100 Days of Useful Homesteading Skills: Day 16 – Fish, Clean, and Cook Fish

sea-dish-meal-food-mediterranean-produce-595967-pxhere.comIf you don’t eat fish this article might not appeal to you but if you do, or if you raise chickens, ducks, or pigs, it still might. Fish is a cheap and easy source of protein for a homesteader. It can also serve as a fun family outing, providing some much-needed time to get-away from the farm.

Even if you don’t eat fish, your chickens, ducks, and pigs will enjoy what you bring home, providing you with an inexpensive form of protein. If you are fishing for this purpose, I recommend fishing for whatever fish your state has deemed invasive and has set no limit on. In California most fish have limits but panfish like Bluegill generally have very high limits or no limits in most areas. We bring home even the smallest of these and don’t bother gutting them as we give them whole to our birds.

How to fish depends on what you are fishing for, where you are fishing, and whether you are fishing in the sea or in freshwater. Fishing for catfish, fishing for trout, fishing for bass, fishing for shad, etc.

Your best bet is to join a local fishing club or list and see what others in the area are saying. Also, your state hunting and fishing bureau, in CA that would be the California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Your state’s website probably has a lot of good information about what types of fish can be found in which bodies of water. This helps you prepare your tackle box before you go.

“How to fish depends on what you are fishing for, where you are fishing, and whether you are fishing in the sea or in freshwater”

A good boat is nice to have but not necessary. We have a small aluminum boat that the previous landowner left on the property when he sold it to us. Finding a trailer was harder. A canoe is great for ponds and lakes, it can even work for rivers if placid.

Something larger might be nice if you spend a lot of time out with friends or family. If you think you might spend more time fishing on the ocean, you might want to start fishing from a pier to get a feel for it before investing in a boat. You can meet up with others and maybe make a friend or two who have boats before purchasing your own.

Cleaning fish is simple unless you are dealing with an extremely bony fish like shad or carp. There are ways to bone these fish, but those methods are often known only to old-timers who have learned the art from generations before them. A few of those folks have made Youtube videos of the process and I urge those of you who enjoy these fish as I do to learn these skills before they become a lost art.

The different ways to prepare fish are as varied as the methods to catch them. My personal favorite is grilled over coals. I brush it lightly with oil, sprinkle with good salt and fresh cracked pepper and serve with a wedge of lemon or lime. When served with fire roasted vegetables it can’t be beaten. Other preparations abound soups, stews, battered and fried, steamed, poached, stuffed, and made into patties. There is no end to the techniques.  You’ll have to find one that will suit your taste.

For more information about fishing, you can read about it here.

Do you remember your first experience fishing or do you have a pic of a catch you are proud of? Share your fishing stories and pics here!

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