Best Tasting Fish to Catch

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Casting for Your Supper? Here are the Best-Tasting Fish to Catch

There’s something primal and satisfying about wresting supper from the sea with your own hands. It must hark back to some lingering hunter/gatherer gene buried deep within us all.

But you’ve got to be selective when you’re trying to impress the family with your skills as a provider. All fish are not created equal. Some make delightful suppers while others…well, not so much. Here are six fish that make a great dinner catch: three from saltwater, three from freshwater.

Saltwater Fish

1. Flounder. Flounder are highly sought after for their delicate and tasty flesh. And because of the interesting way flounders are designed, you can get four fillets from one fish rather than the standard two. Flounders are lazy bottom-feeders that typically hang out just behind the breakers, although you can sometimes find them so close to the shore that you may step on them while walking the beach. You have to drag your bait along the bottom of the ocean and wait for the flounder to react to catch these beauties; they absolutely will not come to you. Fish for these guys from the surf, along outcroppings of rock or towards the front of a pier.

2. Spanish Mackerel. When you catch a Spanish mackerel, pat yourself on the back. These fiesty fish are praised for their unique flavor. They’re also quite easy to catch, as they jump from the ocean during feeding. Don’t troll directly through a school of mackerel. Instead, stay on the outer fringes to avoid scattering them. Bait with something shiny. Mackerel are suckers for sparkly things that catch the sunlight.

3. Pompano. These beautiful fish have solid bodies with firm, delicious flesh. They swim the Atlantic in groups during the spring and summer months, making them great fair-weather catches. You can catch them via pier fishing or from the surf if you’re near a drop-off where the water deepens significantly. Pompanos will take your bait and pull steadily. When you’ve hooked them, they’ll turn to dead weight on your line. You’ll build muscle reeling them in. Top tip: when you’re filleting this fish, don’t discard the head! Some of the best meat is in it.

Freshwater Fish

1. Catfish. The ultimate fish fry staple, catfish have firm flesh with a robust flavor. Some people hate it; some people love it. Catfish love muddy water. Fish for them around tributaries and their outflows. Also look for them in deep water and around structures. Nighttime is best, although you can catch them during the day as well. They tend to stay near the bottom. Catfish sometimes strike hard and quick, and sometimes they nibble and wander away. One sure way of catching them is to feed the line out when you feel a bite. This lures them into a sense of security. Once they’re eating comfortably, set the hook hard.

2. Rainbow Trout. Rainbow trout have flesh similar in color to salmon, but with a more delicate flavor. These are a favorite among hatcheries and stocked ponds, but their flesh is firmer and better-tasting if you catch them in the wild. In cold water, trout feed near the bottom. As the temperature rises, so do the trout. Bait with salmon eggs to catch these gorgeous fish, adding a split shot several inches up the line. These guys are good fighters, too, making for a fun and energetic catch.

3. Walleye. Walleye are historically so popular that they have been over-fished at times. Stick to the regulated catch limit to help preserve them. Walleye have keen eyesight and prefer to feed during dawn and dusk, on cloudy days or on days when the water is turbulent. Contrary to popular belief, this isn’t to protect their eyesight from the sun; it’s to use their advantage against prey who don’t see well during these conditions. Walleye feed in schools. Where you find one, you’ll find others. They often congregate around structures and river bends, but they also feed in open water when following prey. Live bait is best for these wily fish.

Now that you know which fish to look for, it’s time to get out there and catch some supper!

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