Hunting is a time-honored tradition here in Texas, as well as in most parts of our country and the world. It’s a way for a boy to become a man and to earn the respect of his elders. With any long-standing past-time, traditions are made. Like in baseball, the tradition of throwing out the first pitch or “God Bless America” in the 7th inning stretch. Hunting traditions are no different…
Although fishing (especially redfishing) is a huge love of mine and I live in South Louisiana where there is water at every turn, I don’t get to go as often as I’d like to since my dad sold his boat a couple of years back. So when I got an invite for a quick early morning saltwater trip, I was more than thrilled.
With no sleep, we headed down the bayou and made it out to the launch just in time for daybreak. It was a lovely, although windy, morning in Pointe Aux Chene. We fished in a few known areas, areas that we saw sea gulls diving for bait, and even site fished some reds in secluded ponds mostly using live minnow under a cork.
After spending a few hours on the water, we finished up the morning with a nice haul of both redfish and speckled trout and a slight sunburn.
Of course, because I love to experiment with cooking what I catch / hunt just as much as the actual act of catching / hunting it, I couldn’t wait to cook up some of the reds. So after some brainstorming and a quick trip to the grocery store, the experimentation began. I decided to cook redfish “on the half shell” with a shrimp cream sauce with a side of grilled veggeis. I have to say, it is one of my new favorites.
What is redfish on the half shell you ask? It is what I call a filet of redfish with the skin and scales left on. Perfect for grilling!
- Redfish filets with the skin (and preferably scales) left on
- 1lb of peeled, de-headed shrimp
- 1 cup of fat free half and half
- 1 cup of part skim mozzarella cheese shredded
- 1/2 stick of butter
- Minced garlic
- Veggies of your choice for grilling (I used squash, zuchinni, cherry tomatoes, asparagus, and red onions)
- 1/3 cup White wine
- Seasonings: lemon juice, garlic powder, “blackening seasonings” ( I recommend Chef Prudhommes), Tony Chachere’s, cracked black pepper, cayenne, and salt
You will also need foil and a veggie grill basket (or do what I did and use a disposable aluminum pan and punch holes in the bottom).
Prepping the Food for the Grill:
- Place the each redfish on foil (should be about 5 inches longer than the fish) and sprinkle garlic powder, blackening seasoning, a little tonys, and a few squirts of lemon juice. Place on top, 2 to 3 thin slices of butter and fold foil over the top of the fish making a steamer bag.
- Chop the veggies of choice into large chunks and toss in about a tablespoon of melted butter, black pepper, garlic powder, and about a tsp of lemon juice.
- Grill veggies until tender (larger veggies can go directly on the grill, but i recommend the grill basket for everything else).
- Place the fish on either low or indirect heat and cook until almost done. (should be almost to the point where it is flaky) Cooking time depends on size of filet.
- For the last few minutes of cooking, open up the foil and allow it to finish cooking on a high heat to get all the flavors from the pit integrated into the meat. When done, the meat of the fish should be flaky yet moist.
Shrimp and Cream Sauce:
- Season the shrimp with minced garlic, garlic powder, blackening seasoning, Tony’s, cayenne, black pepper, and seer in a hot pan. Once a good sear is achieved, add wine and continue to simmer until shrimp are fully cooked. Once shrimp are cooked, remove pan from heat and allow to cool.
- After the pan and shrimp have cooled, return to a low heat and add the half & half and cheese then simmer on an low heat for about 15 minutes. Be sure this does not bubble because that will cause the cream to curdle. Over this 15 minute span, slowly add the shredded mozzarella. Season to taste.
- Cornstarch may be needed to thicken the sauce to the desired texture (Remember to mix it well with cold water prior to adding it to the sauce to prevent clumping)
- Pour sauce and shrimp over the finished redfish and VOILA dinner is served!
2) Tangle free line
3) Easy to mix & match (especially at 3am in the dark)
4) Easily stored away
5) Simple and cheap to rig up
The only drawback in my opinion is that it seems to chip off the paint a little quicker than a traditional decoy bag. To me convenience and speed outweighs a little decoy paint when you’re cold, wet, and in the dark. Ha!
• 400# monofilament line (24 feet)
• 6- 4oz Mushroom weights (egg weights work too)
• 12 Aluminum crimp sleeves
• Crimping pliers
• Sharp knife
1) First, cut your line into sections. Mine are any where from 32 inches to 48 inches. Most the water I hunt is not more then 2 feet deep if that so I don’t typically need anymore than that. Use your judgement.
2) Second, run the line through the weight, make a loop and with a crimp sleeve. Trim the extra end of the line off COMPLETELY. If you don’t these tags can catch on the other decoy lines and be a pain in the butt.
