FILET FUN!!!

avocado-topping-for-filetsNew fish recipes are always fun to try. Here is one with a salsa flair, that is tasty, healthy, and easy.

Fresh fish is just one of the great benefits of being married to a fisherman. Limits of filets end up in the freezer, and are soon forgotten. Eventually, you find someone to give the surplus of fish too, or you have a fish fry party. Frying fish takes more cleanup, the house smells fishy for a few days, and fried foods are not as healthy.

This recipe is great at home or at the campsite. Treat the filets like they are ribs, and prepare a Rub. I use spray oil to keep things less messy. The rubbed filets can be grilled, or baked, for 10-12 minutes. Thicker, and larger filets will take longer.

While the filets are baking, prepare your topping. Avocados may seem like a yuppie food, but they are healthy and full of flavor. The lime, cilantro, cut up tomatoes and a dash of Old Bay seasoning, blend together perfectly.

I was not expecting anything special when I first tried this new recipe. My first bite proved otherwise. This was one of the best fish dishes that I have ever tasted. It works great on most species of fish. Even my “old fried fish and tartar sauce friends” were surprised.

Fresh fish filets are best for this recipe. Once you give this a try, you will discover more freezer space, and feel a need to fish more often! This is perfect for a Fish Friday or anythime.

Create a RUB;

Mix together in a bowl the following.

3 TBSP of Brown Sugar

1 TSP of salt and pepper/ or use Old Bay

1 TSP of cumin

1 ½ TBSP of chili powder

Avocado Salsa

Cube 2 avocados

A sprinkle of Old Bay, just because!

Fresh Cilantro

Squeeze the juice from one lime

Cube small tomatoes

Coat the filets in olive oil and apply the rub to both sides. Place on foil or parchment paper, and cook for 12-15 min. until done. The thicker filets take longer. If baking in an oven, set the temp. at 425 degrees.rubbed-filets

Mix the salsa and apply on top of the cooked filets. Add some prepared vegetables for a side dish and enjoy!

Feast on filets!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

TO CATCH FISH…

fly-rod-limit-2You need to catch fish! The more fish you catch, the better fisherman you will become. Experience and knowledge are powerful tools. You can only learn so much by just fishing. At some point you need to learn, on your own, how to catch fish.

Catching fish is not just reeling them in. You need to think about presentation, gear, skills, and the process of hooking, playing, netting and dealing with a fish that you caught. The act of catching fish becomes more routine, repetitious, and remembered.

There is no point going fishing if you do not take something home with you. This may not be fish! Instead take home some new tricks, tips, and techniques. If you see an angler catching fish, ask what they are using. Most fishermen are good sports, and willing to share information.

Modern spin tackle is better today, than what older fishermen used decades ago. For a small investment, you can outfit yourself with everything you may need. Spin fishing, is harder than fly fishing. Spinning rods are shorter, reels are more complicated, and lines seem to have a mind all their own.

Fly fishing has been around a long time. The basic casting is easier with a longer rod or “lever”. Setting the hook is quicker. Longer rods catch bigger fish. You can get a better, more natural, presentation with a fly rod with a light leader, than with a spinning rod and a sinker.

To improve my fly fishing skills, and catch a trout dinner, I often fish with flies on stocked “Put and Take” streams. The gentle and precise presentation allows me to catch a limit, and not use any bait. Using a small strike indicator will help you see the bites.

Try using different flies, that attract trout, but no one else is using. I do not use worm or egg flies. Try using bead heads, streamers, and more traditional patterns. On this day, a stonefly hatch was coming off. A size 18 stonefly imitation was the trick. It seemed like every trout in the river was eating dry flies. The other fishermen were casting metal, worms, Power bait, corn, and the kitchen sink with no luck.

Not only did I catch trout, I started to keep just the Golden Trout. These albino Rainbow trout are stocked to enhance the fishing. They are hard to catch and do not reproduce. “Golden’s”, or “Palominos” fight hard, and are fun. On this day, I caught several Goldens, and was trying to keep a limit of 5 for dinner. I released many other trout, and smaller Goldens, while trying for the “Limit of Gold”. Suddenly, a 15” Rainbow sipped in the stonefly. After a great battle, I netted him and finished my limit. Oh Well!

