Monday, March 31, 2014
Thursday, March 27, 2014
Enjoying a good meal is something I do too frequently. Anyone can look at me and see I’ve never missed many trips to the table.
I was raised as a meat and potato kind-of-guy. As I grew older, I expanded my “likes” and became more adventurous. However, I’m far from an Andrew Zimmer (Travel Channel) bug and intestine eating person.
Earlier this week, I added a new “try” to my list.
While eating at the Crazy Fish in Lake Wales. FL., fried spinach was listed on the extensive seafood menu. It caught my eye. I had to try a side dish of the green stuff.
I like a good spinach salad, but I’ve never been into eating it cooked.
Our waitress was very pleasant and helpful, so I asked her about the fried spinach menu item.
“It’s really good,” she offered. “It just sort of melts in your mouth.”
She sold me. I wanted to try it.
When it arrived at the table, I was quick to sample the dark green leaves. It was tasty, and yes, it did melt in your mouth. It was quite good.
I have no idea how it was deep fried and still retained it’s shape, but it did.
Glad I tried it, and I would order it again.
Tuesday, March 25, 2014
Fishing a bait near the bottom at Aerobus Lake in Northwest Ontario, something on the end of the line put up a pretty good fight. When It finally was lifted into the boat, the response was, “What the heck is it?”
It probably weighed about two pounds, and was strange looking and ugly. It looked like a catfish crossed with an eel It was a burbot.
Burbot also are called eelpout, mariah, lawyer fish, and ling cod. There probably are other local and regional names as well.
I released the burbot back into the cold, clear water and Aerobus, and later did a bit of research on the creature from the deep.
The following year, I decided I would try to catch more burbot. I decided I would try worms fished deep. No luck. Not another one was caught.
Then recently, my friend Jim Zumbo, outdoor journalist for the Outdoor Channel, who lives near Cody, Wyo., posted a picture on facebook of several tubs of bubot. They were taken through the ice at a special tournament on Flaming Gorge Reservoir on the Wyoming-Utah line.
The burbot at Flaming are an invasive species. They were illegally introduced to the lake and apparently are causing considerable damage to the salmon and smallmouth bass populations.
Recent discoveries of burbot in the Green River at Flaming Gorge Reservoir have concerned wildlife biologists who fear that the burbot could decimate the sport fish population in what is recognized as one of the world's top Brown Trout fisheries, because it often feeds on the eggs of other fish in the lake like Sockeye salmon.
The Utah Division of Fish and Game has instituted a "No Release" "Catch and Kill" regulation for the burbot in Utah waterways. The recent boubot tourney on Flaming Gorge was a means of hopefully reducing some of the numbers of the fish. Most of the tourney fish were caught at night through the ice.
According to Wikipedia, The name burbot comes from the Latin word barba, meaning beard, referring to the single catfish-type chin whisker or barbel.
Looking like a cross between the catfish and the eel, the burbot has a serpentine-like body, but is easily distinguished by the single barbel on the chin.. The body is elongated and laterally compressed with a flattened head and single tube-like projection for each nostril. The mouth is wide, with both upper and lower jaws consisting of many small teeth. The burbot is commonly confused with its close, ocean dwelling cousin, the lingcod.
Burbot live in large, cold rivers, lakes, and reservoirs. Primarily preferring freshwater habitats, but able to thrive in brackish environments for spawning. During summer months, they are typically found in the colder water below the thermocline. Burbot usually aren’t found below the 40th parallel.
The average burbot is about 16 inches long, but the adults range a foot to nearly four feet, and weight ranges from a couple pounds to 25 pounds. The record is held by a Canadian who caught a 25-pound, two-ounce fish in Batcchawana Bay in Lake Superior. The Indiana record was set in 1990 with a seven-pound, 11-ounce fish taken in Lake Michigan by Larry Malicki.
Burbot are tenacious eaters, which will sometimes attack other fish that are almost the same size and as such can be a nuisance fish in waters where it is not native.
Burbot reportedly are good eating and called by some the “poor man's lobster”. People take the backstrap, boil it and dip it in butter like lobster.
