No need for ginger in all fish recipes, certainly wouldn't hurt some.
As far as fresh v. frozen, if you aren't close to the ocean it's pretty much all been frozen. Some of it is kept that way and some is thawed and sold "fresh" in grocery stores. Perhaps you can get sashimi-grade in some higher end places, I never tried when I lived in the Midwest.
There's 5-ish types of fish to cook by my reckoning, not necessarily the absolute truth just how I tend to think of it.
- Darker, firm and oily fish like achovies, herrings, sardines
- Lean, white fish like pollock, rock fish, haddock, catfish
- Oily, medium colored fish like char, yellowfin, mahi mahi
- Lean, flaky fish like sea bass, red snappers, tilapia
- White, firm fish like shad, lake trout
The flakier the fish the more delicate your cooking should be, foil wrapped fish with herbs and butter is great and can be easily cooked indoors or out.
You can tailor that type of cooking to pretty much any preference or ethnic style you desire. Tilapia rubbed with a little olive oil and seasoned with S&P, dill, minced garlic, coriander, paprika and fennel makes a great Mediterranean-style dish that you can fill out to a complete meal if you toss some cherry tomatoes with rosemary and thyme in another foil pack or the same one as the fish.
Make one per person and a salad and you can easily feed a few people for low cost, fish can be quite affordable at your local grocer or market.
Heavier, meatier fish can be cooked almost like a steak.
Yellowfin tuna is great with a light marinade, something like oil, dijon mustard, lemon juice, garlic, lemon peel, and soy sauce. Marinate for a few hours, dry it off, toss it on the grill and baste in the leftover marinade.
Frying fish is another option, catfish and mullet are common in the southern US and are usually battered in corn meal and cooked outdoors. Midwestern fare is usually beer battered cod, walleye, and perch; catfish if you live near the Mississippi. A big local fish fry is an awesome event, really common in Minnesota and Wisconsin because of the whole Catholic fish eating tradition.
Frying fish while camping is another good option, you be hard pressed to find much better fish than freshly caught walleye battered up and served with a little lemon juice about half an hour after it was swimming.
Salmon is another category unto itself almost, lots of people have very particular preferences regarding how it should be prepared and the variation between all the Salmonids of the world is pretty significant.
Pacific and Atlantic salmon are the two biggest categories.
Pacific salmon are as follows, there might be a few more
- King/Chinook; Classic oily, deep red salmon
- Sockeye; Bright red flesh, usually ocean caught
- Coho/Silver; Similar to King but lighter in flavor and texture
- Pink salmon; Most common, often canned
- Chum/Keta; Not eaten in the US a lot, medium colored and low fat
I admittedly have no experience with Atlantic salmon, but as far as I know pretty much none are wild caught any more due to long term over-harvesting in Europe and North America.
There's a whole wide world of fish out there, so much variety in species and the hundreds of years of culinary history make it an awesome avenue to go down in your exploration of cooking.
Ginger is not necessary who ever told you that needs to be fried in it. As far as cooking frozen fish goes, I prefer letting it thaw out in the fridge overnight. Very watery fish fillets (Waleye, Tilapia, Pollock) tend to break down in water as well as being fragile. You could get away with (in my opinion) thawing heavier fillets such as Salmon, Tuna ect. in water without much hassle.
On that note, if you're just getting into it, try just a simple pan fry with lemon butter and rosemary cook it till it's white (or pink if salmon) all the way through.
For years I had a tackle box they are a pain to carry always cluttered, last year I made the switch to utility boxes and a back pack and I'll never go back easy and comfortable to carry extra pockets for keys, wallet, needle nose, line, and anything else you can think of and some have a water bottle pouch.
You won't regret it!
Use a very light drag since they don't have much fight in them for at least a year after they are planted. You'll want to use a 4lb leader 1-3' long. 6lb line works if that's what you have. Just about any lure between 1/16oz and 3/8oz will work for stocked trout, but you can occasionally go up to 1/2oz.
Ultralight is my favorite rod power to fish for trout (when I'm not fly fishing for them). Light or Medium-Light also work. If you already have a medium power rod, that will work too - but you won't feel much of a fight.
PowerEggs: I switched from powerbait about 2 years ago and never looked back. A jar or powereggs will last basically forever since 2 eggs will last at least 5 fish, often 12 . About the only time I ever lose them is on the rare snag or break-off from being lazy and not replacing my leader all day. No mess, no lingering stink, and always floats the same. I also catch at least as many, if not more, then I ever did on powerbait. Just put 2 eggs on the back of a size 8 single egg hook leaving the point exposed. Use 1/4oz or 3/8oz weight above your swivel (which should be 1' to 3' from the hook). Sunrise is my favorite color, with Lemon Lime and BubbleGum tied for second.
Spoons: Make sure to use a small-ish swivel on these to prevent line twist. It can be a swivel w/ a clip connected straight to the spoon or about 2' up the line. Cast, let it sink to your desired depth, then retrieve just fast enough for it to wobble, but not rotate over itself. Kastmaster is my favorite brand, and I love blue chrome or green chrome.
Spinners: No swivel. Cast it out while keeping a relatively tight line as it falls to depth, then give your rod a decent sweep at the start of your retrieve to get the blade spinning. You should be able to feel the blade vibrate in your rod tip. Mepps or Rooster Tails are both great. White w/ black dots or brown w/ black dots are my go-to.