The other nearby anglers never caught a fish and had no clue what I was doing. You can also use flies on a short spinning rod, but it is way harder to cast and set the hook. Once you think you are a “Great Fisherman”, mentor a kid or new angler.

Fish More and Fish More Often! Challenging yourself to catch more fish in different ways, makes you a better fisherman. Fishing is a wonderful thing to share!

Catch a Big One!!!

Montana Grant.

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY!!!

it-was-this-bigEveryone has a story about the one that got away! It may be about that special girlfriend or boyfriend that almost closed the deal. Maybe it was that bargain you almost made. Perhaps it was a job or an opportunity lost.

For sportsmen, it comes down to the fish, fowl, feathers, antlers, horn, or catch that got away. After catching a lifetime of fishing and hunting, which stories stay with you the longest? Hunting seasons always tell the tales of the Big Buck that almost made it to your wall. The stories about the missed shots are the best memories.

Stories of loss are moments of learning. Nothing teaches us a lesson better than a Big Fat mistake or missed opportunity or shot. The lesson may be a hard one but, if you embrace the mistake, you can make sure it does not repeat.

During a Canadian Fly In trip, we fished a remote lake called Echo Lake. Written on the wall of the A-Frame cabin was graffiti saying “Echo Lake Big Mistake”! The lake held walleye, big perch, and pike. Our outfitter told us what to do and where to fish but we all knew better. By the middle of the week, we discovered the Outfitter was right.

On one outing, I marked a school of perch and began fishing for them with my 5 foot Ultra Light rod and reel loaded with 4 lb. test line After vertical jigging a few “Neds”, I hooked into a bigger fish. As I began to reel in, the barely hooked fish slowly rose to the surface. It looked like an alligator that was a couple of yards long. As soon as we locked eyes, the fight was on.  A great battle ensued and I was gaining ground. My fishing partner was ready with the net as I told him to net the fish but do not try and lift it into the boat.

As the HUGE PIKE came along side, the fish was netted but… never lift a monster fish into the boat. As the net lifted, it bent at the neck and busted in half! The pike was free and we both just looked at each other in disbelief. Somehow, I still had my lure attached to my line. The outcome was sad, but the memory is eternal.

Big Buck and Bull Elk stories often end the same way. A tree gets in the way, you made a noise at the wrong time, equipment failed, someone else did something wrong, or it was just not meant to be. Whatever the reason, the story is about “the one that got away”.

The point is to learn from the mistake. Practice more, be a student of your sport, anticipate the mistakes before they happen. Success happens when preparation, planning, and timing come together. The more experience we have, the better choices we make. No matter what happens, the stories about the almost, maybe, “woulda”, “coulda, “shouldas”, are always the best.

Never stop learning!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.fish-tales

TROUT SEASON !!!

002Maryland’s formal Trout Season opens this Saturday, March 25th, at 5:30 am. The creel limit is 5/ daily (all species of trout, combined), and a possession limit of 10. There is no minimum size. Most stocked trout are over 9 inches long.

Good luck to those fishermen that are willing to hit the water at 5:30 am. You will not see me there, that early. I usually arrive later in the morning after most of the crowds are gone. There will be plenty of trout scattered throughout the waters.

Opening Day is Party Time! This annual celebration is the time to get excited about fishing fun. If you are the kind of angler that hates crowds, stay home! The banks will be full of happy fishermen. Not everyone is skilled or successful, but all will be having fun.

The weather is supposed to be perfect on Saturday. This would be a perfect time to take the family along. Great fishermen can prove it, by teaching others how to catch a fish.

Maryland stocks Rainbow, brown, and golden trout. Some fish can be larger than 5lbs. Trout are superb table fare and great sport. Stocked trout, in the Put and Take trout waters, are put there to be caught. Many of these waters will not hold trout all year around. The water will get too warm and low during the hot summers.

