Saturday, June 30, 2012

Gefilte Fish! Cooking Carp...

We chose to honor our carp with an interesting recipe and after a short google search we found one of the most common ways to cook carp is Gefilte Fish... So here we are a couple of guys with no experience in the old world cooking a classic dish.

So like any red-blooded American we went to you tube and found a video of someone making this and we just did what she did. Here is her video if you care to watch.

2lbs of carp
White Pepper
3 eggs
Horse Radish Sauce

Boil some water with onion peels, carrots and parsley. Traditionally you'd make a fish stock out of the bones and head of the fish. We are not traditional.

Drop some Matzo in a food processor and pulse it up, then transfer it to a bowl.

Now drop in an onion, garlic, salt, white pepper, oil, sugar into the processor and chop it up. Add that to your bowl.

Here comes the real fun! Add 2lbs of carp fillets to the processor and chop it to a pulp. Once it looks really gross add that to the bowl.

Break 3 eggs into the bowl and mix everything together until it's well blended.

By now your water should be ready, remove all the carrots, onion peels and parsley from the pot.

Shape the fish mush into small oval patties about the size of the palm of your hand and lower them into the pot.

Let them boil for at least 20 minutes.

Serve them hot or cold and dip them into horse radish sauce.


Stay tuned for a video of us eating this fish. We can't tell if it's good Gefilte fish or not, we have no base line. but it reminds us of fish meatloaf...

We now have a freezer full of this fish, so feel free to invite us to your next potluck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

The Hex is On

Ran into this beauty at the train station in Exeter, NH last night and again this morning. I believe it is Hexegina limbata.  From head to tail it was well over 3 inches. This is what a Fish and Game biologist had to say about them last year at this time.

"Beginning about four weeks ago, a large cream-colored mayfly began arriving on waterbodies in Northern New Hampshire. They belong to the genus Hexagenia and are some of the largest mayflies in the world. Referred to as a “Hex-hatch”, these mayflies serve as a dinner-bell for hungry fish. Almost every type of fish will rise for these flies and they are an important food in both their adult (terrestrial) and nymph or emerger (aquatic) stages. Both cold and warmwater fishermen can be seen casting these imitations. Watching a fish rise for a surface strike is as good as fishing gets for me." – Andy Schafermeyer, Regional Fisheries Biologist from

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Holy Carp! Fish Number 39!

We've finally done it!

Carp is a fish that we've been chasing for more than a year, quest fans will recall that last summer we went fishing with NH Chronicle for Carp, ended up with a couple of bluegills.

Then in the fall we went bow-fishing for carp with Amy Quinton from NH Public Radio... We mostly just shot arrows into the Merrimack and giggled... NO CARP

Click here to listen to our adventure on NHPR

Then in desperation we buddied up with carp expert Nick Pacelli from Southern New England Outdoor and Nature Site (blog) Nick taught us all about carp gear, method and Todd Donovan from NH Trout Undiscovered for a December carp adventure... and once again nothing but cold and lots of laughing! But on a positive note we got to canoe up a freezing cold Merrimack River to the coal burning power plant!
We're not the most fashionable bunch of anglers!

We headed out again in January with Uncle Ronnie and were stiffed again...
this time it's personal.

We had two hours of free time this Wednesday and happened to be in Manchester near the airport. So we stopped into 7-11 bought a loaf of Wonderbread and headed to our super secret carp spot.

As we approached the river we could see the carp rolling and splashing. Our hopes were high!
The Bait!

We took a slice of bread, drizzled some vanilla extract onto the bread and squished it around a small hook.
Then we cast it out into the carp zone.

After about 40 minutes the line started to move, Clay set the hook and it was game on!

Clay was fishing with 8lb test and the carp made a few epic runs. After about 5 minutes of fighting and running Clay had the fish at his feet. It was the biggest freshwater fish he had ever landed.

Should have brought a bigger cooler!

It's scales were bigger than quarters and the fish easily weighed 15lbs! Not too shabby.

After a few pictures we filleted the fish and packed the meat on ice... stay tuned for a recipe.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

#38: Mr. Stripy Falls


As night was closing in on the weedy headwaters of the Taylor River in Hampton Falls, doubt crept in as well.  Research on the web clearly indicated that this acidic, brown-stained water should hold banded sunfish. But so far, Mr. Stripy was no where to be found.

