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Easter 2014 – Family and Good Times

Apologies for this taking so long, but stuff got busy.

So, Cindy, Ember, and I all had a pretty good Easter and we hope you did as well :)

Easter 2014 - Ember being cute with bunny ears

Easter 2014 – Ember being cute with bunny ears

Ember was SO CUTE!!!  Yeah, she put the bunny ears on herself and didn’t just chew on them this year :)

Easter 2014 - Ember's baskets

Easter 2014 – Ember’s baskets

The Easter Bunny came and brought plenty of cool stuff for Ember :cool:

Easter 2014 - Ember's first rod and reel!

Easter 2014 – Ember’s first rod and reel!

One of the things Ember got was her first fishing rod and reel setup!  It’s a Zebco 11 combo and it’s a special “Customz” edition which means it has a nicer rod than my Zebco 11 and it’s a really pretty color :thumb:

Easter 2014 - Dinner - Yesterday's catch was good :)

Easter 2014 – Dinner – Yesterday’s catch was good :)

Dinner for me included some trout fillets as I’d caught a couple of fish the day before.  I heated up some olive oil in the skillet, dipped the fish in some egg and milk, and then did the shake to coat thing with some Progresso lemon pepper panko bread crumbs and it was GOOD :D

Easter 2014 - Today's keepers

Easter 2014 – Today’s keepers

Earlier in the day, I’d gone up to the pond and grabbed a couple of decent trout, so one of the last things I did on Easter night was to prep these two fish for cooking.  I’ve been using a method of filleting that calls for gutting and taking the fish’s head off and it’s quite time consuming and annoying.

I went back to YouTube to see what I could find for filleting techniques before startintg in on these fish and I found a pretty good idea.  Click in the video and then go to 5:38 for the relevant part.  There’s also info about prepping your trout or salmon for baking or cooking whole along with how to steak them as well, but the filleting technique was what I was after for my fish :)

Easter 2014 - Skin side of fillets

Easter 2014 – Skin side of fillets

Easter 2014 - Meat side of fillets

Easter 2014 – Meat side of fillets

And here’s the result of the new technique :D  Oh, I still need some practice before I can get the most meat out of the fish and the most bones out of the meat, but this is SO MUCH BETTER :cool:

Well, that’s all for now, but I will be back soon with some more cool stuff :wink:

Have fun, everyone, and I hope you had a very Happy Easter :mrgreen:

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19 April 2014 – A Quick Trip to the Fishing Pond

19 April 2014 - A couple of nice trout

19 April 2014 – A couple of nice trout

So, I had to work 0800-1500 yesterday.  I also met Cindy and Ember for lunch right after that until 1600.  Add to that a trip to the liquor store for wine for Cindy’s sauce with dinner (you can only buy wine in the state owned liquor stores here in Utah) and a trip to Walmart for a few other things and it was about 1700 by the time I was able to head over toward the fishing pond.  Oh yeah – I had to be home by 1800 for dinner.

Funny thing – None of that was a problem :)  I’ve gotten to know the Carbon County Community Fishing Pond well enough now that I can go to a certain part of the shore, put a hook on the line with a split shot sinker about 12″ to 18″ above it, put a couple Power Eggs (chartreuse with garlic scent seems to work best) on the hook, cast a short distance, and nearly always have a few good fish on the line in a few minutes :)

That’s how I got the two fish you see above and I got them both in about 10 to 15 minutes and they were both caught on my little $10 Zebco Dock Demon :cool:  I got them cleaned and filleted last night, so I’ll have them for dinner soon!

Well, that’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon with more :wink:  Have a great day :mrgreen:

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18 April 2014 – Fishing – Keepers and New Gear

So, I had yesterday off from work for a couple of reasons.  One of them is that daycare is closed Friday and Monday for the Easter holiday.  I had Ember all day long and we had a pretty good time, but I’m not quite up to taking her somewhere like a lake to go fishing without having someone else there to help corral and control my now 20 month old (how did that happen???) daughter.

