It’s the middle of summer and, to me, that means ‘tis the season for campouts, fishing trips…and, of course, barbecuing. When people ask for fish cooking suggestions, I always recommend the grill.??You just can’t beat that smoky taste you get with a barbecue and food cooked on a grill tends to be a lot more healthy for you since much of the fat burns off or drips into the fire (kinda like the George Foreman Grill only better). To make perfecto fish every time, you need to know a little more about grills. So, here’s a quick glance at BBQ 101.
Summer’s been here long enough now that you’ve probably gotten all the kinks worked out of your boat, you’ve fished a few of the local lakes, maybe figured out a couple patterns and…even trolled up a trout or two.
Well that’s great — good job. But, I’m here to tell you that things are going to get more and more difficult as the summer wears on. As they get pounded by legions of other anglers, the trout in our waters are going to get a little more skittish.
Warming water temperatures and intense sunlight will also make the bite tougher. That’s when you need an edge. Throw something at ’em that nobody else is using. I’ve got just the ticket: The Meat Rig.
Every year at this time there seems to be quite a bit of confusion about shad fishing – and shad in general – and I often have to field a million questions like: What the heck is a shad? and Shad are just small baitfish…why would anybody fish for those things? So, I figured it was time to clear a few things up. With that in mind, here’s my graduate crash course on shad and shad fishing. You will not be tested.
Baitfish vs. Gamefish
The first thing we need to set straight is there are several types of shad. In California, we have two varieties: threadfin and American and this is where most of the misunderstanding begins. Threadfin shad are small baitfish that live in most of our lakes and reservoirs and rarely top 4 inches. American shad, on the other hand, run anywhere from 2 to 7 pounds and spend their lives in the ocean and then come up freshwater streams to spawn in the spring of each year. Aside from the size difference, the two species look similar to one another – deep bodies, big eyes, large silver scales and forked tails. Neither is native to the West Coast.
I received a very interesting call the other day from Abril Tolo, a buddy of mine who works for Game and Fish. He asked if I could help him out with a research project he’s been overseeing for the past several years. Tolo (or “Island” as we call him, which morphed from when we used to call him “A-Tol” but I digress) said all I needed to do was tow my boat down to Lake Clementine where we were going to do a little “hook & line” sampling. He said to bring some light-action steelhead rods and he’d have everything else.
It sounded cool to me and I was particularly intrigued by the fact that he made a specific point to have me bring steelhead rods. I didn’t have the foggiest notion what we’d need them for at Clementine, considering the largest fish I’d ever caught there was a 2-pound smallie. So, it was with great eagerness that I met him at Raley’s in Train Village last Tuesday. As we slowly crept down the winding road to the launch, he gave me the full scoop.
So, that fish you caught the other day didn’t quite turn out to be as good on the grill as you had expected. In fact, you decided that it tasted a little too “fishy.” The funny thing is, however, fish shouldn’t ever taste fishy — and when it does, it usually means it was not properly taken care of between the time it was caught to the time it was eaten. The good news is that dreaded fishy flavor can be avoided!