Earlier in The Quest we had caught our redfin pickerel at this spot. It also holds numerous golden shiners and pumpkinseeds, and we have seen creek chubsuckers.  All of these are known habitat mates of the banded sunfish.

The good news is that this spot is close to Dave's house, which lends itself to repeated tries.  Tonight's attempt was probably number 15 or 20 for the banded sunfish. At first we fished in the open water, in the channel, thinking that the fish would seek the coolest, deepest water. But the water is at most 4 feet deep in this section and there is probably not much temperature difference.  Plus the open pools are dominated by golden shiners - voracious packs of glinting wolves that attack any small bit that lands in the water.  We were now changing tactics and fishing as tight to the weeds as possible.

In hindsight, we should have known banded sunfish were still water fish.  First clue is their shape - small, round fish with a rounded tail. In general round tails are not the best for speed.  Compare it the tail of a tuna and you can get a quick lesson in hydrodynamics.  Banded sunfish have wide round fins that are great for maneuvering in still water.  Also, according to our research banded sunfish are big mosquito predators. Most mosquito larvae need still water. Where the prey live, so live the predators.

Using a 10' fiberglass cane pole, 2 pound line, a small float and a #22 hook tipped with the front half of a garden worm, we plied the waters near a patch of pickerel weed.  The water was about 8 inches deep.  The yellow float laid motionless on the surface for a minute then began to orient in the water as if on a Ouija  board.  With a lift of the pole the fish was airborne.  Immediately we knew it was a candidate - about three inches long, sunfish shaped, living in the weeds.   Once in hand we knew we have finally caught Mr. Stripy.

Banded Sunfish, Enneacanthus obesus (f)
Round tail, no color on gill flap, dark line through eye.
Classic habitat in the upper reaches of the Taylor River in Hampton Falls, NH

Small fish, big success - #38
Voted the worst fish to hide behind.

A trophy for sure

Maybe Dave is a little too happy to catch this fish. 
Banded sunfish are a species of concern in NH. They are still legal to catch, but biologist are concerned because their habitat is so vulnerable to development and pollution. They are only found in the Southeastern parts of NH, however they range all they way down to Florida.

After so much effort and study, Dave felt pretty bad about killing this fish. But that is one of the lessons of The Quest: Things died when we eat them.  After he filleted the fish using a razor blade, he noticed that it was a female with eggs.  Ms. Stripy, Bummer.

Fish number 38 is cataloged.  Stay tuned, 'cause word on the street is that Clay bagged #39.

Friday, June 15, 2012

Fish Monger, Where have you gone?

It's Friday, which means fish monger day at the Boston Haymarket.  But alas, he was no where to be found.  Sad day for sure.

Here is a picture from last week to tide our readers over.

Name this fish!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Haymarket Fish Monger Quiz

One of the best things about working in Boston is seeing the open air market that appears on Fridays on my walk to work.  All year this market is packed with mostly fruit and vegetable vendors that are unloading truck loads of produce to sell to Bostonians. From this sea of commerce, my favorite vendor is the fish monger.  I don't know much about him or where he gets the fish he sells, but I plan to learn more and chronicle my discoveries on the Catch-M-All blog. I will need Catch-M-All fans to help to figure out some of the species that he is selling.

The Haymarket Fish Monger

Every week he seems to have new fish and some others that may have been around since the last week.   The new ones usually look really fresh, no fishy smell, and have crystal clear eyes.  It is a true street market with people haggling for price and negotiating for quality.  I could spend an entire day just talking to all the customers from different countries to learn how they are preparing these fish. 

For the first time, carp have shown up in the market. These are easily 15 pound fish. I forgot to ask how much they cost (next week I will ask). 

Here is a fish that has me stumped. Last week a worker told me that it was a barracuda (wrong). This week the owner called it a gar.  This is not the gar that I know. I caught many long and short nose gar in Indiana and they have much different scales. These fish have almost smooth skin.    

They have the toothy grin of a gar.

What do you think?  What kind of fish is this?  Where is it from?