This is the time to use light tackle. Light fishing gear, with fine lines from 2-6 lb. test, are perfect. Hip boots and a net are helpful. Polaroid sunglasses will help you see the fish. Forceps will help you safely release any trout, you do not plan to keep. If you are releasing a fish that has swallowed the hook, cut the line. and let them have it. It will dissolve in a few days. If they are bleeding, keep them.

Presentation is key! Small spinners, crankbaits, minnows, worms, corn, cheese, Power Bait, and salmon eggs, are among the menu of baits to use. Use as small of weights, hooks, and lines as you are comfortable with. Drift them slow, deep, and naturally.

When you keep a trout, quickly dispatch it. Fish that are flopping around in a creel, stringer, or cooler suffer, and build up lactic acid, which taints the flavor of the fish. A cooler, damp artic creel or moist wicker creel keep fish fresher longer.

Natural Resource Police will be on patrol! Plainclothes volunteers and Officers will be fishing and monitoring the event. They are there to ensure everyone’s safety, and monitor limits, and rules. Remember that the fair limit is 5 trout. Do not get greedy. Feel free to throw some fish back or come on another day. The “Creel Limit” is the total number of fish allowed for that day’s outing. The “Possession Limit” means how many fish that you can have at the same time. That includes what is in your freezer. Keep each fisherman’s limit using separate stringers, sacks, or containers.officer-ward-license-check

A Fishing license and Trout Stamp are required.  You can purchase these at a sporting goods store or on line. Simply go to dnr.maryland.gov website.

Pick up your limit of trash while you are out. Always leave your fishing spot and campsite cleaner than you found it.

Tight Lines and Have FUN!!!!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

GRILLED BEAST!!!

grilled-elkGrilled and roasted wild game are always a camp favorite. When an older critter is on the meat pole, the meat can be tough, and wild tasting.

A simple marinate is key to adding flavor, and tenderizing the Wild Beast. I first tried this recipe at a hunting camp in Montana. An older Bull Elk was brought to camp and I cut several ¾ inch steaks. The meat from this old bull was dense, and dark. The odor was a bit gamey to the nose. To first address the toughness, I tenderized the steaks, using a hammer style tenderizer. If the meat is younger, you may not need to tenderize the meat. Flank or skirt steaks would work well using this recipe as well.

Next, I prepared a marinate using what we had. The pantry was sparse, since it was a week into the hunt. I added the following ingredients to a sealable plastic bag.

2 limes squeezed

4 cloves of garlic

salt and pepper

½ cup of olive oil

1 shot of whiskey

2 tbsp. vinegar

1 squeezed orange

1 minced jalapeno pepper

½ cup of mixed herbs. Parsley, cilantro, basil, oregano.

Create as much marinate as you need to soak into the meat you plan to cook. Before adding the meat to the sealable bag, mix the ingredients together by squeezing the bag. You could certainly mix up the flavors, if you had more choices on your spice rack.

After placing the tenderized meat steaks into the bag, I sealed it up and placed it into the nearby trout stream. Rocks held it under the water, overnight! If you had a refrigerator or space in the ice chest, you could store the meat there as well. Give the marinate at least a couple of hours to work it’s magic.

No bears or coyotes found my meat stash. In the morning, I retrieved the steaks and threw them onto the morning grill. We were out of bacon and breakfast meats, so this was the Camp Cooks Plan B. A quick campfire sear, and a flip is all that was needed. Using a filet knife, I sliced the steaks across the grain, into strips. Some scrambled eggs alongside and breakfast was ready!

The Grilled Beast was delicious, tender, and every plate was licked clean. I did not taste the whiskey, but everyone appreciated the thought. This Grilled Beast idea is a variation of a Mexican Carne Asada. Seared and charcoal flavor work well with the flavorful marinate. The thin cross slicing really made the meat easy to chew. I also gave the sliced meat a quick stir in the fry pan at the end, to soak up any juices left over.

You could also serve this meat, eggs, and cheese in a tortilla as a breakfast , or steak sandwich.

