Welcome to Week LXXII of 'Fishing Parkland Shorelines'. Like most of us I am a novice fisherman, loving to fish, but far from an expert. In the following weeks I'll attempt to give those anglers who love to fish but just don't have access to a boat, a look at some of the options in the Yorkton area where you can fish from shore, and hopefully catch some fish.
So a couple of weeks ago I wrote about a couple of nice channel catfish the better half caught.
Well it was time to get into the kitchen and fry up one.
The plan heading to the kitchen was simple enough, create something which would be a bit of a northern-fied adaptation of a southern standard.
With catfish I figured a natural was to cook up some grits, not that I had ever tried doing that before.
Finding grits in a local bulk food store was easy enough, and then it was a trip to the cyberworld via the Internet to see exactly how good grits are cooked.
Not surprisingly there are dozens of ways to go about cooking up grits, so rather than follow a specific recipe I found a couple of basis cooking ideas, the primary one being to make sure cheese was added, and winged it.
Equal parts water and whole milk and some salt went into a heavy saucepan, and over medium heat was brought to a boil.
The cornmeal is gradually added to the boiling mixture. The heat was turned to low, and the pot covered. Every few minutes remove the lid and give the mixture a good whisk to prevent sticking to pot, and to keep the grits smooth and not lumpy.
It will need to cook for about 25-minutes, or until the grits are creamy.
Take off the heat, whisk in some pepper and a few tablespoons of butter. Once the butter is incorporated add a few ounces of shredded cheese (I used a sharp cheddar as a favourite).
As a vegetable I thought about collard greens, but opted for swiss chard simply because I have actually cooked that before.
I kept it simple, boiled, then drained.
As the chard boiled I chopped some bacon into about inch square pieces and fried it, draining the fat away when done.
I then mixed a bit of maple mustard with white vinegar and mixed that into the chard, adding the bacon as I mixed it.
Which brings me to the catfish.
Some cajun spice and seasoning salt mixed into corn meal was a simple coating. The catfish was washed, dipped in the corn meal, then into a egg wash, and back into the corn meal for an extra thick crust.
It was then fried in the drained bacon fat.
The three elements of the meal come together nicely in a large flat soup bowl.
Now I must digress a moment, something I have a tendency to do to when writing about fishing.
I was surprised recently when fishing was a category on Jeopardy, which is the one game show I watch and love. Most nights I'm doing good to get 50 per cent of the answers, most shows it's far less.
But a series of questions on fishing I figured I was in the good.
Then the first question was about what the origin word to angling referred.
I picked the fishing rod, on what was admittedly a guess.
A wrong guess as it turned out.
The base word of 'angler' actually refers to the hook according to Jeopardy.
For fun I searched the word origin online and found this on www.word-detective.com "'Angler' has been used to mean "one who fishes with a hook and line" since the mid-16th century, and is based on the verb "to angle," which has meant "to fish" since the late 15th century. This verb "to angle" is based on the noun "angle," meaning "hook for fishing," which is now considered archaic but was in use until the 19th century. It is true that this "angle" was spelled "angel" in Old English, but it is unrelated to the Biblical sort of "angel" (which is based on a Greek word for "messenger"). This now-obsolete noun "angle" was based on a Indo-European root ("ank") meaning "to bend" (which also gave us "ankle" and "anchor"), and was often used to refer to the rod and line as well as the hook."
And now something I've wanted to include for a while, and finally have a lull in the actual fishing action to include it.
Hawg Wild Lure Co. may be best known stateside for products focused on bass, but up here the company's wide range of soft lure bodies can be a real handy addition to the tackle box working on walleye and even hungry pike in the right situation.
In terms of lures Hawg Wild is a relative newcomer, established only in 2009, but in the short time since they have rolled out a huge catalogue of artificials, with a range of colours, sizes and shapes. It is doubtful you will not find a rubber worm, crayfish, minnow or shad to your liking with this company.
I asked company owner/president Ken D'Errico what was Hawg Wild's primary focus in the varied work of sport fishing lures?
"Our primary focus is bass fishing, both small and largemouth (bass), however, our products can be used to target other species such as crappie, Northern Pike and walleye," he said.
"We've also got the ability to provide a limited supply of trout lures.
"We also have a fairly large following overseas in the United Kingdom. The fishermen over there use our soft plastic lures to target Sea Bass and wrasse."
D'Errico said the interest in bass first is a natural one for Hawg Wild.
"The reason we focus on bass is because the company was developed by two tournament bass fisherman," he said. "It started as something to do during the long winter months here in Maine."
While the line is varied there are always products which stand out.
"Our most successful lure at this point would be our Hawg Sticks, mainly the five-inch version," said D'Errico.
The Hawg Stick looks a bit like a thick night crawler, although it is generally stiffer.
"Our Hawg Sticks are very easy to fish and have several ways to be rigged, Wacky Rigged and Texas Rigged are the two most popular ways to rig," explained D'Errico.
Now a bit of a note here. Some fishermen might not be familiar with what Texas, or Wacky Rigged is. I can certainly recall in the past asking an angler on the water what they were doing and they replied some strange hook up and I'd nod like I knew what they meant, real men never ask directions after all, and I'd go back to tossing a spoon having had no idea what the other guy was talking about.
Today I might still feign knowledge on the lake, but when I get home I can hit the laptop and a quick search will provide the knowledge of how to make most popular rigs, and a few strange home brews too.
I won't try to explain a Texas Rig here, other than to note it's a soft worm set-up using a bare hook, preferably with a deeper bend. Once placed the hook tip ends up just slightly buried in the worm, which helps it maneuver through weeds, and yet catch a fish biting down on the rig. For more detailed help go to /www.youtube.com and search 'How to Texas Rig'. From there you will find a number of well-produced instructional videos.
And no fear folks, a Texas Rig is easy to do.
The Wacky Rig is not naturally weedless, but is dead simple to get ready for the water. It's basically a single pass through the middle of a plastic worm. The key here is fishing a whacky in places where it gets good action on the sink, and retrieve. Again for a closer look head to YouTube and search 'how to wacky rig a worm'.
"The other factor that makes the Hawg Stick successful along with our other baits is the value we build into each package. We provide more product per package than any other manufacturer and we charge less! Thus our slogan, 'more bite for your buck!'," offered D'Errico.
I can vouch for lots of Hawg Sticks in a package. You won't worry if a wallie steals one since there are plenty in a package.
D'Errico also noted the 3-1/2-inch Hawg Frog and the four-inch Hawg Craw are popular.
What it will come down too for most trips out is what the fish are getting naturally. If you see frogs in the water near shore, go with a soft plastic that mimics them in general shape at least, and colour too if it matches up.
In a spot you know has crayfish, think the Qu'Appelle River as an example, then a softy crawfish is a good bet to offer up.
Of course as a fisherman I was really curious what might be coming down to pipe from Hawg Wild?
But, D'Errico was not ready to let me glimpse his 'tackle box of tomorrow'.
"We're always thinking of new designs or how to improve upon existing designs," he said. "We do currently have some things in development, however, until we are done developing, we aren't able to go into details about what we are working on. Research, development, design, field testing and production all cost significant amounts of money and to discuss what we have in the works would jeopardize that."