Category Archives: Redfish

Jalapeño Fish Or Calamari Recipe

P1070559_cropped

Ingredients:
Approximately 1.5 lb of any fresh firm fleshed fish (amberjack, redfish, shark or mackerel etc.) or equivalent of fresh squid.

  1. 2 egg yolks
  2. Fine Sea Salt
  3. Chinese Five Spice Powder
  4. White Pepper Powder
  5. Fresh Jalapenos – Sliced
  6. Fresh Green Onions – Chopped
  7. Fresh Garlic – Minced
  8. Corn Starch (flour is ok but the crust will be thicker and not as crispy)
  9. Cooking Oil

1) Preparing the Spice Mix:
Heat up sauce pan and add 2 tablespoons of sea salt. When the salt is very well heated up, mix in about 1/2 teaspoon of Five Spice powder. Mix well and turn off heat and set aside.
Heating the salt desiccates it and ensures that the mix will bind immediately with the cooked meats and vegetables once they come in contact. Heating the mixture also releases the oils in the spices which will infuse with the salt. You can mix up a larger batch and store it in an airtight container for future use.

2) Preparing the meat:

For Fish:
Trim, wash, dry and cut fresh fish into small chunks. About 2-2.5″ by 3/4″ size. Set aside in refrigerator for 30 minutes. If your fish is not 100% fresh or has a slight ‘fishy’ odor, try this old restaurant trick of soaking the filets for 30 minutes or so in cold water with half a squeezed lime or lemon in it first.

For Calamari:
Wash and clean squid and blanch them briefly in boiling water for 1-2 minutes.
Remove the thin purplish skin that covers the squid. Discard everything except the sheath and the head with tentacles. Make sure you remove the beak of the squid and the ink from the eyes.
Slice the sheath into rings or strips and halve the heads and tentacles lengthwise.
Dry and set aside in refrigerator for 30 minutes.

3) Marinate:
Add 2 egg yolks in mixing bowl.
For each pound of meat add roughly 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of white pepper.
Fill a cookie tray or large plate with about a 1/2″ layer of corn starch.
Mix in portions of egg coated fish chunks or calamari till all pieces are thoroughly coated.
Shake off excess coatings and set pieces aside.

flames
A hot wok works wonders

4) Cooking:
Heat deep fryer till 350F and cook fish or calamari for about 2-3 minutes. Do not overcook!
When done remove the fish or calamari from fryer and drain. For the calamari, put the tentacles and head pieces in the fryer first. Followed by the other pieces 1 minute later. You want the tentacles slightly more well done or crispy.

Meanwhile heat up a wok or frying pan.
Add cooking oil and heat till almost smoking.
Toss in a handful of the sliced jalapeños (less if they are very spicy).
The jalapeños are almost ready when they are are slightly charred and you start sneezing so it might be prudent to prepare this dish in a well ventilated or outdoor location.
Add a table spoon or two of mince garlic, then lastly add the chopped green onions. Stir fry mixture together till fragrant.
When the mixture is fragrant, add the deep fried fish or calamari and toss entire mixture together.
Avoid stirring too much at this time as this may break apart the fish pieces. Tossing is preferred.
Reduce heat. Continue tossing the dish in the pan or wok while sprinkling in the Five Spice/ Salt mixture. (Amount of spice mix is your preference but be careful to not make it too salty. About 1/4-1/3 teaspoon is about right for most people.)

Serve steaming hot and enjoy! Best with a nice bright Pinot Grigio!

Recipe is courtesy of Hardy Tong of the Happy Buddha Restaurant, Galveston, TX. You could also bring your catch to his restaurant and have him cook it for you if he is not out fishing! 🙂

Stay tuned for a video of this recipe!

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Port Aransas Texas 9/30 – 10/1/2014 Fishing Report

Gulf Coast King Mackerel
My ‘Patriot’ Color Scheme Rod with a Daiwa Saltiga Lever Drag Reel

After a few less than stellar trips, we finally found a couple of days that looked promising so we made the trip from Austin. Tuesday was ok, we got there a bit late and missed the morning bite. The upside is that we also missed the showers that were blowing through early morning. We did get about 15 smacks and 5 pompanos. Skip jacks everywhere. No takes on the slide rigs. Water conditions were nice.

Wednesday was the ticket. We got there before daybreak and set up. A friend who stayed on the pier overnight had just landed a 8 ft bull shark. Huge Spanish Mackerel were hitting just before light. I threw out an old silver Abu Koster spoon (anyone know where I can get more?) that I had for a while, with a rod that I had just built. It was based on an MHX 8′ 6″ blank rated for 8-15lb. The first cast had several strong whacks that did not connect. Half way through the retrieve, something solid connected and smoked out 20-30 yds of line off my Daiwa Certate 3000. I was slowly pumping it in when the fish suddenly stopped and made a high speed run quartering back to the pier. I reeled slack line frantically and ran to the side to get on top of the fish. This was where the high gear ratio of the Certate came in handy. I had to lean far over the railing with the rod to keep the fish from the pilings.  I thought I was going to either break the line or the rod! Fortunately as is typical of Spanish Mackerels, when you get them to this point, they have pretty much burnt themselves out. This was a huge one too! The largest I’ve seen this season. Easily 25-26″ and fat. After landing the fish I discovered that the 10′ of 30lb test mono top shot was frayed to hell and needed replacing.

