Fried Florida Red Fish Italian Style
Melbourne Beach, Florida October 8th 2009
The Red (Drum) Fish Story
Starring my husband "The Italian Fisherman" Nemo
Here is what we consider the perfect catch, our favorite Red Fish. My
husband Nemo and I got up at 5am, headed over to the beach to surf fish in the ocean, around 85+ degrees, a perfect Florida day. Using mullet as bait, my husband using a cast net, couldn't believe how plentiful they were. He said this is the mullet run, when the mullet head for South Florida for warmer water.
We both love to fish, and this is one of our favorite fish to eat, Red Fish. I asked my husband Nemo, to help me post on how to filet a fish, and with a name like Nemo, yes like the fish, he is diffinitely the expert. Believe me, he has had many people comment on his real Italian name, and reference to the movie Finding Nemo. He was a real partner on this meal with me, as he will give you great instructions on how to filet Red Fish, and he makes it look so easy!
Fileting the Red Fish ( these are my husband's instructions) he cleans it, I cook it. Oh, and 99% of the time he catches it. I have a hard time reeling these bad boys in.
Start by making a cut behind the gill from the backbone to the stomach section. Then, begin cutting along the backbone toward the tail. Pull the filet away from the bone and run your knife gently along the previous cut line along the backbone, the filet will seperate nicely from the body. You must then cut through the rib cage, and finally cut the filet away from the body. Flip the fish over and repeat on the other side. Then, using your fingers, find the bones and slice them out with your knife. Using a filet board, place the skin at the end of the tail in the clamp, lay your knife flat on the skin, and run the knife under the meat, separating it from the skin. You will have two nice filets and and easy to dispose of carcass.
2 fresh filets cleaned
1 package of buttery crisp crackers ground in food processor
1/2 cup flour seasoned with 1/4 teaspoon garlicpowder, 1/4 teaspoon each of salt, pepper
1/2 cup milk
Buttery Crackers make the best coating for this fish.
In a plastic bag shake fish to coat with seasoned flour. Place milk in a bowl. Dip filets in the bowl of milk and then into the cracker crumbs. In a large heavy fry pan or deep fryer, heat canola oil. Place filets in the oil when hot and cook on both sides till nicely browned.
This fish doesn't need anything added to it. The meat is a firm white meat,and has a delicate flavor.
Some Red Drum fish facts:
The Red Drum, also known as the Redfish or Channel Bass, has a reddish overall coloration and one or more dark spots at the base of the tail. It feeds at the bottom on crustaceans and mollusks. It also takes small fish, especially mullet. The usual adult weight is under 40 pounds but can reach into the 90 pound range.
The Redfish is a super-challenging opponent on the grass beds and flats of Florida and the Gulf of Mexico. We live around nine miles from the ocean and 4 miles from the Indian River, where these usually are found. Also, Titusville, Mosquito Lagoon, is a real popular place to fish for them. The shallower the water, the more chance you have to find these. The bulk of small marine life and food will be found in shallow water around structures and near grassy area's. This offers the small fish, crustaceans and mollusks protection from predators. Therefore, Redfish will be found near this abundant food supply, and since mullet were plentiful yesterday, Redfish were in the area.
Redfish are very wary and will spook very easily. This is especially true in shallow or very clear water. Approach quietly with a push pole taking extra care not to make any unnecessary noises.
Incoming tides bring with it food, bait fish, etc. that the Redfish will feed on. Also, small crabs and shrimp become more active on the incoming tide enticing the Redfish to feed at those locations. The opposite is true for outgoing tides – as the water withdraws, the Redfish will wait and feed on whatever bait is carried back out with the tide. Channels and deeper areas are good places to find Redfish on an outgoing tide. Work these locations for some terrific action.
Lures and Baits:
Shrimp, pinfish, small crabs, finger mullet, and cut baits are excellent for catching Redfish. They can be fished under a float or free-lined into currents past structures or grass flats where the fish are.