Sand Trout

  By Bob Jamison         

“Take a kid fishing”, could never have more meaning than getting into real action in our bays. Especially in the fall such as October and November with the Sand Trout, Silver Sea Trout, and sometimes called Old Yellow Mouth, are here for fast and dependable action.

A real pro East Galveston Bay is a pro in Liberty, Texas. He is none other than former banker and entrepreneur Clarence Martin and his assistant Cris Markendale. They know the ropes of bay fishing and Martin knows how to put the front end of his pontoon boat amongst the tremendous schools of these delightful fighters. We understand that the only person to excel in such angling skill is his wife.

But the fun doesn’t stop while you are anchored on a shell reef. After the filleting job is done, the next stop is the kitchen. While some folks fishing might be expecting to catch a Speckled Sea Trout (Specks) as their prize or the tasty run-a-muck on your line such as a respectable Red Drum (Red Fish), they will toss the Sand Trout back into the bay. True, the delicate meat of the Sand Trout might not be quite as firm as a Speck, but properly handled and cooked quite fresh might tickle the most discriminate taste buds in due form.

The first trick for any fish is to have plenty of ice on hand in a properly insulated ice chest. No matter how fast they might be biting, never toss them on the deck and let them die in the sun. Lift the lid of the box and drop them on ice. Adding a little salt to the ice will make it even colder some say. Also, often times experts even cover the fish and salted ice with sea water for the trip home.

Quick work with an electric filet knife makes cleaning simple. It is fast and easy. Then wash the filets completely and make ready for the cooker or freezer. The very best bet would be the cooker because most believe that frozen Sand Trout over a period of time might not treat the tender white meat well. Vacuum sealing helps but don’t count on it for a long period.

Whatever is your plan for dining, you can prepare the filets in several different ways. Of course, the usual frying procedure in deep and very hot vegetable oil for the filets seasoned and battered with yellow corn meal is excellent. Quick frying (when the filets begin to float) and eaten hot might surprise the most skeptical finicky eater. Also, they can be enjoyed after over night in the refrigerator and eaten cold.

Another popular method is in a hot frying pan with a little butter or oil (preferably olive oil) hot but not burned, and sear the seasoned filets on each side for only a short period. The seasoning is another optional chef’s direction. Salt, pepper and a small smattering of flour is the basic. A spice seasoning such as fajita seasoning mix, old bay seasoning, Louisana hot sauce and the versatile Tony Chachere seasoning adds zest the fish. A sauvignon blanc wine doesn’t hurt a thing.

Finally, a time tested and healthful suggestion would be baking the fish for maybe about twenty minutes. Spray the baking pan or pot with Pam or like no-stick preparation and place the filets in the vessel with the meat that was next to the bone facing up. Lightly season the filets with salt and pepper.

Another option in baking would be to very lightly season with a seasoning mix. But don’t overdo this as it can overpower the delicate taste. Add a few squares of butter or butter substitute, a few slivers of onion and a third cup of white wine. It is a very good way for any filets, in my opinion.

What ever is your desire, fish for dinner, sport and entertainment or watching the great smiles on a youngster’s face, don’t forget the dandy Sandys. There are plenty of them and there is currently no limit to the number or size you catch. Cut bait, shrimp or artificial baits can work but cut bait seems best. Check with the game laws in your area first to be sure.

Taking a kid fishing is the rule to follow, but don’t forget us older kids!