Well, when Cindy got off work, I handed Ember over and headed up to the fairgrounds pond.  I wanted to decompress, de-stress, and hopefully catch a fish or two that I could bring home and use to practice my skills with a fillet knife.

18 April 2014 - Keepers!

18 April 2014 – Keepers!

I wasn’t disappointed!  I decided to have some fun with the Dock Demon again and see how it went :)  The smaller fish was caught with my first cast and I don’t think I even waited a minute from the time the bait hit the water.  I tried some lures for fun, but got a call from Cindy inviting me to dinner out, so I threw my favorite setup (split shot sinker about a foot or so above a size 6 hook with some Power Eggs) back into the water.  It took three casts to get it where I wanted it (Dock Demons aren’t known for their casting prowess), but then it was about a 30 second wait until the bigger fish was on the line :cool:  I needed to get going and he was plenty big enough, so I just bonked him on the head, got him into my cooler with the other fish and headed home :wink:

For the record, my filleting skills are still developing and nowhere near perfect, but they are getting MUCH better!  It also helps to have big fish like that guy on top to practice on :thumb:

So, yeah, I caught a couple of nice fish, but that wasn’t all I did.  I’d seen a video about modifying a $1 Walmart promotional buzzbait:

I decided to try it for myself and picked up a few other things while I was at Wally World :)

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 – $1 Walmart promo bait

18 April 2014 - $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $1 on clearance at Walmart

As you can see, my trip to Walmart was fruitful!  I haven’t gotten a chance to slip the bead on that buzzbait, but I should get to that tonight.  I also picked up a few other things that were on clearance since I was there :)

18 April 2014 - $2 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $2 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 - $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 - $1 on clearance at Walmart

18 April 2014 – $1 on clearance at Walmart

So, yeah, I think Walmart worked out nicely yesterday :wink:

All that said, Walmart wasn’t where I got my best deals yesterday.  I’d been in Kmart to return something the other day and I noticed some decent deals in their fishing department.  I went back last night and grabbed some pretty awesome deals!

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $1.34

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.24 each

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.24 each

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.94

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.94

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.74

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $2.94

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $2.94

18 April 2014 - Kmart sale $.84

18 April 2014 – Kmart sale $.84

Those packages of Gulp! bait are usually about $5.50.  The Rebel lure is usually about $7.  Most of these other items are usually around or over $5.  Yeah, I think I got some good value for my money :thumb:

Well, that’s all for now :)  I promise I’ll be back soon with more good stuff!  Have a great day, everyone :mrgreen:

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Dock Demon 1st Trip

So, a few days ago I picked up a Zebco Dock Demon rod and reel combo for about $10 including tax :)  If you don’t remember this or don’t know what they are, click here for my earlier post.  For those who don’t know or don’t want to click, a Zebco Dock Demon is a 30″ solid fiberglass rod with either a spinning or spincast reel that’s exclusive to Walmart.  I got one because it looked like fun and I could either leave it in my car or take it in my backpack while I’m on my mot0rcycle.  Well, I finally got to take it fishing today and…

11 April 2014 - Dock Demon - First cast and first catch!

11 April 2014 – Dock Demon – First cast and first catch!

<Jeremy Clarkson>IT WORKS!!!</Jeremy Clarkson>

I rigged the line with some weight a bit above the hook, added a couple of Power Eggs, and cast out into the Carbon County Fairgrounds fishing pond.  Wouldn’t you just know that my first cast caught a fish :thumb:  OK, that first fish of the day was pretty small, but it was still a fish and it turned out to be the first of many :cool:

11 April 2014 - Keeper caught on the Dock Demon

11 April 2014 – Keeper caught on the Dock Demon

I only ended up keeping one fish today, but I’m OK with that especially considering I only had about 90 minutes or so at the pond :)  This fish was already cleaned and in the fridge before I left for work.  I’m getting really fast at cleaning them, but I could still use some practice filleting them.

