Xavier’s not the kind of person that you would think of as a fisherman. He’s clearly not patient enough. So, I think it’s understandable that I had my doubts when he wanted to go fishing. Last time we went fishing out there it took us an hour to get all the together and get up to the lake. No more than five minutes into fishing he lost interest. This time however, things were definitely different. It certainly helped that there are two lakes and neither of them are fished very often (and when they are it’s catch and release). We had been told that the fish would probably bite pretty well on grasshoppers, so Xavier, Daniel, and I got a couple nets and caught a bunch of them for bait. I took one, put it on his hook, explained how to cast, and stepped back. Like a little pro he cast out probably 25 feet, and no more than 30 seconds later he was reeling in his first fish. It turned out to be about a 12″ large mouth bass. We had to hurry back to get my mom because she wanted pictures and was planning on joining us in a few minutes (no one really expected to start landing fish so quickly). He talked about how cute it was, then said he wanted to know if we could eat it. We fished for probably three hours straight, and ended up with a nice catch of four good sized catfish, and about 8 smaller bass, not to mention the uncountable number of Perch that we caught and threw back.
We did end up keeping and cooking all the good fish. It turned into a regular fish fry, but first we had to clean the fish. I’ve only done this a couple times, and it had been at least 10 years. Neither Xavier nor Daniel had ever cleaned fish. My dad, however, was the expert (although he’d never cleaned a catfish…it was always Salmon or Halibut). We sat out in his front yard near the creek, and began heading, gutting, scaling, cleaning, and filleting the fish. I’m not sure how familiar you are with this process, but the first thing you to is take off the head, slice the belly, and dump out the guts since they can contaminate the good meat. As I took the head off the first (rather large) catfish and started to gut it, I looked over at Daniel and he was completely white. The original plan was that we’d each clean our own fish, but he said he’d rather throw his out and not eat, so dad and I cleaned and filleted them all (Xavier didn’t seem as affected as Daniel, but he definitely didn’t love it either). Christen seasoned some of the catfish and all of the bass to be barbecued, and she battered and fried the rest. We had the whole family down for dinner and it was great!