My mother used to say that visitors are a lot like fish. After a couple of days, they start to stink.
To me, fish smell good and taste good. They're fighters, too. I often wonder what I enjoy more – a California trout at the end of my fly-fishing line or an Illinois bluegill on my dinner plate. Tough choice.
Catching a wild rainbow or brownie or a red-banded trout in a San Bernardino Mountain stream is just about my favorite pastime. I also enjoy catching big bass in Lake Arrowhead and little bullheads in Silver Creek.
Many anglers preach about the catch-and-release philosophy. They want us all to let our fish go, return them to the water, let them live to be caught another day.
Listen, y'all, you can save your breath. I'm going to keep most of my fish. I'm going to take them home, knock 'em upside the head, clean 'em, dress 'em, cook 'em and eat 'em. They taste good; they're good for me; and my doctor, my aging body and my arteries will be proud of me for consuming all of those omega-3 fatty acids and other nutrients. (Do take heart, release lovers, in the fact that I do free plenty of my bass and some of those
Here in North America, some of us catch and eat an occasional carp, but most people on our continent look on carp as bottom-feeding trash fish and too bony to eat anyway. Those folks never tasted my grandmother's crispy-fried carp with her homemade tarter sauce.
My mom, who is 95, still remembers when she was about 12, fishing Silver Creek with my grandfather, and she landed a huge carp. She pulled the big fish onto the creek bank, where it started flopping all over the place. Mom started yelling and asking what she should do, and my grandfather yelled back: "Sit on it!" She plopped her butt on top of that monster carp and didn't move until her dad came over and took charge of the 10 pounds of dinner. Nothing wrong with carp.
In Europe, the carp gets more respect. In England, it's considered a game fish and the prized object of popular carp tournaments. And in Asia, it rates great admiration and appreciation. The Chinese fry it and cover it with delicious sauce, and the Japanese have a professional baseball team named after it – the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
So, take your carp and eat it. I also recommend eating trout, salmon, crappie, catfish, cod, flounder, redfish, snapper and many more of those delightful and healthful poissons.
I like to cook fish, because fish cooks up quickly. Short cooking times are nice for me because of the marked deficit in the pay-attention area of my brain. One must be careful not to overcook fish, so keep an eye on it. Moist fish is good; overcooked fish is not good. Not-good fish sucks.
Spring arrived officially last month, but climate authorities forgot to tell winter, which has continued to stick around. Thus, the trees have remained mostly bare, and the fish have stayed rather uncooperative for anglers. I trust that will change this week or next. My heart, stomach and taste buds yearn for more fresh-caught fish.