Sunday, April 24, 2011

Pickled Pickerel

Pickled Pickerel 
(fish #9 of the quest: Chain Pickerel)

Since pickerel have a Y-bone and ours was too small to try to remove it, we chose a pickling recipe that would render the bones harmless. We selected a sucker recipe from our favorite fishing book "Fishing for Buffalo". 

The recipe requires that the fish be cleaned and cut into bite-sized pieces.  The chunks are then placed in a dish and covered with white vinegar. To the vinegar, we added a healthy amount of salt - about three heaping tablespoons. This mixture needs to be stirred every day, for 5 days. We will switch out the vinegar every other day. Then we will rinse and cover the fish in cold water for 8 hours. While this setting, we will boil a mixture of 3/4 cups water, 3/4 cups dry white wine, 3/4 cups sugar, and 1 tablespoon of pickling spice. Once cooled, we will add thin raw onion rings and 1 1/3 cup of white vinegar.  This mixture will be poured over the drained fish and refrigerated for 48 hours.  Then it is ready for a cracker. Wish us luck!

Pickerel and the lure that caught him.
We cut off his head and skinned him. The trick is to cut off the fins and use pliers to pull the skin.

We cut the body into bite sized chunks.

Added vinegar until the chunks were covered.
Added about 3 tablespoons of salt, then off to the fridge.

We will post a picture in a few days to show the progress.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fish #9: Chain Pickerel

Fish #9: Chain Pickerel, Esox niger
The Quest went to the Taylor River on the Hampton/ Hampton Falls line. This pond gets very weedy and warm in the summer due to too many nutrients getting into the water.  This is perfect conditions for the Chain Pickerel (Esox niger).  The pickerel loves to hide in weeds and ambush unsuspecting bait fish.
Our pickerel was caught using a 3.5 inch shiner imitation made by Rapala (a classic). We trolled the lure about 20 yards behind a kayak right at sunset on the Taylor River in about 5 feet of water.

Taylor River at dusk.
We actually caught a larger pickerel first, but it only was impaled on the last hook and it flipped off as we fumbled with cameras. The male one that we caught was not getting free.

Male pickerel,  13.5  inches long
No chance of this one getting away.
Once he was on board we paddled him to shore and put a knife in is brain to kill him quick. Being a carnivore is brutal business.  We forget that when ordering from a menu.

Now that he calmed down, we took a few pictures.

Once we got him back to the house, we took a closer look and found a leech on his chin. 

We are getting use to finding parasites on our fish. This is a small leech that was on the pickerel's chin.

Pickerel are really pretty fish and are the perfect predator that is built like a rocket. All of their power comes from the tail that propels the dart-like body forward.

Their mouth looks like a bill, but it is full of sharp teeth.
We decided to pickle this pickerel for the quest. Stay tuned for the recipe.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Newmarket: A Wood Duck Friendly Community

The Piscassic River in Newmarket is a Wood Duck friendly community.  The place is full of wood duck nest boxes.

One of many wood duck boxes on Piscassic River trees.
A wood duck friendly community does not let people molest them.

Apparently squirrels can't read. (See the hole in the roof)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Furry Friend Found While Fishing

The Quest went to the Piscassic River on Sunday 4/17/11 to find a Creek Chub or Creek Chubsucker.  Denied on each, but found some memories.

Muskrat enjoying an early spring swim in the sun.

We can see you.

More cool stuff found, stay tuned. . . .

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Catch-m-All: Gearing down for small fish fishing

Catch-m-All: Gearing down for small fish fishing: "The quest will include some really small (3-4') fish in New Hampshire, including darters, dace, and sculpins. To catch these we need to gear..."

Gearing down for small fish fishing

The quest will include some really small (3-4") fish in New Hampshire, including darters, dace, and sculpins. To catch these we need to gear down.

We bought a packet of size 32 hooks, the smallest hooks currently in production. Now time to catch dace!

This is our business card for the quest.  Can you find the hook?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Maple Glazed Atlantic Salmon

We tapped our own maple trees this year and bottled four gallons of maple syrup so it seemed appropriate to cook our fish with this fresh made seasonal treat.

Maple season actually comes at a very convenient time.  The ice starts to get unsafe for fishing and as lakes thaw out they fishing stinks, so what are we to do while waiting for the fishing to get better? You got it...make syrup.

Just tap your trees collect the sap and boil it down until you have syrup. It's that simple. 

You know salmon season is about to begin when the sap stops flowing.  Syrup done?  Time to fish!

This salmon was cooked very simply, first we cleaned the fish and washed it.

it's a girl!

we discussed eating the eggs...

We then cut it into steaks, probably the easiest way to cook salmon.

Heat a skillet with some oil and drop the steaks in.

Let them cook for a little while and then poor some syrup on and turn them over and do the same on the other side.

The results Maple Glazed Salmon Steaks!

Now we had so much fish here Clay took it home to feed his family. The recipe he made was one his dad suggested.

Maple Honey Barbecued Salmon.

Another super easy recipe.

 For this one you need to fillet the fish and sprinkle the fillets with Cayenne pepper.

Turn the grill on and let it get hot.
While the grill is heating make your sauce.

Just mix cheap barbecue sauce with maple syrup and honey and your done.
Now spray the grill with non-stick spray and throw the fillets on skin side down.

look closely for the parasite
 While they are cooking baste them with the sauce, cook them until the worms come out....
What worms? Yeah some fish have worms, but cooking kills them off...Don't tell your wife or the people you are feeding about the worms!

Once the fish is cooked mostly through turn it over and pull the skin off.

 Now baste the other side with your sauce and cook until the fish is flaky and serve!


Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Fishing for the King...Fish Number 8!

We went to the big lake to catch what is arguably the most exciting game fish in NH. The Atlantic Salmon!
After checking in with AJ's Bait Shop in Meredith, Alan the owner told us of about six fishing hotspots as well as giving us tips for catching these fish.
We tried several of these spots with no sign of a fish.

Then we hooked up with catch-m-all fan and our guest angler for this trip Mike Demers of Laconia who has fished this spot for 25 years. His expertise quickly put a fish in our hands and made fish number 8 a success.

The technique used was the simplest we've seen, a small hook with a smelt hooked through the bottom lip. No swivel no weight no bobber just a free swimming smelt.
Mike is a member of the "First Blood Hunting Club" and works hard to live up to their motto:

"If it's brown, it's down. If it flies it dies" He didn't have a fishing motto

The drag is set to free spin, when the fish takes the bait, let it run. It will stop, spit the bait out and then slam it. At that point it will start to run more line out. Now tighten the drag and set the hook.

 Bring the fish in slowly and try to keep it from jumping. Atlantic Salmon can jump 10 feet out o the water,

Mike Demers shows off his23 inch Landlocked Atlantic Salmon
Mike had no interest in eating this fish with us, he wanted to keep fishing, so we headed to Alton to check the action out there. The bite was on in Alton.

gets your blood going

We watched people fishing shoulder to shoulder catching lots of salmon!

Landlocked Salmon swimming in Alton Bay
After watching the action in Alton we headed to a marsh to try to catch other species while we cooked the salmon.
Dave shows off the salmon, passing cars think we caught this in Merrymeeting Marsh...

Clay gets ready to clean the Salmon