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#3269721 - 06/17/13 04:08 PM Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell"
Crosshairy
10 Point


Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 2701
Loc: Bartlett, TN

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We just got back from Gulf Shores this weekend, where I spent every free moment I had from the family trying to catch anything that swims.

This year's trip was a mixture of failures and successes. Overall, I'd say that the fishing was an off year for the week we were there. I fished in Little Lagoon, in the Little Lagoon Pass, at the surf (several locations), and off the big Gulf Shores State Park Pier. I overcame some of the mediocre fishing by taking advantage of lessons learned from prior years and some advice from members on here (big thanks to Diehard Hunter) and the GSSP Pier forum.

I caught my first "slot" redfish, which weighed 4.2 lbs. I also caught a pretty nice speckled trout that weighed a little over 2 lbs. The grand finale of edible creatures was a big batch of blue crabs (including 2 genuine monsters) that we boiled and ate on our last day before leaving.

I also caught some saltwater catfish, a ladyfish, a TON of baitfish, and hooked a couple of sharks that didn't stay "stuck" on the hook. The pier accounted for the shark hook-ups, but the king mackerel run was essentially non-existent.

On to the subject of the post - I filleted the speckled trout and redfish, leaving the scales on the sides. For dinner one night I rubbed them in olive oil and seasoned them with some cajun spices. Although I've found speckled trout to be absolutely fantastic after pan-searing, they took second place to the redfish this year on the grill.

Fortunately, my buddy gave me another good-sized speckled trout to take home, and I still have 3/4 of the redfish fillets left to do a second round of fish grilling. Looking forward to it!

I'll post a couple of pics later of the fish themselves. I haven't uploaded anything to photobucket yet.
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I'm hungry and tired. Don't poke my belly.

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#3269744 - 06/17/13 04:35 PM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: Crosshairy]
BamaProud
12 Point


Registered: 04/03/11
Posts: 7326
Loc: Shelby County, TN

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...that is my kind of fishing!
Redfish on the grill (scales on grilled scaled down)is a favorite appetizer/finger food of mine. Although it could easily stand as a main course.
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Save the Little ones for the Little Ones.
Wine-Down Brewing and Winemaking

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#3269781 - 06/17/13 05:30 PM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: BamaProud]
LA man
18 Point


Registered: 05/31/03
Posts: 20845
Loc: spencer, tn/houma, la.

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I agree, redfish on the half shell are VERY GOOD
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#3270005 - 06/17/13 10:43 PM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: LA man]
redblood
16 Point


Registered: 01/22/06
Posts: 15381
Loc: Lewisburg

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i came back friday. didnt fish this go round, but will on the next.
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#3270164 - 06/18/13 08:23 AM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: redblood]
Bayou Buck
10 Point


Registered: 05/11/09
Posts: 2725
Loc: Spring Hill / Perry Co

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I love redfish on the half shell. I normally pour some garlic butter and lemon juice on it as it cooks on the grill. I'll be back down in Louisiana next weekend and plan on bringing a lot of fish back home.
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#3271532 - 06/19/13 09:20 PM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: Crosshairy]
memace
Spike


Registered: 10/11/06
Posts: 42
Loc: Memphis

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Where did you get on the crabs? My 5yr old is wanting to go out and catch some. Thanks for the help.
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#3271706 - 06/20/13 08:20 AM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: memace]
Poser
Mud Dauber
16 Point


Registered: 07/28/10
Posts: 13547
Loc: Tennessee

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Sounds fun, we usually do our Redfish that way, too. I always say that the less cutting you do, the more meat you get. If a fish is small enough to fit in a pan or on your grill, just do it whole: You get more yield and the presentation is awesome.
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It doesn't have to be fun to be fun.

Wild & crazy, can't be stopped. Only the strong will survive.

Keep your knife sharp and your skillet greasy.

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#3271903 - 06/20/13 12:13 PM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: memace]
Crosshairy
10 Point


Registered: 08/22/06
Posts: 2701
Loc: Bartlett, TN

content Online
 Originally Posted By: memace
Where did you get on the crabs? My 5yr old is wanting to go out and catch some. Thanks for the help.


