July 15, 2004
Prairie Fare: A Fish Tale
My six-year-old daughter had her first experience fishing a couple weeks ago. Even though she didn’t catch a fish, she’s officially “hooked” on fishing.
She’s still talking about the fish that got away while she was fishing off a dock. I witnessed a striped bass nibble her bait, but then it cleverly avoided her hook for the rest of the afternoon.
She has become a classic “fisherperson” with a “fish that got away” story. Her fish has grown progressively larger as time has passed. In fact, by today’s estimate, it’s probably about one-third her size.
That fish has her name on it. She asked our friends to promise not to catch it because she’s expecting it to grow much larger by our return visit at the end of summer. Shaking her little fist for emphasis, she has vowed to catch that fish.
Fishing is a popular and relaxing sport that sometimes results in a tasty meal. Be sure to learn about the fishing guidelines at your destination.
The NDSU Extension Service Nutrition, Food Safety and Health Program has created a map of the United States with links to all state game and fish departments. It can be accessed at www.ag.ndsu.nodak.edu/food.htm (click on wild game resources).
Since fish is highly perishable, it’s important to follow some rules to keep your catch at its best. To help ensure a safe and tasty meal, the USDA recommends the following:
You don’t need to catch your own fish to enjoy it. When purchasing fish, use your eyes and nose to help you make your decision. Look for firm flesh that springs back when pressed and be sure your selection has a fresh smell, not an unusually strong “fishy” smell.
To determine amounts to purchase or prepare per serving, consider these guidelines. Allow about one pound of whole fish (as it comes from the water), one-half pound dressed fish, or one-fourth pound fillet per serving.
Cook fish until it flakes with a fork, but be cautious not to overcook or your entrée will be rubbery or dry. Experiment with cooking methods. Try grilling, baking, poaching or frying your catch.
Here’s a quick and easy way to enjoy the “fish of the day”.