I never knew what it meant to “catch fish left and right,” until a few weeks ago when my multi-tasking abilities were tested at the Olympic-level during a fishing trip at Marion Reservoir. My set-up was pretty simple – two rods, two bottom-bouncers, and two worms – but with hungry wiper in the water, and my incessant back-and-forth between poles, you would’ve thought I was training to be a professional plate spinner.
As we trolled the water, I tried to find a nice balance between watching my lines, sneaking in a peanut butter cracker here and there, and enjoying the scenery. I had just got into the groove of things when I caught my first fish of the morning – a 17.5-inch walleye, and like a green light marks “go,” the fishing took off from there.
Like flashes of lightning, white bass and wiper came in one after another. I would no sooner hook a worm on one pole, when my other pole would start dancing.
I had never found a wiper on the end of my line before this trip, but after a couple hours of them striking my rigs like a rogue baseball hitting a fan in the bleachers, I began to recognize their M.O. pretty quickly. It was a fast and furious kind of fishing that meant no more peanut butter crackers and no more sitting down.
I tried to keep up, but with all the commotion going on, my thought processes became as murky as the water I was catching these fish in. And just as soon as they were on, they were off, too. One would lose interest before I could set the hook, another would get a “to go” meal of my too-long-of a worm, and then there were the majority that were lost due to plain ol’ operator error.
Being the domestic-huntress that I am, I thought of the dinner plates that would remain empty if I didn’t catch these fish. “What kind of huntress goes home meatless?” I thought to myself. And that was it – no more fish were getting by me. I talked myself through each catch, chanting the essentials “hold your rod tip up, keep the pole bent, let the rod do the work…” and just as I had hoped, the live-well hotel began filling up with guests.
I would be lying if I said I thought fishing was more fun than hunting, but you certainly can’t wrestle a turkey onto a boat. Wiper put up quite the fight, and it was nothing short of exhilarating landing these fish.
If you find yourself in a wiper frenzy this summer, try my recipe for Caribbean-jerk wiper with grilled pineapple and dirty rice.
|Note: this dish has a little kick. For a more subtle version, use 1 Tablespoon|
jerk seasoning and lightly sprinkle fish with pineapple juice prior to serving.
4-6 wiper fillets
4-6 wiper fillets
1/2 Cup olive oil
1/2 Cup orange juice
1/4 Cup pineapple juice
1/4 Cup soy sauce
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
2 Tablespoons jerk seasoning
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/2 Tablespoon garlic
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 can sliced pineapple
1 box Dirty rice mix
In a large bowl, mix brown sugar, jerk seasoning, and salt and pepper. Add olive oil, orange juice, pineapple juice, soy sauce, lemon juice, and chopped garlic. Pour mixture over fillets and marinade for 2 to 4 hours in a covered dish.
Cook rice according to the box. While you are waiting, heat up your grill. Set aside the cooked rice. Place the pineapple rings directly on the grates. Cook the pineapple until the grill lines have caramelized. Place the fillets on the grill and cook until the fish has turned opaque, approximately 4-5 minutes, turning them over halfway through. Plate rice, pineapple rings, and fillets on top. Sprinkle additional jerk seasoning over the dish just prior to serving.
Until next time, wipe ‘r on!