Trout are often fed pellet like fish food when they are being farmed. So stocked trout will almost always hit orange, white, and chartreuse power bait because its already familar to the fish.. but usually only 1 specific color on a given day will hit the best.... so I always take all 3. It does so well it feels like cheating.
After that live bait. Minnows, mealworms, redworms, maggots, and night crawlers will pull trout.
Artificial lures I usually have the most luck with twister tails and small daredevil spoons.
Also they like the small colorful marshmallows you get in bulk at the grocery store. It sounds crazy but my husband and I went fishing in a trout stocked lake and we caught a fish nearly every cast with the marshmallows.
Nothing else we used worked half as well.
Boiling strings will remove the gunk, but it will also damage the strings so it stops messing with the strings' ability to vibrate freely. Also, if you use nickel strings, say goodbye to using that pot for cooking.
Boiling strings dissolves a lot of the organic gunk that builds up over time.
Arguably, it's a little more thorough in this regard than a good wipedown after playing. However, it does not remove the oxidation and work hardening that come with age and use of strings, and therefore cannot restore your strings to a truly "like new" state.
Some players argue that it extends the life of expensive strings, but in reality it just gives you a short period of slightly brighter tone until you get your fingers all over the strings again.
However, there's a better way to do it: soak your strings in denatured alcohol. Personally, I don't think it's a worthwhile exercise no matter how much the strings cost.
We're thinking about taking a trip to the Mississippi coast.
And I want to try my hand at redfish and some speckled trout.
Problem is, I need a rig.
I can only speak for what has worked for me. I use what I think is the most underrated spinning reel. The Pflueger president for $60 has been holding strong for 4 years now. Not just one but multiple reels.
Before that I tried the shimanos and penns but they just did not hold up like the president. For the money this reel is super smooth and comes with a braid friendly bail which is a plus. The smaller sized ones matched with a light action rod will cast for miles.
As far as rods go, I used Allstars for the longest.
Can't beat them for the price and if you keep the receipt you can exchange a broken one on the spot. I found out about Temple Fork Outfitters from a local forum and haven't looked back. After Gary Loomis sold G. Loomis he got with Rick Pope and helped them design rods.
NO, they are not a G. Loomis, but Gary did help them design the rod and for $100 with a lifetime warranty they are the best deal out there in my opinion. They have every action you want and are super sensitive for the price. When it comes to action that all depends on what you are using. Are you using live bait, soft plastics, hard baits, popping cork, etc.
I prefer a 6'6" medium for a good all around rod.
If you use a 6'6" and 7' a lot will you notice a slight difference and the 6 just fits my needs better. I use a 7' light action to free like Vudu shrimp and it is one of my go to setups. I like the 6'6" because they work better with MirrOlures. If you are on facebook shoot me a message on here we can link up.
Would be happy to meet up and let you try a few of my setups to see what works best for you.
For frying, fully filet the fish:
- Crack 2 eggs and mix with milk using a fork on a plate
- Mix flour, cajun seasoning, and salt/pepper in a bowl
- Dunk the filet into the egg/milk mixture from Step 1 (both sides)
- Move filet from plate to spice bowl in Step 2 (evenly coat both sides)
- Drop in fryer
- Allow outside to cook to a golden brown
- Wait until the filet is floating on the grease in the fryer
- Remove from fryer, lightly salt, and allow cooling
For sauteing, fully filet the fish:
- Place fillets into zip-lock bag with your preferred spices. I like to use olive oil, oregano, garlic, and salt/pepper (depending on how fragile the filet is, feel free to skip Steps 2-3)
- Shake plastic bag to allow spices to get every piece of fish
- Allow fish to marinate in bag while pan heats ups (if filet is fragile, you can get the same effect by laying the filets out on a plate and sprinkling the spices onto them)
- Coat a pan with your choice of non-sticky stuff (Pam, olive oil, veg oil, butter, etc)
- Put pan on med-low heat
- When the pan is hot enough, empty the zip-lock bag of filets into the pan
- Make sure to keep them moving so they don't stick!
- Add oil/butter during cooking
- Wait until filet is white and flaky
- Allow fish to cool
For grilling on the half-shell, filet the fish while leaving the skin and scales on:
- Get a fire going in the grill
- Season the fish with your preferred spices. I use olive oil, garlic powder, and salt/pepper.
- Cut some lemon slices
- When the fire is dying down from initial ignition throw the filets on and close the lid. This will help keep the fire tame and not allow it to burn the filets or cook them unevenly.
- If you feel your fire is still too hot, move the filets to the side of the grill and cook with indirect heat until the fire calms down
- When the meat starts turning white, start squeezing the lemons onto the filets
- Check every now and then to ensure the filets are not cooking too quickly or burning
- To test to see that the filets are done cooking, get a fork and stab the filet while lightly twisting. If the meat stays together and doesn't break apart, give it more time. If the filet is tearing and looks white and flaky it is ready to remove from the fire.
- CAUTION: be sure to look all the way down into the filet before removing from the grill. The outside of the fish and cook thoroughly while the inside could still be under-cooked.
- When the filet is fully cooked, remove from the grill
- If the fish is not being eaten right away, feel free to cover in foil for a few minutes to retain heat.
- Allow fish to cool