The Best Way to Catch, Clean, and Cook Fish

Did you know that every year more than 44 million Americans enjoy fishing?  There are about 21 million fishermen and almost 200 million people depend on fishing to survive. If you are interested in knowing what it would be like to depend on fishing for your survival, or just want to enjoy catching your own dinner, I have listed below awesome and easy techniques from catching, to cleaning and cooking fish that you can try.

CATCH

1. Gear. Make sure that you have the right equipment.

A

Small Rod

To catch a small fish you can use a rod around 4 - 5 ft (1.2 - 1.7m). This kind of rod is often used to catch bass, trout, bluegill, and crappie.

B

Long Rod

For larger fish go with a 5 - 8.5 ft (1.5 - 2.6m) rod. The extended length is great in helping balance the weight of the fish. For the needed flexibility of your rod, you can choose fiberglass or graphite.

C

Bait-casting Reel 

If you are casting larger lures you should use a bait-casting reel. Larger lures means larger fish.

D

Spinning Reel

Most beginners start with a medium or medium-light spinning reel. An open or closed-bail spinning reel has a mechanical pick-up that retrieves the line and an anti-reverse lever that prevents the crank handle from rotating when the fish is pulling.

E

Hook

Fishing hook sizes range from 32 to 1 (the larger the number, the smaller the size of the hook). There are 3 basic types of hooks: Spin-cast lure hook, fly-cast, and bait-cast. Know which type of hook you will use depending on the species of fish and fishing method. You may check online, or you can also ask any sporting goods store employees to guide you in choosing your hook.

F

Bait

There are two major kinds of bait, live and artificial. Choosing which kind of bait does not depend on your mood or preference. Fish have preferences. Check online for a better understanding of this, and which type of bait to select.

G

Fishing Line

This is the cord connecting the rod to the hook and the reel. You can choose from different types of fishing lines available to suit your fishing technique needs.

H

Sinkers and Floaters

Sinkers weight down your bait while floaters are small pieces of plastic that float on the surface of the water so you can monitor your line.

I

Tackle Box

You can put all your gear and extra fishing tools in this.


2. When to Fish 

A

Between the New Moon and Full Moon 

Freshwater fish are influenced by the gravitational pull of the moon.

B

Sunrise and/or Sunset 

Take advantage of freshwater fishes feeding time. During the hot and muggy part of days, they tend to be less active.


3. Legalities 

Before you get too excited and head to the lake, make sure that it is legal for you to fish in your area. Some states require a general fishing license and additional stamps for some types of fish. Also, be aware of other regulations for tackle restrictions, catch limit and seasons.


1. Catching Your Fish (Source: https://www.wikihow.com )

    1. Place your bait onto the hook.

    2. Bring the rod over your shoulder and flick forward to make a cast. Press the release button and hold it down. With your dominant hand, lift your rod over your shoulder, and let go of the release button to release your line. Move the rod quickly and consistently to make your cast.

    3. Wait for a bite. Patience is truly a virtue in fishing. Sometimes fish will bite right away, but if they don’t, just relax and enjoy the view.

    4. When you feel something tug, set your hook, pull straight up on your rod. 

    5. Reel In. Quickly reel in the fish to bring in your catch.

    6. Keep or Release. Identify the type of fish and, having  reviewed local laws ahead of time, decide if you will keep the fish or release it.

CLEAN

This may not seem the most awesome part of your fishing journey,  nonetheless it is still a part of it, and a vital one. You will be able to consume your fish once you’ve cleaned it thoroughly.

1

Prepare the following items: 

A. Clean work station

B. Trash Bag

C. Knife

D. Cutting Board

E. Newspaper

2

Workstation

This can be messy, so to lessen the cleaning session afterward, lay the newspaper on your workstation. It will also help in absorbing liquids that would spill from the fish.

3

Disposal System

Prepare your trash bag (preferably not too big) right on your table so that you can have easy access to it and avoid spillage on the floor.

4

Scales

Some use a dull knife or a spoon to remove the scales, but it is also effective to  use the unsharpened side of a knife. Rake the scales against its normal direction. You need to get under the scales and push them up quickly. This can also be done under running water.

5

Get In

Using a sharp knife, make a lengthwise incision along the belly of the fish up to the base of the gills. Don’t cut too deep, you wouldn’t want the innards to burst. Next, use your hand to remove the innards completely.

6

Rinse

Thoroughly clean the fish inside and out with cool water. Now your fish is ready to be cooked.

COOK

You’re on your weekend getaway, so I’m pretty sure you’d rather not spend an hour cooking but still would like to savor your fish. Here’s an easy recipe of Whole Grilled Trout (source:allrecipes.com).

Ingredients:

  • 2 Whole trout, cleaned
  • 1 Tbsp Olive Oil, divide
  • 1 pinch coarse sea salt to taste
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper
  • ½ lemon, thinly sliced
  • ½ sweet onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 Clove garlic, minced
  • 2 Sprigs of fresh rosemary
  • 2 Sprigs fresh thyme

Directions: (Prep Time: 15 mins Cook: 15 mins)

  1. Preheat an outdoor grill for high heat and lightly oil the grate.

  2. Rub each trout generously with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt; sprinkle inside of cavities with salt and black pepper. Place half the lemon and onion slices into cavity of each trout, along with minced garlic, and place a sprig of rosemary and thyme into cavities.

  3. Turn preheated grill down to low and place the trout directly onto the grill; cook until flesh flakes easily and the skins are browned, 6 to 7 minutes per side, flipping once.

As the old saying goes, “Give a man a fish and you’ve fed him for a day. Teach him how to fish and you’ve fed him for a lifetime.” Fishing may seem challenging at first, but give it more time and practice it can be rewarding. It’s a lifelong passion that will enhance your life. Enjoy your first catch, clean and cook adventure!

    Raechelle

    Raechelle loves the outdoors, especially time on the water. She and her husband enjoy going on nature trips and both have love and respect for wildlife.