Some Fish Are on the Menu
By Jonie Maschek
I am often asked, ďIs all the fish caught here good to eat?Ē
Most of the fish in these waterways are edible.
A favorite in most seafood restaurants is flounder and it is plentiful in this
area. Flounder is from the flat fish family, which spends its entire life on the
bottom of the waterways. One side is marked with spots and the other side pure
white looking. Both eyes are at the top of one side. Flounder is considered
excellent table food. It is good stuffed with crab meat or broiled, baked, fried
and is considered a lean white fish. If fishing from a pier, drop bait over the
side and dangle it on the bottom and you might just wake up a flounder. I have
seen them brought in by boat with trout catches from the flats.
Have you had a puffer or a blow fish on your line? I have always thrown them
back in the water but one angler told me that there was a way to eat them. I
read an article from the East Coast about some tourist who ate a blow fish and
was poisoned. I asked this angler what he did to make this fish edible. He
insists that you must know what to keep and what to throw away.
Reported cases of poisoning from the blow fish have resulted from either eating
an organ such as the liver or from bursting an organ during cleaning, thus
contaminating the fish.
This poison can be dangerous and I still will not clean one. It has been
reported that abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, headaches and vomiting could
occur from eating the blow fish.
The fish is called blowfish because it has the ability to inhale either air or
water and swell its body into a shape resembling a huge ball with a head stuck
on one end and a tail on the other.
The most accepted theory of how the puffer gets his poison, ciguatera poison
starts when the fish eats a toxic plant, probably algae.
If still choosing to eat this fish, be well aware of the perilous potential and
take precautions while cleaning it. Marine scientists advise against eating this
A good fish to eat that has white lean meat, is the ugly sheepshead. It is
striped and as sharp fins, but after it is dressed it is one of the better
eating fish. You may make a fish chowder, fry or bake it.
Grouper is a favorite in seafood restaurants. Nothing is better than a blackened
grouper sandwich or baked, fried or grouper fingers. I saw grouper on sale for
$8.99 per pound at the local market. So if you spend all day catching one it is
Jacks are usually caught from a school of them jumping across the Bay. They are
fun to catch but most people donít like to eat the amber jack. The people that
do eat them usually smoke them and they are good testing. Fried jacks often has
a strong taste. Perhaps if anyone is an expert on this fish, they would know how
to make it taste good.
Speckled trout is an excellent table fare. Often fried, but if large enough, can
Redfish are often stuffed and baked. They are delicious fried with a light
Mullet is always used at fish fries. Perhaps it is because so many may be caught
at one time with a cast net and a multitude of people can be fed. It is a fatty
fish and most often is fried or smoked.
Those catching whiting often think they are silver trout. It is a good table
fare and are perhaps best pan fried.
If you have a fish on the line and not sure if it can be eaten, why not turn it
loose and donít take a chance.
The waterways are filled with edible fish, just drop a line and make a wish.
Observer News Front