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon!  Have a great day :mrgreen:

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9 April 2014 – Trout – It’s What’s For Lunch!

9 Apr 14 - Trout - It's what's for lunch!

9 Apr 14 – Trout – It’s what’s for lunch!

So as I posted earlier (click here), I went back to the fairgrounds pond this past Monday and brought home two fairly decent trout.  Well, I finally got around to cooking them during lunch yesterday.  They got dipped in an egg wash, dropped into a bag with bread crumbs and lemon pepper, and fried up in butter on the stove top.  And they were GOOD :thumb:

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back soon :)  Have a great day :mrgreen:

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Another New Rod and Reel Combo – The Zebco Dock Demon!

So, let’s see here…  I’ve got my Zebco 33 Platinum combo, the Zebco 11 Authentic combo, a B&M bamboo cane pole, and 12′ and 10′ telescoping Shakespeare crappie rods.  Oh yeah – I’ve also got my Zebco 808 that’s on the Bill Dance Omega catfish pole that came with the reel I haven’t mastered yet (blog posts here and here).

One might think I’m getting close to having equipment for all contingencies.

One would be seriously wrong :wink:

I’ve wanted a rod and reel that would come close to fitting in my backpack and that I could easily throw in my car and leave in the back.  I could have gotten a telescoping rod with a reel and all, but I didn’t want to spend the money they want and I had other issues with them.  I’ve never had one, but I’ve heard they can be delicate.  I definitely didn’t want delicate so…

Overall view of my new Zebco Dock Demon

Overall view of my new Zebco Dock Demon

…I spent about $10 at Walmart for a Zebco Dock Demon combo :thumb:

I bought this more for the rod than the reel to tell the truth.  That rod is 100% fiberglass and I’ve seen pics of the tip bend back around to where it touches the end of the grip.  I’ve heard nothing but good about it.  They just don’t sell the rod by itself.

Left side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Left side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Now, that reel is something else.  I initially thought about getting another Zebco 11 reel and taking the clear plastic Dock Demon reel off and keeping it as a spare, but I’ve changed my mind after some up close inspection and a bit of horsing around :)

Right side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Right side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Yes, the body of the reel is clear, injection molded plastic, but it’s got all metal gears.  While I realize that not all metal is created equal and these are probably softer than I’d really like, I’m taking the view that it will be fun to see just what happens and how good or bad it really is :cool:

Top view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Top view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Another thing that’s printed on the reel is “WIDE RANGE POWERTRAIN DRAG” and I think I know what that means, but I’m curious to find out if it’s really true.  I’ve tried pulling against the drag and it seems to work OK.  Of course, the true test is going to be hooking a few fish for the dinner plate :wink:

Oblique front/side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

Oblique front/side view of the Dock Demon spincast reel

There was only one change I made to this whole package.  I swapped out the line.  This whole outfit was about $10 with tax, so I wasn’t surprised when the 6lb test line that came on it was coiled like a giant, skinny slinky.  It would have been a problem at some point, so I grabbed a couple of 330 yard spools of 4lb premium line on clearance for $1 each.  I figured I could use it on this reel and on my Zebco 11 when it comes time to replace the good line that came on that reel.  The line was replaced last night and I can’t wait to take this whole outfit out to the pond :thumb:

One last thing – I’ve emailed Zebco a few times with questions and they always get right back to me.  I had a couple of questions about the Dock Demon, so I emailed them again and got a good, quick reply:

Jeff,

The dock demon is not available on the website because it is exclusive to Wal-Mart. While the rod and reel do have a one year warranty, replacement parts are not available. We recommend 4-8 pound test on any reel that comes prespooled with 6# line, but unfortunately we have not tested and measured to be able to give exact capacity with anything other than the recommended 6# mono.

