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127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
What a great day for a number of reasons.

First & foremost, First fish outting of the year. Yee Haa !! It's about time.

Second, All equipment worked properly. Boat, motor, tackle etc.
It pays to have everything ready before you head out.

Third, We picked up right where we left off last season. Never did get down to the warmer side of the lake. Headed right for our usual locations & did quite well. Not the best day we've ever had there, but a good day none the less.
We didn't get out as early as we normally try to as it took time to defrost everything & we waited for it to warm a bit before heading out.
Got on the lake about mid morning & it didn't take long till we were realing in fish.

Ended the day around 5 or so with a basket full of nice size Gills.
Only kept about 1/2 of what we caught in Gills & tossed dozens back.
Caught about 20 smaller cats & a couple decent sized but threw all them back. About 30 minutes into the day I hooked into what I thought was a nice LM. It wasn't, but it was one elephant sized Carp. Was a lot of fun to catch, but needless to say....

Did end up catching 2 smaller LM which is encouraging for the future.
We both introduced ourselves & told them we'd meet them agian in a year or 2. Pretty much everything we caught was down 3 to 4 feet in about 10 to 12 foot of water

All in all, other than the chill, it was a great day & we're looking forward to many more this year.

Thanks to a great Gill cleaning tip we got from Tom H. a couple years ago, it won't take long today to get them ready to cook up for tonites dinner & some extra for the freezer as well.

Gotta love springtime.

127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·

In the past they've always tasted great & in a few hours I can let you know if they still do. We're quite sure they will taste as sweet as ever.
After we skin them & filet them, she soaks them in water with a bit of salt to draw out what little blood there may be.
By the way, we just finished fileting 28 of them & did it in under an hour.
No scaling, no guts, no bones. Just small clean filets that make great nuggets.
We either sautee them in butter & fresh pressed garlic (which we grow ourselves & is 10 times better than store bought) or, we do like were gonna do tonight & fry them up using the basic "shore lunch" batter.
After she soaks them in salt water for a bit, THUNDERSMOM rinses them well & makes sure theres no little bones I may have missed.
By the way, She cuts them, & I skin them (assembly line style). she then helps skin the last few as she is a bit faster in the process than I am.
Then she takes a break while I filet the meat off the bones.
Easy to do if you have a good filet knife & she can do it too, but I get the most out of smaller fish.
She just finished rinsing them & double checking for missed bones & stray scales I may have missed.
Tonite, we'll beer batter them. Dry coat them with the shore lunch, then dip them in a mix of the shore lunch, only we substitute the water with beer.
Tip here.....the night before, open a beer & put it back in the fridge to get flat overnight. Keeps the foam down when you use it that way & you don't need to worry about hot oil bubbling over the pan when you fry them up. This method works great for walleye, cats, & other fish as well.
With Gill, you only need a couple minutes per side at best but with other thicker filets, ya need to adjust accordingly.

It is a pain to get them prepped to cook, but well worth the effort.

By the way, A HUGE thank you to Tom H. again for the cleaning tips a few years back. It's made it more than worth the effort to say the least.

Side note here...An older gentleman pulled up to us yesterday as we were securing the boat on the trailer & he asked how we did. After a brief discussion about the gills at Braidwood, he asked about "parasites" in the fish, bluegill specifically.
I've NEVER found any in many, many years of fishing there.
A few in a few cats, but never in gills. Not to say that can't happen, but in my experiance, parasites typically occour in "bottom dweling" fish like Halibut, Flounder, etc. (thats just the Alaskan in me typing here btw).

If you actually look close enough, you can find things in any "Wild Game".
Those who know, just don't look THAT close.
Onced cooked, who knows anyway? It all tastes the same if ya cook it

127 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·
mops7 said:
parasites typically occour in "bottom dweling" fish like Halibut, Flounder, etc.
They occur in all species of fish. Mops
This is quite true, but some more-so than others. No argument here on that, but the specific ? was Braidwood Gills & we've never seen any in years of catching them there.
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