First off, we tried dropping one of those big hoop-net crab traps off the end of our little fishing pier on Little Lagoon. You put bait in the center of the net, either enclosed in a pouch or tied off, and check it periodically. The net we bought was pretty big (3.5' diameter, I think) with high quality rope and a tag rope with float. I bought that type because it doubles as a pier net, in case you go fish Gulf Shores State Park Pier, where you have to pull fish up about 20' out of the water.

The hoop nets are tricky, because the crabs will sometimes go UNDER the net and eat the bait from below. I used fish carcasses as bait (The bigger the better). If you can find a decent crab box, collapsible or not, it will probably catch more crabs since they will have to climb inside to get to the middle of the bait box that suspends in the middle. The nets have to be checked relatively often.

The pier that we had access to was not very good because the water was really shallow, and other kids had out lots of crab traps already (too much competition). We caught one stone crab and about 50 hermit crabs over the course of 2 days, which is pretty awful luck. If you catch a stone crab, pop his pincer arms off and drop the crab back in the water. Keep the legs on ice until ready to cook (the crab will grow them back). I'm told they don't have much body meat, but their pincer arms are huge, hence the practice of amputation and release.

Our friends' rental house backed up to a narrow sliver of back-water off of Little Lagoon, just by the Little Lagoon Bridge. That place was FULL of blue crabs, and we caught most of ours there. I took a chunk of speckled trout carcass and tossed it into the water within eyesight. We had a cast net, and caught various baitfish either swimming around or swarming the fish carcass. Every once and awhile, the fish would be getting dragged off, which meant a crab was pulling it away. We caught 2-3 mid-sized crabs with the cast net by throwing it over the dead fish \:\)

The big crabs we caught by letting the hoop net hang off the neighbor's deck into the water. Let the net lay as flat as possible, so the crabs are encouraged to walk over the top of it instead of go underneath (I lost several that way). When crab activity was high, I was getting one at the trap every 10 minutes or so. When it slowed, I left it out for several hours in between checks. I caught the biggest crabs at sunset (2 huge ones at once).

Folks use the drop nets all over the place, often tying them off to something while fishing a short distance away. People use store-bought chicken necks as bait due to their toughness.

A few things to know about crab storage:
1 Don't eat crabs that are dead (unless they died in the last 30 minutes or so) because the meat goes bad very fast.
2 - either store them in a live trap (in the water), or store them in a bucket with no water in a cool place, perhaps with wet newspaper on top. NEVER store them in a bucket of water, because they will die in a matter of a few hours due to a build-up of contaminants and lack of oxygen.
3 - If you start catching a bunch and decide to keep them for a day or two, you need to keep them separated somewhat, and keep them fed. They will KILL/EAT EACH OTHER if too crowded and/or under-fed. We managed this by finding 3-4 buckets and spreading our catch across the containers. We caught some little bait fish and threw a few in each bucket.
4 - Make sure you have a pot big enough for your crabs before you get started \:\) . Walmart sells a cheap crab pot for about $9 at Gulf Shores.
5 - Crab "size" is measured by the width of their bodies. If a shell is not as wide "spike-to-spike" as the width of your hand, it's not even worth messing with.
6 - If the crab's belly is ghost-white, it has recently molted its shell and is growing into its new one. That means that it won't have as much meat in it, and you might consider throwing that one back. Old yellow-ish, mossy ones are awesome and full of meat! \:\)
7 - most of a blue crab's meat is in its claws and body. The legs are usually pretty puny in the meat department.
8 - watch videos on how to clean a crab. If you are doing a spicy boil, consider cleaning them BEFORE cooking. By washing them out afterwards, you will rinse off a lot of seasoning. I personally liked my blue crabs pretty plain, because the meat is very sweet. A bit of melted butter was a nice touch, though.

Check amazon for a decent selection on crab trabs. They also sell some at the Walmart and J&M Tackle down there. If you are renting a house or condo, check with the owner about whether they have any there (it's not uncommon and saves you money).
_________________________
I'm hungry and tired. Don't poke my belly.

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#3272690 - 06/21/13 09:51 AM Re: Speckled trout and redfish "on the half shell" [Re: Crosshairy]
memace
Spike


Registered: 10/11/06
Posts: 42
Loc: Memphis

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Wow! Thanks for the info and hopefully we get to go here pretty soon.
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