Thank you for contacting us,

Zebco Brands
6105 E. Apache
Tulsa, OK  74115
1-800-588-9030

All of this is completely understandable and I couldn’t be happier with everything so far :)

Have a great day and I’ll be back with more stuff soon :mrgreen:

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7 April 2014 – Fishing at the Carbon County Fairgrounds Again

Yesterday was my day to work tech support alone.  It’s always busy on those days and this was no exception.  It also means my shift is 0900-1800 instead of 1000-1900.  Cindy also took Ember to go visit Grandma in the rest home, so I was going to have a little bit of time to myself.  There’s a bit of daylight left after 1800 hours these days…  Yeah, I went fishin’ up at the fairgrounds again :thumb:

The Zebco 11 Authentic combo - It catches fish!

The Zebco 11 Authentic combo – It catches fish!

Yesterday’s fishing was all done with the Zebco 11.  Why?  Pretty much because I could :)  I’ve been using the Zebco 33 Platinum quite a bit, but I wanted to work this into the rotation a bit more.  It seems like there are people out there who think this is only good for panfish, but I did catch a couple of good size trout yesterday and I had the rod bent over pretty good :wink:  I like this combo and I believe one of these is going to be Ember’s first rod and reel combo :cool:

I caught a fish on my first cast!

I caught a fish on my first cast!

My first cast resulted in the first fish of the day!  Yeah, it’s a fairly small trout, but it’s still a fish :D

I kept two fish - My limit at this pond

I kept two fish – My limit at this pond

These are the two fish I actually kept. I caught the bigger one fairly early and decided it was big enough.  The other one was when I was caught about the time I was going to call it a day and head home.  It swallowed the hook and I couldn’t get it out, so I figured I’d take home my limit and eat a bit more trout :)

My Rapala knife - Handcrafted in Finland

My Rapala knife – Handcrafted in Finland

Rapala fillet knife

Rapala fillet knife

My first attempt at filleting a fish a few days ago wasn’t entirely as successful as I’d have liked.  I think part of the problem was the knife as it was a 6″ budget selection at Walmart.  Because of this, I picked up a Rapala fillet knife with a four inch blade.  I figured the quality would be better and the shorter blade would allow for more control.

I used this knife last night on the two fish I brought home and it was quite a bit better than the cheaper knife :D  I’m still going to keep the bigger knife in my tackle bag if for no other reason than it has a nicely weighted handle that works well for knocking fish in the head to kill them quickly and humanely before I put them into the cooler when I want to keep them :cool:

Rapala knife fillet instructions

Rapala knife fillet instructions

Rapala knife fillet instructions

Rapala knife fillet instructions

The two images above are from the packaging for my new fillet knife.  It’s a whole different method of filleting a fish, but it looks interesting so I think I’ll give it a shot :)

Well, that’s all for now, but I’ll be back before too long – I have other updates to post when I get the time and energy :cool:  Have a great day, everyone :mrgreen:

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Going After Bigger Fish – A “Reel” Solution!

So, let’s recap after the last post.  I’ve decided I want to catch some fish that are bigger than the average 12″ to 15″ rainbow trout.  I want to go after catfish, muskie, carp, and some of the other bigger fish,  but I don’t want to use my medium or ultra light rod and reel sets because I don’t want to abuse them :wink:

Catfish pole!

Catfish pole!

Catfish pole stats

Catfish pole stats

I’ve got a decent rod as you can see above, but it came with a baitcasting reel.  Those are great reels – don’t get me wrong!  I just can’t seem to cast it without creating a bird’s nest of monofilament that  borders on being a fog  :censored:

Zebco 888 reel

Zebco 888 reel

I got a Zebco Pro Staff 888 reel :D !!!

The website description says:

Our top-of-the-line heavy spincast reel is perfect for battling big fish.