Simple, tasty, and tender!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com

3 TIPS TO CATCH 3 TIMES AS MANY FISH!!!

3So, you want to catch more fish? Who wouldn’t? After a lifetime of fishing, I still enjoy the next bite. Fishing is an addiction that is never satisfied. Once hooked, you too will never catch enough fish.

Here are 3 ways to improve the catch rate quickly, and easily. If you put these 3 tips into your Tackle Box, success is a cast away.

FIRST!

Wear polaroid fishing glasses. These unique lenses come in various colors and will illuminate reflected light, and glare. My favorite color is Amber/ Brown, which is best in forests, and on cloudy days. Green is a great open water color, and red or blue, have their applications. Great glasses allow you to see the fish, or the structure where the fish may be. Without Polaroids, you just see water and glare. This is not only uncomfortable but a handicap. Improved detail and contrast also will be noticeable. Good glasses also protect your eyes from sticks, hooks, bugs, and damage from the sun. Use a string, or cord, on the arms to hang the glasses around your neck. A protective case, and proper cleaning, will protect your investment. Try out a decent pair and see the difference immediately!

SECOND!

Sharpen your hooks! Use a Diamond Sharpener to hone a fine point onto every hook. I sharpen new hooks and lures out of the package. Use the fine groove on the sharpener to stroke a fine point. Hold the hook upside down and sharpen from the bend to the point on 3 sides. A few strokes, is all it takes. Hooks easily get dull from wear, age, rust, or snags. A fish’s mouth is composed of cartilage, similar to your fingernails. Imagine how hard it is for a dull hook to penetrate your thumbnail. Now put a point on it and see the improvement. When I guide clients that are missing strike after strike, I give their fly, lure, or hook a “little love”, with my hook sharpener. This tip will dramatically improve hook ups.

THIRD!

Use fishing line that you can see! Today’s excellent fishing lines are stronger and thinner than they have ever been. Traditionally, fishermen claim that they need to fish with “invisible line” so that fish can’t see it. The only problem is that these lines are invisible to the fishermen too. A colored line is easily seen by the angler and shows him where his cast went, rig is, or a bite that is about to happen. Using colored line will also improve your casting accuracy. You will be able to see your cast in flight, before it goes into the huge snag. Seeing the bite before you feel it. allows you time to react before the fish feels resistance, and spits out the hook. Use the thinnest, and finest, line you are comfortable with. A great reel, with a fine drag, will compensate for lighter lines.

Tie a tippet to the end of the colored line using a Blood Knot or a small barrel swivel. The terminal end is what the fish sees. 18 inches to a few feet of tippet are all that is needed. This tippet should also be thin and strong. Fluorocarbon tippets are best and nearly invisible. Also, remember to tie a clean and proper knot.3-things

There are not just 3 things that will make you a better fisherman. The great thing about fishing is that you will never master it. About the time, you think you are an expert, a new trick, tip, or strategy will come along.

Always be a student of the sport!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

A TASTE for TROUT!!!

fried-troutSometimes you just feel like eating fish! A freshly caught trout dinner is hard to beat. Fish just tastes better, when it has not been frozen.

Trout are certainly delicious, but there are many kinds of fish that are pretty tasty. Now I am sure that the Catch and Release Purists are rolling over in their waders, but it is ok to eat a fish! Fried, baked, broiled, planked, or as Sushi, it is all good.

The other day, I had a taste for fresh fish. A local trout water had just been stocked, so I was off to shop for my fish dinner. The first cast produced a fat rainbow! Usually, that is not a good sign when you catch a fish so quick. The next 30 minutes were slow and without any action, except for the strong wind, rain, and clouds. So much for a perfect weather report.

I repositioned, so the wind would be at my back. Now I could drift my bait properly and finish my trout dinner shopping. A couple of the 5 fish, creel limit, were Palominos, or Golden Trout! They are fun to catch, beautiful, and taste great too.opening-day-2-2015

Once home, I quickly fileted the trout for dinner. A simple coating of dry Pancake Mix, seasoned with Old Bay seasoning was applied. The lightly coated filets rested on a plate, while I made my tartar sauce. I found that this dry coating is simple, healthy, and tasty. Eggs, milk, and a double Beer Batter coating, are not always needed.

