Thursday, December 09, 2010

Winter Means Mackerel

Winter fishing for Mackerel is a pretty big deal here in the Keys. We get all kinds of Mackerel, Kings, Spanish, Cero and even Wahoo this time of year. Spanish Mackerel is the main target mainly because winds keep most smaller boats on the Bay Side many days. Spanish are fun to catch but on the table they require a little special treatment for most appetites. The Seven Mile Marina last Tuesday had a Mackerel seminar and covered most of the info including smoking the fillets for snacks and making fish dip. Well there are a few more things you can do with the Spanish fillets.

Mackerel generally does not freeze very well. It tends to get mushy if frozen. The cooked meat does freeze well, so good mackerel recipes should start with precooked meat if you plan on taking a bunch home for the neighborhood. Precooking can be smoking, grilling, broiling and even poaching, just make sure it is not over cooked. For those that want Mackerel frozen to take back home to fry, the thicker fillets will do best. Still, they won't last long frozen without suffering a little mushiness. So let's say you whack a few hundred pounds of Mackerel on your Keys vacation, what ya gonna do?

Smoking is a good idea. Porky's Bay Side in Marathon will smoke your fillets for you and swap out smoked fish or smoked fish dip in exchange. Several local captains are firing up their own smokers for themselves and customers. Just about everyone down here has a good fish dip recipe that most will share. My dip recipe has been online for years.

The cooked fillets can be used in just about any recipe calling for tuna. In salads it tastes milder than tuna. Some people like it some don't. What is does great is make fish cakes and fish fritters. A fish fritter is nothing more than a hush puppy loaded with fish. I may have to type up my recipe for some of you non-believers. They are good though. The my fish cake recipe is in the link list above.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

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