By Ken Schultz
Have you had an opportunity to eat your catch for lunch? It’s the best food you’ll ever have.
The last time I fishing in Mexico, on two successive days we ate our catch for lunch. Well, just part of our catch. One 3- or 4-pound bonito in fact.
The captain I was fishing with pulled the skin off the fish, cut out fillets, rinsed them in the ocean (while we continued fishing), trimmed them into strips, added slices of onion and finely diced chilies, then sprinkled this all with the juice of several limes. It’s a variation of seviche (marinated fish) common to the Ixtapa-Zihuatanejo region of Mexico called chiritas.
Boy was it good. Four of us ate the whole thing.
I’ve had chiritas or seviche before with other species, including dolphin (mahi-mahi), yellowtail jack, and yellowfin tuna, while fishing in the ocean.
Sure beats a couple of pieces of ham and a slice of cheese tucked between two pieces of hi-carb white bread.
And, by the way, nothing defines the meaning of “fresh” fish better than
eating it soon after you catch it. Preferably so soon that the tail is still flapping when you take a knife to it. And even if that means cooking it instead of eating it raw or near-raw.
I’ve had the good fortune to eat freshly caught walleye, lake trout, northern pike, and Arctic char on northern Canadian fishing excursions, fried alongside potatoes and onions, and that, too, has been a great luncheon experience. The smell of wood smoke, the crackle of sizzling food, the view over a pine-fringed wilderness lake, and the taste of fish that were just recently swimming is an experience that you cannot beat, or duplicate, in the finest restaurants.
There’s been a few times after such a big repast when I’ve just about fallen asleep afterward.
My local, non-exotic-location fishing lunches are usually much more sedate, and mundane, however. But I almost always stop to eat lunch. I’m a believer in lunch. Maybe it’s because my parents always drummed it into me as a kid that it was important to eat three proper meals a day. So I have to eat something, although lots of fishing action can cause me to forget about lunch until so late in the day that it borders on being an early dinner.
The trouble with eating lunch while fishing is that it takes away from fishing time. For some, this is unacceptable. It amazes me how some anglers don’t eat at all when they fish. This is especially true of people in fishing tournaments. Stopping to eat lunch for just five minutes means that these competitors have lost 5 minutes times X number of casts, and therefore have lost precious catching opportunities.
That’s focus, I guess. And these folks don’t want to divert their attention away from catching money fish. Although, I’ve often found that stopping briefly for lunch is a good time not only to satisfy the stomach and recharge your batteries, but to think about what you’ve been doing and plan what you should perhaps be doing.
Many times in my travels I’ve fished with strangers for a day. We’d meet in the morning and I’d find that they had no plan for lunch for the day and assumed that I didn’t care. It took me one or two times to get to the boat ramp without food or beverage to learn that the first order of business for me each day is to make sure that we stop somewhere - often a convenience store - and pick up something that will hold me over. Many times that becomes a combined breakfast-lunch stop.
When I’m fishing at home, or in my own boat, of course, I make and bring lunch with me if I’m going to be out all day. A PB&J is probably the perfect fishing lunch, since it doesn’t require refrigeration, can be crammed and crushed into bags or boxes, and still tastes great. If you like peanut butter, that is. And if kids are involved, we bring lots of things to eat and drink, especially stuff that the kids like.
Incidentally, I’ve found at times that almost anything tastes good out on the water. Even a sandwich I wouldn’t ordinarily eat, usually brought by someone else.
Speaking of which, once, friend Roger Tucker and I were at Greers Ferry Lake in Arkansas. One morning at the boat dock we met a very, very, very large local guide who had recently caught a monster walleye. He went fishing with us for a few hours, and didn’t pick up a fishing rod until after he’d eaten every bologna sandwich, ham sandwich, chocolate chip cookie, and apple that was in our cooler.
And that was officially before lunch.
Thanks for checking out my blog commentary on all things fishing-related. Please follow, share, and enjoy, but make sure you get out on the water as often as possible. Good fishing!
Text and photos on this blog copyright © Ken Schultz. Text may not be reproduced. Bloggers may only use photos with credit to kenschultz.com and links to the original post on this site. Contact me for permission to use photos for commercial use.. Thanks for your cooperation.