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Eating Like a King

You may be tired of my foaming-at-the-mouth vitriolic anger directed at federal fisheries incompetence. I just can’t help myself.

But I’ll lighten up this month for the New Year.

Let’s write about eating fish (assuming there’s no new prohibition this week against the act).

By total coincidence, happily so, we ate two very different fish on the same day, fresh caught, and cooked the exact same way.

Cracklin’ good channel cat fillets.

It was an unplanned taste test. No famous chefs were invited.

For lunch, Editor Jeff Weakley brought in catfish he caught at Blue Cypress Lake, west of Vero Beach.

For dinner, at home, wife Sheila fried up snook fillets that son Drew (FS art director and obsessed snooker these days) caught in Stuart, just before more extended closures.

Jeff and Sheila both sautéed the fish with the same popular coating.

There you have the contenders.

Catfish vs. Snook.

So in my long-experienced but amateurish judgment, which do you think won?

Jeff had exclaimed that his catfish “is as good as any grouper…”

Indeed, FS staffers enjoyed every cat bite.

Moving on to dinner, I had to tell Sheila that her snook offering was as good as any fish I’d ever eaten.

On a whiteness scale, the fish were the same.

Texturewise, the catfish virtually melted in the mouth, a great feature for many or most folks, but maybe a little off-putting to this snapper fan.

The snook, to me, had a bit more body to the meat. Plus, it had just a hint of sweetness. Of course, the coating influenced flavor.

For the taste test, both fish performed brilliantly, as the judge likes to say on Dancing with the Stars.

If pushed, I’d have to give a very slight edge to the snook. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you and many others would actually pick the catfish (while not knowing the identity prestige of either).

In one of this year’s FS television shows Jeff is shown catching and cooking some of the catfish, on which there is no season, no limits, and no closures. Also, in this issue you’ll find coverage of bowhunting and eating sting-rays, another tasty target not commonly headed for the dinner table.

It’s a pleasure to consider great-eating fish that aren’t mired in controversy and overfishing, the latter being real or imagined.

My two cents of cheap advice is for you to do your own taste testing. And be careful of people saying that such and such a fish is no good, not having tried it.

Lastly, a warning: I’ll be back with more vitriol next month.

Florida Sportsman