PS888 Reel:
- 4-bearign drive system
- 2.6:1 powerful gears
- Magnum dial-adjustable drag
- Dual pickup pins
- Right or left retrieve
- Dual anodized stailness steel front cover

If my baitcasting reel is an Italian sports car, this is a Ford F-250 with an automatic transmission :thumb:  There’s no finesse required, no feathering of a clutch.  Casting a Zebco spincast reel is about as difficult as taking your foot off a brake pedal, stomping on the gas, and trying not to hit anything.  It’s a big block V-8 engine with gobs of torque that can pull your fifth wheel and your boat!  The large diameter and long crank handle mean that there’s plenty of power :cool:

The “auto bait alert” lever you see on the side does two things when you turn it on.  First, it disengages the anti-reverse which allows your line to spool out fairly easily.  This may sound like a bad thing, but if your rod is in a holder when a fish grabs the bait, this lets the fish run without pulling the rod and reel into the water.  It also activates a clicker so that when your bait is being pulled out with the anti-reverse disengaged, you have a good audio alert :)

The other things to see here are on the hub of the crank handle and on the front cover where it says “3 BEARINGS” and on the front cover where it says “ALL METAL HEAVY DUTY DRIVE TRAIN” in big, bold letters.  I can tell those bearings are there because it’s pretty smooth on the retrieve :)  No, I haven’t taken it out fishing yet, but I did tie on a casting plug and have what turned out to almost be too much fun :wink:

Zebco 888 reel

Zebco 888 reel

A couple of things to notice while looking at this side of the reel are the big holes in the front cover, the part where it says “SELECTABLE CONTINUOUS ANTI-REVERSE” on the front cover, and the big, slotted screw.

I’m pretty sure those big windows in the front cover are to allow for line to dry so it doesn’t have all sorts of issues.  I could be wrong, but that’s my thought.  They could also be there to make it easier to rinse things out.  This is supposed to be a top of the line reel :)

The selectable continuous anti-reverse is part of that auto bait alert I mentioned before.  What it doesn’t talk about on the reel or in the literature that came with it though is one of the reasons I got this reel in the first place.  I emailed Zebco a while back because I couldn’t find a difference between the 733, the 808 and the 888.  I asked them which one they would recommend for catfish, muskie, carp, and other big fish.To answer your question: the 888 is the highest end reel for catfishing. It has 4 ball bearings and a clutch as opposed to a simple anti-reverse. It also comes with a single power handle for more cranking power when bringing in a bigger fish.  They got right back to me and their reply said:

To answer your question: the 888 is the highest end reel for catfishing. It has 4 ball bearings and a clutch as opposed to a simple anti-reverse. It also comes with a single power handle for more cranking power when bringing in a bigger fish.

Finally, there’s that big flat head screw.  The reason that’s important to some people is that you can change the side the crank handle is on.  Lefties, here is your heavy duty reel :thumb:

Zebco 888 reel

Zebco 888 reel

Looking at the reel from above, the biggest things you see are the window into the spool, the casting button, and the drag wheel.  That drag wheel is easy to get to while you’ve got a fish on, too!  I may not have fished with this reel yet, but I can tell from personal experience with my other Zebco reels that this is going to be nice :cool:

Catfish pole with the Zebco 888

Catfish pole with the Zebco 888

And here’s the rod and reel together :)  I’ve decided that I’m going to keep the baitcasting reel and I’m vowing to eventually learn how to use it.  Eventually :wink:  For now, though, I’m gonna just have fun catching fish on a simpler setup :thumb:

That’s all for now – Have a great day, everyone :mrgreen:

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Going After Bigger Fish – Rod and Reel Issues

So, as you’ve no doubt seen in earlier posts, I’ve had a bit of success with catching rainbow trout :cool:

That’s been fun and I’m going to keep it up, but I’ve thought that getting a bigger fish would be a hoot, too :wink:  My Zebco 11 and 33 combos are ultra light and medium action with four and ten pound line respectively.  People have caught huge fish on small, light gear, but I’d rather not try that right now :wink:

It just so happens that I’ve got some gear from a while back, but there’s a bit of a problem…

Catfish pole!

Catfish pole!