Tuesday, March 18, 2014
Sometimes I don’t take my own fishing advice. Some of my angler friends would say that’s a good thing.
Recently while fishing in five-foot deep water filled with lilly pads and pencil reeds in Lake Kissimmee, Florida for crappie, the fishing was much better than the catching.
Three of us were dipping minnows for the crappie and it was resulting in an occasional fish. In my mind, I was thinking i was fishing too deep. Using a slip bobber, my minnow was probably within a foot of the bottom.
My friends who have fished the pads for crappie more than me, convinced me I needed to be fishing down about four feet down.
Now, I know I was fishing too deep for the crappie.
For years, I have known crappie look up and will bite up, but don’t look down. They don’t look down because their eyes are on the top part of their head. So, it is important to have the lure or bait at their level or above, and not below the eyes of the crappie.
After the recent fishing trip, another fishing friend, Paul Keeler, asked me how many crappie we caught. They had been fishing near us in the lilly pads.
“Six,” I responded. “How about you guys.”
“Thirty” was his reply.
Paul said he fishes the pads with his minnows about 30 to 36 inches deep.
Well, maybe I was fishing too deep. I’ll find out next trip to the pads. But, then maybe it’s just that I’m a fishing jinx.
# # # #
CRAPPIE TIPS -- Don’t set the hook too hard. Crappie have thin mouths and it’s easy to pull the hook right through them. My Dad always called them “paper mouths”.
Use light line and a light rod so you can properly fight the fish without pulling out the hook.
-- Go small, Crappie have little mouths, so you need to use small lures and hooks.
Monday, March 3, 2014
Saturday, March 1, 2014
This has been a winter to remember. When today's youngsters are old-timers this will be recalling this one. The temperature and snow will become even colder and deeper.
There has been plenty of snow for the kids to enjoy, although most of them probably confined themselves to their electronic gadgets. We were lucky. We didn't have any, but we did have snow ice cream.
Back in the day, ice cream was something special We had no refrigerator. We felt lucky to have an ice box, but the old ice box wouldn’t keep ice cream very long. So, the only time we had ice cream was when we went to town. On Saturday night, we would walk downtown for the band concert at the courthouse square.
In winter there were no band concerts and fewer leisurely trips to town, and less chance for an ice cream treat. But there was snow ice cream.
When that first measurable snow came, Mom usually would make a bowl of snow cream. It tasted great, and as I grew older I was able to make the tasty treat. However, my duties usually related to gathering the white stuff. Someone often chuckled and added, “Don’t get any of the yellow snow.” I may not have been very old, but knew they were telling me to get clean snow and avoid any area the dogs had used as an outdoor restroom.
Later, when we were fortunate enough to have a refrigerator with a freezer, it still was fun to make snow ice cream.
Most of the recipes for snow ice cream are quite simple, but there are a few variations.
The simplest, and the way I recall making it, requires only four ingredients. That is one cup milk, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 cup sugar and four or five cups of clean snow.
Mix together the milk, vanilla, and the sugar. Stir this mixture until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add the snow to your mixture, stirring constantly, until it is as thick as the ice cream.
Some recipes add one beaten egg. That makes it a bit richer. Some call for separating the white and yellow of the egg, beating, and then adding together. Others even call for cooking the egg mixture a bit. And then some add a dash of salt.
Keeping it simple seemed fine to me.
One of the good things about freezers these days is you can even save some of your snow ice cream and eat it a bit later.
The EPA or some organization today probably warns that the snow is full of all sorts of toxins, but go for it. Enjoy it. You won’t be eating that much anyway.
Snow and those old memories also brought back the thought on snow angels. I suspect some kids still make them.
If you’ve never made one, you’ve probably seen them in movies or on television. You lay down in the snow on your back and move your arms up and down over your head to form the wings. Then you move your legs side to side to make the bottom part of the angel’s robe.
When you get up from the snow, your snow angel will be imprinted into the snow.
If you have youngsters around, encourage them to make some snow angels and gather snow for ice cream the next time we have a fresh snow. Hopefully, there won't be too many more 2014 snows before spring.
Guess, I’m still a kid at heart. I like snow, and would love a bowl of snow ice cream.