A quick fry, and drain, on some paper towels finished the trout platter. Allow the filets to turn golden brown in a hot, healthy oil. This only takes a few minutes.

What is a fish fry without some Mac and Cheese? You can certainly go with a box, but homemade is simple and quick. Boil your elbow macaroni and drain. Add real cheeses to the bowl, along with some more Old Bay seasoning, and a shot of milk, butter, and parsley. Stir it up, and you are ready to go.

Fish sandwiches, or tacos, are also great, but sometimes a plateful of filets, some Mac n Cheese, and a pickle is the best!

My Trout Dinner was finally ready! The sweet filets were cooked perfect. My taste for fresh fish was being met with every bite. There were no leftovers, and the hunger pangs had subsided. Now there was just one problem.

I need to go fishing again, real soon!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

PAY IT FORWARD!!!

ava-and-shadOur feelings, when hunting and fishing, are special. They will not be enjoyed, unless you get out of your Fat Boy Chair, and venture outdoors. Sure, it may be windy, cold, rainy, and did I say cold? Thank goodness for the great clothing and gear available to make our outdoor experiences better and more comfortable.

The greatest hunters and fishermen, that I know, do something important. They SHARE their harvest! Some successful sportsmen become secretive, greedy, and selective about sharing their sport. Secret Spots and selfish behavior may insure that they have some privacy, but why? If you catch a big fish or shoot the Big Buck alone, what is the point?

Sharing your harvest with others is easy. Recently I shared some trout with my Dentist, and a surf and turf, of venison and striper filets, with a friend. Hunters and fishermen were once very important to the community. Not everyone has the energy, skill, or knowledge to put dinner on the plate. If your freezer is full and you are not sharing, then you are “hoarding”! You also may be breaking the possession limits, if you have more than 2 limits in the freezer, or unregistered and untagged critters.

We evolve as sportsmen. Our first instincts may be selfish, but real sportsmen also enjoy sharing their tips, tricks, and techniques. Catching a fish or critter is the first step. Then we want to catch a pile of them. Next, we target a “big one” or specific critter or fish. Finally, our joy comes from showing others how to become sportsmen.jeffs-kids

Teaching others how to fish and hunt is the greatest trophy of all. If you think you are the best sportsman, teach others how to be like you. Not only are you sharing a wonderful gift, you are challenging yourself to become a better person and mentor. At some point, your students will share with you, and Pay It Forward, and backwards. The other good news, is that you will share the company, and special moments with others. Our natural resources are important to all of us. The more voters/sportsmen, who appreciate and understand this, the more hunting and fishing opportunities we will have in the future.

Sportsmen will forget what you said, Sportsmen will forget what you did, but Sportsmen will never forget how you made them feel!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his blog at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

KNOT SEEING !!!

knot-seeing-imageEyes and age do not go together well! As we age, tying fishing knots becomes a challenge. Whether it is an astigmatism, glaucoma, or just plain “old man’s eyes”, seeing the fine tippets, hook eyes, lures, and flies, just gets tougher.

 “Cheaters” or “bifocals” will solve many of our seeing issues. Wearing them just doesn’t go well with our cool hats, manly or womanly look, or our place in the younger fishing crowds. Our egos prevent us from some simple solutions.

Get over it! If you want to catch fish, you must be able to see and tie a decent knot. There are two primary knots to know. The “Clinch knot” and the “Blood knot” will serve most of your needs for monofilament. Other types of specialized lines require more specific knots for that product.

A “Clinch knot” is the standard connection for fishing line to a hook or lure. An “Improved Clinch knot” adds one more pass through of the line to add strength. The “Blood knot” is for a line to line end connection. It serves fly fishermen well when they use tippets and droppers.

To tie a proper knot, you need to see well enough to thread a fine clear line through a hook eye or gap in the knot. The rest of the tying process can be instinctive. Practice tying the knots with larger line, cord or yarn. Train your mind to see the knot so you completely understand how it works.

