Shortly after moving to Scotland, my Dad gave my husband a couple of his old fishing rods to play with and a pile of rusty old tackle which had belonged to my Grandfather.
One day, my hubby decided to take me on an exciting day out “pike fishing”. He is always full of suggestions for interesting days out!
Apart from fishing for crabs and mackerel on holiday in Cornwall as a child, I can’t say I have had much fishing experience. I have also never read ” Fly Fishing” by JR Hartley, but enthusiastically agreed to give it a go. I am probably more interested in cooking or eating fish than actual fishing. However, it was a lovely day so off we went, with me dressed in my pixie hat and pink wellies, trudging across a boggy field to the loch.
We then set up our rods and waited. I think that’s half the fun of fishing, just enjoying the surroundings, tranquility and sunshine.
An hour or so later, we saw some action at the end of the rods. My husband caught one first. It was huge and aggressive looking! I think pike look a bit prehistoric. They are a long predatory fish with large ugly teeth. Given half a chance, they will eat just about everything else in the loch!
I was busy taking scenic photos, so I told him that would be my dinner and he had better catch another one if he wanted to be eating anything later. A little while longer he caught a second one.
We stuffed them both in a plastic bag and headed home. My Grandfather would have been proud that we had caught something using his fishing tackle!
At this stage I would like to point out that I had no idea what it would be like to eat pike. I had never tried one before or ever seen them for sale in the fishmonger (there’s a reason for that!). So I cooked it as I would any other fish, with wine, garlic and fresh herbs from my garden. My husband insisted on weighing them first so he could tell his friends how big they were! Ceremoniously beheaded, gutted and stuffed, I popped them in oven.
You might well be wondering what they tasted like. I won’t lie to you. Pike has a pretty strong flavour which is not unpleasant but is very different to other fish I have eaten. It is also very bony. You need to be extra careful with the bones from this fish as they can get stuck in your throat. However, we ate them both (very carefully) and were completely stuffed! I probably wouldn’t have eaten them if we hadn’t caught them ourselves. I doubt I will ever eat pike again, but it was an experience. From Loch to table!
I have posted the recipe below but you can cook most fish like this, so just adapt to whatever fish you can get your hands on. This recipe would work well with fresh mackerel and trout and they would be a lot less bony to eat!
2 fish (I used pike but whole mackerel or trout would work well and be less bony)
fresh mixed herbs
Remove the heads and tails from the fish, gut and wash well.
Place in an oven proof dish
Stuff the body cavity with fresh herbs, lemon and garlic
Drizzle some olive oil over the surface together with a few tablespoons of white wine
Cover the dish with a lid or sheet of foil
Bake in the oven at around 170C/Gas 3 for around 15 – 20 min, depending on the size of your fish and enjoy with some good wine!