3) Next on the other end of the line run it through the hole in the keel of your decoy. If there isn’t one use a 1/4 inch drill bit and make one. After the line is run put a crimp sleeve on the end of the line and form an overhand knot making about a 2-3″ wide loop. Then you continue to pass the open end of the line thru the loop 2-3 more times until you make it back around to the crimp sleeve. The open end then goes into the crimp sleeve and is crimped shut. Again, take off any extra line to prevent getting hung up.
4) Then you clip all the loops together, I use carabiners. Usually buy a neon green or blaze orange one so they are easily found if dropped. They also clip on to the D rings on your waders. I typically put 1 dozen decoys per carabiner.
When hauling them in the field I usually tie an over hand knot in the middle of the line to keep them tight together. When storing them let them hang freely to prevent any kinks in the line.
I don’t know about anyone else but I need to keep my hands and mind busy during the off season. You know what they say about idle hands… Rigging up and repainting decoys is a great way to stay in tune with this sport I love so much. So this summer when I am laying on the beach, sand between my toes, cold drink in my hand, and that salty sea air hits my nose, I won’t be worried about the sunburn I’m certainly getting… I will be picturing a group of redheads dumping into my decoy spread!
“Keep your powder dry, and your blades sharp.”
David Frisbie – Tightlines and Big Tines
It was a pitch black night on theAlaska Peninsula when the tired hunters stumbled into the cabin. Packs heavy with meat and antlers hung from their weary bodies. After another long day in the field, there were trophies and stories to attest to the elation each hunter felt in their success. By age five I knew I wanted to be that hunter who comes through the door, tired to the bone but happy because at the end of the day I have hunted.
In my early years, my brother and I contented our hunting drive by chasing ptarmigan barefooted, over the tundra, flinging arrows. They cunningly dodged our arrows until at the age of six I learned to shoot for the heads and we began bringing home dinner. It wasn’t long before our mother put a two-a-day limit on our hunts and we were only allowed to hunt birds once off our 40 acre homestead.
My father’s rule for hunting caribou was that we reach the height of our five foot mother’s shoulder and prove competent with whatever gun we chose. Despite many attempts to stretch myself, I had to wait until age nine before I could take my first caribou. It was a beautiful bull from one of the winter herds that moved through our secluded valley. This was the first time I was filled with such a vast amount of pride in providing for my family, a real sense of self and such intense despair at having taken an animal’s life. All hunts to this day have paled in comparison.
In my early teens, I started questioning my desire to hunt. Was it something I did only because it was ingrained in me from early on? I had hunted since childhood and at age eleven I was going into the field to learn the skills of a hunting guide. By sixteen though I had hunted enough to know I was hunting for my own reasons. I hunt because of the delight I feel in the wilderness, surrounded by the animals’ environment. It is the feeling of testing my limits; the emergence of some primitive self. I never feel as alive or trust in my instincts as much as I do when hunting. Nothing else gives me the sweep of emotions, from pure elation to the entwined sadness that follows. My father always said, “The day you quit feeling sad over a life you have taken is the day you quit hunting”. I came full circle and knew I would be a huntress for life when I found the quote by Jose Ortega Y Gasset, “One does not hunt in order to kill but kills in order to have hunted”.
By eighteen, I had earned my Alaskan guide license and pilot’s license because I had decided guiding was the life for me. I attended theUniversityofIdahofor the bird hunting and spent many hours chasing chukars, huns, pheasants and quails. Back inAlaskaI guided hunters on successful moose and brown bear hunts and made time to hunt caribou and bears in the interior as well as black tail deer on Kodiak for myself. I made a few trips toNew Zealandand hunted chamois and red deer.
My love of hunting and the outdoors inspired me to take a role in education. I become an instructor for Alaskan Hunters Education as well as an instructor and eventually director of Classroom with a View, a nonprofit outdoor education program based inAlaska. We take teenagers on backpacking courses where we teach ecology, conservation, appreciation for wilderness and leadership. As a guide I am able to educate and inspire young women in the field of hunting and find it most rewarding to guide female hunters. I had the honor of guiding the 2010 Dianna Award winner Charlotte Pyrek for brown bear but have equally enjoyed guiding novice female hunters as nothing beats the enthusiasm of a first time hunter.
Many of my dreams formed back at our remote homestead have been fulfilled by helping run the family guiding business, guiding hunters, working with youth, and hunting for myself and my family. When I have children I hope to teach them, as my father and mother taught me, to hunt, appreciate the land and animals for their own intrinsic value and to pass the tradition of hunting on. I hope my children have many dreams but above all I hope their dream will be to hunt.
Original Post Courtesy of The Prois Community – an inspiration