Not every wife gets a thrill out of hearing their husband shout “Quick! Get the scale out!” But I do! Because in our house it usually means he’s caught something.
So when he comes bounding down the driveway bursting with pride it can only mean one thing – he’s caught a fish.
We have three dams just above our house.
About ten years ago they were stocked with bass, and over the last decade they have really come on! So much so, that with all the rain this Summer and limited natural predators the dams are almost over stocked.
So we try and keep the numbers at a sustainable level. We don’t fish during spawning season, and we won’t remove any fish that don’t exceed the 1kg mark.
We put this beauty on the scale, and he weighed in at a whopping 2.3kg’s!!
Bass are not the only fish we have in our dams, because they feed on smaller fish we also introduced bluegill as a feeder fish for the bass to eat initially. But conditions have been so favorable over the years, that even the bluegill have flourished. So we occasionally find them on the other end of the line too.
Nothing beats fresh-caught fish, and there are so many ways to cook it that I could happily eat it everyday without getting bored. Grilled in garlic butter with a dash of cream, lemon juice and parsley… Mmmmmm. Arguably my favorite way to prepare it. But today I really wanted to pay tribute to such a beautiful creature, and what better way to do that than cooking a whole fish?
You can get whole, ready-prepared fish from your fishmonger. But if you are able to catch fresh, there really is nothing better.
After removing all the innards and scales, give him a good wash under a cold tap.
Find a roasting tray that will be large enough to lie the fish flat. Line it with tinfoil and then a few sheets of newspaper and rest the fish on the paper to absorb any excess water.
Once dry, remove the newspaper and generously rub Mr Bass with salt, pepper and olive oil all over the inside and outside. Filling the cavity with slices of lemon, garlic and whatever herbs you have to hand. Rosemary, thyme, dill and/or parsley work really well. But whatever you have lying around or in the garden will work.
Cover with tinfoil and pop him in the oven pre-heated to 180C and bake for 30 minutes. After that, remove the top layer of tin foil and bake for another 10 – 15 minutes, or until the skin starts to really crisp up.
Once cooked, the skin should easily peel away revealing the most amazing white meat that will literally melt in your mouth. Protein doesn’t get better than this! Use a fork and starting along the spine you should be able to easily part the meat from the bones without any hassle.
Thank you Mr Bass. It’s been an honor.