add the same ingredients inside the cleaned out fish belly. Before closing up the foil, I would put more sliced lemon, squeeze a few lemons as well, plus a few turns of ground peppercorns and a drizzle of olive oil, and a sprinkle of kosher salt. Once all of these tasks are done, we would crinkle together to two sides of foil. This would then be placed onto a baking sheet and put into the oven, heated at 325 degrees,

After approximately thirty minutes, we would remove the fish from the oven, open the closed foil, and let the steam come out. Sure enough, the solid, white meat of our largemouth bass was falling off the bones. A lemony butter flavour seaped into the flesh of our fish. It was divine.

I would definitely suggest that you should try to eat fish as soon as it is caught. If you do go fishing, you should be aware that later in the fishing season, by September, quite often you will discover yellow spots on your fish. These are maggots that gaining maturity and should not be eaten. Thus, I would recommend the eat fresh fish in the earlier part of the fishing season.

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