- Jigging Depot Shark rod
- Maxel Transformer 50ch
- 30lb fireline crystal
- 40lb and 50lb yo-zuri fluorocarbon leader
- Jigs that produced before getting lost to the sea demons: damiki suplex, deepliner vb, seafloor control: rector, arc, cranky, spunky, abyss & beats greatray
1600 Hours: 18 men arrive to the fishing boat which would serve as base of operations for the next three days. 18 men… ready to leave their hearts and souls at sea, with no concern for sleep, and a willingness to endure whatever conditions mother nature might present.
After an action filled trip last year, everyone had high expectations for this years sequel. We had nearly the same turnout as last year. (Minus one double certified paranoid schizophrenic). I had been accumulating expensive slow pitch jigs from Japan since last year to use on this trip, put new braid on all my reels, made a few dozen assist hooks, had reels serviced, organized and reorganized gear, tied cut and retied knots. Everything was ready to go.
I have been on a health binge for the past 6 weeks, so took a day in advance to prep hard boiled eggs for breakfast, grilled chicken salads for lunch, and full dinners complete with sweet potatoes and green beans. It was extremely difficult to watch everyone eating cookies and maintain a strict diet, especially when the lack on sleep created carb cravings kicked in. With willpower I didn’t stray off the plan at all, even managed to absorb the daily protein shakes, and did a few push-ups between stops.
Anyway, we loaded the boat, sweating buckets in blistering heat, picked up some hog fish dinner at the grill next door to the Yankee Capts, and set sail for Pulley Ridge, roughly 10 hours and 150 miles west of Key West.
0600: Fishermen Reached Target Destination
“Lets try this spot here.” Captain Greg (He says this at every spot)
Fishing was slooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww. There was virtually no action.
Fishing was slower than a kid on the short bus reading Shakespeare in hieroglyphics, with an eye patch, after a bottle of whiskey.
The tide made it almost impossible to fish. I caught two mutton snapper, two red grouper, two blackfin tuna, and two scamp grouper, and the nothing for virtually all of Saturday. All fish were caught on slow pitch jigs, the Jigging Depot Shark rod, Maxel Transformer 50ch with 30lb fireline crystal, 40lb and 50lb yo-zuri fluorocarbon leader. I stayed awake until 4 or 5 am Saturday night to try to pull in some tunas, and catch flying fish, but ultimately went to sleep it was so slow. I ended up losing 12 jigs, and all the hooks I had made (due to cutoffs and a few that got stuck on the bottom).
A few people who fished nonstop got their share of fish. What can you do? This was the culmination of a bad year of fishing for me.
Anyway, here is what the chef made for dinner the first night:
Pan Seared Scamp Grouper in Lemon Garlic Chardonnay Reduction with Brown Rice and Molasses Kale:
Ingredients for Fish:
- 1 scamp grouper filleted and skinned, bloodline removed
- Kosher Salt
- Black Pepper
- 2 Tbsp Good Olive Oil
- Garlic Powder
- Onion Powder
- Italian Seasoning
- 2 Lemons
- Fresh Parsley
- 1 Cup Chardonnay
- 4 Big Cloves of Garlic Diced
- 1 Shallot Diced
- 1 Bunch Rinsed Kale and chopped
- 4 Cloves Garlic Diced
- 1 Yellow Onion
- 1 Tbsp. Molasses
- 1 Tbsp. Olive Oil
- 1 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegar
- 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
Put 1 cup of brown rice in a medium saucepan with 1 3/4 cups of water. (I like to replace half the water with chicken stock to give the rice more flavor.) Bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer (2 out of 9 on my stove). Let the rice cook for 45 minutes.
Meanwhile, dice all of the shallot, garlic, onion, and parsley and set it aside. Zest and juice the lemons.
Apply seasoning to cover both sides of the fish fillets. Don’t be shy, the seasoning is what gives the fish its crust.
Heat a big pot with olive oil to medium/medium high heat. When the pot is hot, add your onions, stirring often so they don’t burn. Give it 5 minutes and add the garlic. After a minute, add the chopped kale. Stir it around so the onions and garlic don’t stay on the bottom and burn. After 2 minutes, add the molasses, salt, pepper, vinegar, chicken stock, and stir. Cover the put and turn the heat down a little. Let the kale wilt and absorb the liquid.
When you heat the pot, you can simultaneously heat a frying pan with one tbsp. of olive oil as well to medium high heat. When it is hot, and only when it is hot, add your fish. If the pan is not hot enough, the fish will absorb the oil and get greasy. With the hot pain, the fish will crust, creating the ideal texture for your dining pleasure. Do not turn the fish until it is ready, no peaking!
When the fish starts to turn white on the edges and on the verge or golden, flip it over, and cook for a few minutes on the other side. The the bottom looks as cooked at the top, transfer it to a plate. If you did this correctly, there should be a lot of spices stuck to the bottom of the pan, almost impossible to scrape off.
Add the shallots and garlic to the pan, stir for 1 minute. Add your wine, wait 30 seconds, it should be bubbling. Use your fish flipper to scrape the spices left over from the fish off the bottom of your pan. The wine will have loosened it up enough to come free.
Add the lemon juice and the zest, the remaining tbsp. of olive oil, as many capers (without the juice as your heart desires), the parsley, and salt and pepper to taste. Let the sauce reduce for a few minutes before adding the fish back into the pan and spooning the sauce on top.
Plate and dig in!
P.S. Restaurant trick: Making the Rice Look Nice
Put your rice in a small bowl or custard cup and pack tightly, turn it upside down on the plate. Give it a tap, and walaa