Spanish Mackerel
Magnum Spanish Mackerel

During the entire day any kind of silver spoon produced the bigger fish. Green and white jigs worked well too. Some pompano were even caught on green jigs and silver/redhead Gotcha plugs. Aside from the little baby pomp I caught with the Sabiki while catching bait, all the Pompanos caught were larger fish in the 15-17″ range. This continued most of the day till we were all worn out. We had to work our way through lots of Skipjacks which was exhausting. They were tearing up schools of small shad everywhere. The water was literally boiling. Pompanos were mixed in there too but were harder to catch because of the Spanish Mackerel and Skipjacks. We started packing up about 5pm. The last rods to be packed were the slide rigs. While I was cleaning up gear, the slide rigged bait on my self built rod with the Saltiga Lever Drag 30 popped of the release clip and the reel started screaming. I let the fish have his head for about 15 -20 secs by leaving the drag at strike setting. Just enjoying the shrill scream of the reels clicker before tightening up and setting the hook. Seems I burned him up by letting him run so far because he came in quite docile. He was quickly netted and decked. A 25 lb king mackerel is a real nice way to end a trip. Bait was a feisty juvenile Jack Crevalle.

During the day we also saw a huge school of bull reds. The run should start real soon. And a small pod of 2-3 ft tarpon. We also got quite a few 4 ft black tips that we threw back.

Bait balls consisting of mainly of 1-2″ shad were everywhere and the Spanish Mackerel and Skipjacks were just destroying them. Winds light SE/E 6-10 mph, seas were 1-2 ft with no chop. Water was clear green but towards end of day when winds picked up, there a light chop and the clarity diminished. Water temp hovered around 80-81F.

Final tally was a 2 man, 2 day possession limit of 60 Spanish Mackerel (we threw back many smaller fish of less than 16″) and about 17 very good sized pompanos. And countless Skipjacks!

Overall it was an incredible trip with good company, meeting some new friends and catching up with some old ones. Even met a really nice couple from North Texas that recognized me from this blog! What more could a man ask for?  Tight lines!

Chum much?

Chumming on the pier?
Let’s face it. If you want to catch fish and if you are like me, you’ll do anything. I admit I’m a bit obsessed about everything that helps me catch more fish. So..the toils of my obsession I am going to share with you so that you might catch more fish.

The idea came to me one day as I recalled how we used to chum when we fished offshore for Yellowfin Tuna and all manner of game fish including snappers. We’d often barter 6 packs for by catch with shrimpers and head out to the rigs and anchor up current. We’d slowly toss out pieces and chunks of scrap fish till we had snapper literally right aft of our stern. We’d do the same with chunking out at the floaters and teasing the tuna out to our boat. Since I don’t go offshore much anymore, I applied the same thinking on the pier where I now almost exclusively fish.

Whenever we’d hook a Spanish Mackerel (Smack) or a Pompano on the pier, I often grab a couple of live shrimp (or dead, or some cut bait) and toss it out into the current. It keeps the school around till we get another line out to them. This works really well since Smacks and Pompano move around a lot and when a school shows up you want to keep them around as long as possible.

In the last 4-5 years I’ve been keeping all our leftover bait fish (shad is great) and shrimp, grinding them up in my meat grinder when I get home (I like the cheap $18 meat grinder from Academy). I even use the leftovers after filleting our catch. I grind everything up, heads tails, bones and all. I then put measured amounts on the mixture in a blender with 50% water and a few table spoons of Menhanden oil. You can buy Menhaden oil anywhere on the internet these days. I often also add some leftover bread to soak in the oils. I pour the resulting slurry into a gallon or sometimes quart sized empty milk bottle and freeze them up. I’ll make up 1 gallon or 2 quart sized bottles per day of fishing.

On the pier, I cut a hole in the bottom of the frozen bottle and hang it over the water with a rope. As the slurry melts it’ll provide a constant drip of stinky goodness into the water. Over the course of the day you’ll actually see an oily slick as far as the eye can see. This often keeps bait fish around the pier and subsequently their predators. Not to mention that it’ll draw predators from miles away. Pompanos love shrimp so I always make sure my chum has a good component of shrimp in it. Chumming does have occasional unusual and unexpected results. Once we had so many Skipjacks around the pier, it was impossible to fish. They were so thick they were hitting bare hooks and anything thing that fell into the water…pieces of paper, pennies, cigarette butts etc. We’ve also had large schools of Redfish patrolling up and down the pier. Hitting everything we threw at them.

If you are as nuts as I am, give it a try and you’ll be surprised what you kind of fish you’ll draw in.

Cobia ling
Light Tackle Cobia

This Cobia and his much bigger girlfriend was circling the pier under the chum bottle for and hour or so but neither would hit anything we put out. They would look at our offerings and turn away. I finally dug around in the bait bucket and found the largest live shrimp we had and free lined it down to them. As soon as the shrimp was in the water, they turned around and fought over it. The smaller of the two was faster and took the bait. 30 back breaking minutes later, we landed him. Since then we’ve caught quite a few more. Some much larger than the one in the pic.

Nice Cobia
Nice Cobia

Please fee free to add what you know or your experiences regarding chumming.