Here are some tying tips! Use line clippers instead of your teeth when cutting fishing line. Teeth smash and break the line leaving a wide and rough end. This gnarly end becomes bigger and more difficult to thread through a hook eye. Sharp clippers will make a clean snip that keeps the line end perfectly round and much easier to thread.

Watch a video on how to tie a knot. Goggle “How to tie fishing knots.”, and you will be amazed at how many sites offer great instructions.

Spit helps! A bit of moisture allows you to control the line as you wrap and manipulate it. Wetting the knot before you snatch it tight is also important. Heat, from friction, will weaken the knot. The moisture reduces friction and keeps the knot as strong as possible.

The knot is the weakest part of your fishing line. In line knots, nicks, and abrasions will also weaken the line strength. Routine inspection and maintenance are essential. Many fishermen lose the “big one” because of these preventable problems.

Practice will help you to save time. The more time you waste tying a knot, the less fish you will catch. It is amazing to watch ‘Knot Challenged” fishermen waste so much fishing time. Add some wind, rain, or cold, and tying knots can become even more difficult. Pre -rigging or prepping your knots ahead of time saves time. Using multiple hooked rigs can be made at home and neatly coiled on a small card and inserted into a small plastic bag. Now you need only tie one knot to attach a new rig.

Tie one on quickly and properly!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

May the FOREST be With You!!!

forests-1Outside time is the best! Why people today spend so much time indoors is beyond me. The smell, sounds, and feel of a forest is just special. A unique power radiates from everything surrounding you amongst the trees and outdoor places.

Forests feel like home. Many of us have spent some of our best and worst moments in the forest. It does not matter if you are a hunter, fisherman, photographer, hiker, camper, or even a tree-hugger, forests stimulate your senses.

 Forests are a sanctuary where we go when we feel upset. Siting along a stream or overlook helps us to sort things out. The noises, crowdedness, and complexity of life becomes simplified in a forest. The moving water is smooth and relaxing. Wind moving the leaves and grasses also carries away our anxiety. The critters and freedom of a forest excite us to just be entertained and rest our hearts and minds.

Forests are a place where we celebrate and share our happiness. I asked my wife to marry me at a rock outcropping called Chimney Rock. Some wine, cheese, and French bread in my backpack made her choice simple. Baptisms, weddings, picnics, jogging, biking, and traveling in natures places are also wonderful. Everyone can recall special moments that they have had in forests. Maybe something as simple as a campfire, sunrise, or trees and branches coated in snow.

Forests also provide us with food, medicine, shelter and inspiration that fuels our spirits and bodies. No matter what religion you believe, nature makes us understand in a divine power beyond humans. The forests are so diverse, beautiful, and amazing that we must believe in something. There must be an amazing Force that created something so awesome.

Hunting and fishing in our forests is a ritual pilgrimage. Sitting silently in a tree stand or still hunting through forests requires you to absorb every sensual observation possible. Sounds, smells, and slight movements take on enhanced meaning.

Forests are not without risks. There are critters and dangers lurking along every trail. That is true in all of life. Dealing with forest risks is way more manageable and fun. There is always something new to learn and explore.

Forests are not Free! Each year we need to buy a ticket for entry. These hunting, fishing, camping permits, passes, and licenses are like giving to the church. Management and maintenance are required to maintain and protect our natural resources.

Leave only a footprint and take only a selfie! It is important to keep our forests clean and healthy. Others need these sanctuary’s. No one wants to visit a trashy, abused, and ruined campsite. Healthy forests are a monument to the quality of all life. Leave your paths better than you found them.

Some folks are too cheap to pay for a license, fee, or pass, saying that they will only use it a few times and it is way too expensive. These same people can easily drink, eat, or part with way more money at bars, restaurants or other one use venues. Passes for our forests can be used and reused for 365 days a year. That is certainly affordable and a great entertainment.

“Go where no one has gone before”, and enjoy!

Montana Grant

For more Montana Grant, visit his website at www.montanagrantfishing.com.

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