Catfish pole stats

Catfish pole stats

I have a great rod and there’s no real problem with it.  Yes, the lure weight is only 1/4 to 1oz, but I don’t think that will be an issue.  Sure, I’ll probably have a 1oz sinker and a good size chunk of bait, but it won’t be THAT much over an ounce.  My one complaint (and yes, I know I was the one who bought this thing a while back) is that this is a seven foot, one piece rod.  It’s a bit awkward at times.  I may very well get a different rod in the near future, but this should work for the time being  :pepsi:

Baitcast reel that came with the pole

Baitcast reel that came with the pole

The problem I have is with the reel you see above.  If you don’t know about baitcasting reels, you don’t know about backlash/bird’s nest/overrun that commonly challenges those who use one.  Click here to see how big a problem this is.  It happens to me all the freaking time when I try to use this reel.

Basically, that spool gets to spinning during a cast and if you goof, it will keep going after the line has stopped actually going out.  I’ve tried for a while, but I still can’t seem to get it right.  The bets way I’ve found to describe trying to learn to cast one of these is to imagine trying to learn to drive in something like a lightweight Italian sports car.  The clutch is like a light switch with very little movement, the engine has little to no torque to get things moving, and sometimes the controls can be weird to begin with :cloud:

What it boils down to is that I’ve got good equipment.  I just can’t use the freaking reel :bank:

Thankfully, I’ve got a solution and you’ll see it in the next post :D

Have fun until then :mrgreen:

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31 March 2014 – Trout – It’s What’s For Dinner!

All week long, I’ve been itchin’ to go fishin’ and I finally got to go yesterday :)

All my trips before were planned to be catch and release from the beginning.  This trip was different.  I was going fishing and I was going to bring a fish or two home for dinner :thumb:

31 March - Caught on the second cast!

31 March – Caught on the second cast!

I caught both of these fish on a Zebco 33 Platinum combo with size 7 Eagle Claw snelled hook, and a Gulp! pinched crawler for bait.  I mention that only because I think it’s funny how closed face reels and snelled hooks seem to get a bad rap in certain corners of the interwebz.  Part of the reason I got this rod and reel combo was to see if they really could be as bad as I’d read.

Those Gulp! pinched crawlers were great!  I had nibbles and bites on my first cast and this guy came up on the second cast.  I decided he was big enough to eat, so he got a bonk on the head and got bled out for about ten minutes before going on ice :cool:

31 March - Fish number 2 wasn't small, either

31 March – Fish number 2 wasn’t small, either

————-

31 March - Fish number 2 looked pretty good, too

31 March – Fish number 2 looked pretty good, too

This is the second fish I decided to keep.  He’s just a tiny bit shorter than the first one, but still good eating size.  I caught a few in between, but decided I’d had enough fun for one day when he showed up.  The limit for the small local ponds is two fish per person per day at each pond, so this guy got the same treatment as the first fish and it was off to home :)

31 March - Both fish cleaned and ready to be cooked

31 March – Both fish cleaned and ready to be cooked

It’s been a very long time since I’ve cleaned a trout.  I can’t remember exactly how we did it when I went with Grandma and Grandpa somewhere near 25 or 30 years ago in the White Mountains of Arizona.  A quick search of YouTube yielded a great video (click here) that showed a really quick and easy method :D  It didn’t take long to clean both fish and have ‘em ready for cooking :wink:

31 March - Two fish dinner :)

31 March – Two fish dinner :)

And here they are on my plate :cool:  Cindy cooked them for me with cilantro, lime, and a bit of onion.  The flavor was good, but I think I found a couple spots where they weren’t cooked quite all the way.  I think I’m going to try a different recipe next time just for fun and I’m going to see if I can’t learn to fillet them and get the meat separated from the bones before cooking.  At least I know it won’t be tough to get my hands on more fish :thumb:

That’s all for now, but I’ll be back with more soon!  Have fun, everyone :mrgreen:

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