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Where’s the Freshest Local Seafood in Town? On the End of Your Line

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Recipe: Striped Bass with Roasted Salsa and Parmesan

  1. Lightly coat skinned fillets with olive oil and lay in a baking dish or aluminum foil.
  2. Cover fillets with a generous amount of chunky, mild salsa.
  3. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 20 minutes.
  4. Remove from oven and sprinkle freshly grated parmesan cheese over the top.
  5. Return to oven and bake another 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the fish flakes easily and is opaque in the center.

Courtesy of Lou McKeil

October 27, 2014

Yes, it’s possible to catch your own seafood and in fact, millions of Americans do just that. The primary reason most people go fishing is to spend time with friends and family, according to a 2013 NOAA Fisheries survey. Yet nearly half of America’s 11 million recreational saltwater anglers also fish to bring home something to eat for themselves.

With the widespread interest in organic and local foods, perhaps it is not surprising that fishing for personal consumption is so popular. Anglers know exactly where the fish came from and can attest to its freshness.  

Catching your own seafood is more about the experience  than convenience.

That said, an individual’s pursuit of a meal will never replace the protein provided by the seafood industry. It is far easier to buy fish from the local market. You don’t have to buy fishing tackle or spend time waiting for a bite.

Yet millions wet a line in hopes of catching their own seafood. Why? For anglers like Larry Jennings of Maryland, the outdoor experience itself is the payoff, with the fresh fish dinner serving as the bonus.  “I love being out on the water, reading the signs of nature, and trying to find the fish.”  Jennings goes on to say, “When I bring home a fish that I’ve caught, I’m creating a direct connection with nature.”

Lou McKeil, an angler from Cape Cod, Massachusetts, notes the importance of another connection - that forged within his community. “Around my neighborhood, I’m known as the guy who catches fish.” McKeil often shares his extra catch with friends and neighbors. “They’re grateful for the fresh fish and I feel good being able to provide them a couple of fresh fillets.” For McKeil, fishing is about community.

These varied motivations help explain how fishing is about more than just a fresh meal. The act of catching a fish and sharing that experience with others adds an extra ingredient that is often missing from the usual meal.  “I buy fish from the store and have it out at a restaurant,” says McKeil, “but the fish I catch myself just tastes better because of everything that went into it.”

Try it yourself.

If you’d like to try it for yourself, you’ll need a rod, reel, bait, a state saltwater fishing license, and a little luck.  A trip to the local tackle shop can get you outfitted both with the equipment and advice on where to go, what’s legal to catch, and what fish are good to eat.

If you’re fortunate enough to land a legal keeper, be sure to get your catch in ice water as quickly as possible to preserve freshness. Even if you come back empty-handed, you will still take away an outdoor experience and a good story about the one that got away, which will make for great dinner conversation regardless of what is on your plate.