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Looking for some fresh sportfish recipes... heading to FL

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    Looking for some fresh sportfish recipes... heading to FL

    So I'm heading to Fort Lauderdale for 2 days of offshore fishing. Leaving Thursday (Oct 28th) and have a 4-hour trip scheduled for Friday, and a 6-hour trip scheduled for Saturday.

    Now... I'm not a fish guy. I don't really care for fish. I can eat Long John Silver's batter dipped and deep fried whitefish about twice a year - if I've got plenty of ketchup.

    I've tried fish, trust me. I have tried it at chains, have eaten it fresh - my wife was born and raised in the Caribbean and I've spent lots of time in the Caribbean, including living there for over 2 years full-time. I've tried to like it. I've tried it lots of different ways, and even fish that aren't supposed to be "fishy" like sword - still, not my thing.


    I am paying a good amount of money for this trip, and my fishing buddy is Cajun and he loves fish. Our AirBnB house has a pool and a grill (I'm crossing my fingers on this one). So I'm willing to give it a shot. I will likely get some steaks or just some dogs & brats in case I don't like the fish we catch and cook up. I'll pack up some spices in my luggage to bring with me - garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, some Tony Chachere's, maybe cumin, chili powder, etc. We'll get oil, lemon and such when we're there.

    But I'd like to give it a shot, and I'm sure my friend will eat his weight in fresh caught ocean fish.

    So I'd like some recipes ya'll have tried specifically, especially on game fish if you've caught them yourself and grilled them up that night.

    We're going to be sport fishing, not so much bottom fishing, I don't believe, but if you've got some recipes for some, they might come in handy - we may do several types of fishing, depending on what conditions are like.

    Sport fishing species likely:

    mahi mahi
    tuna (blackfin and skipjack are reportedly hitting right now)
    barracuda (not edible, I think)
    king mackerel
    bonito (stronger fishy flavor, from what I've read?)

    bottom fishing species:
    snapper - vermillion or red?

    So some simple and delicious recipes for fish we might catch would be helpful, if you've got some. Again, I can't promise to like them - as I've seldom met a fish dish I cared for, but I'm trying to be open minded. I'll likely grab some skrimps and steaks, as well, so no matter what, I'll probably be eating good this weekend.

    So what do you think?

    My brother has a fishing & charter service, usually just grills everything. Wahoo, Tuna, and Dolphin (mahi-mahi) is what he and his customers usually catch in that area. For fresh caught salt water fish I've always been a huge fan of light salt and pepper and nothing else as well.

    Obviously you have this trip booked, but in the future it wouldn't hurt my feelings if you considered him. He has boats for wakeboarding and also teaches kite boarding.

    New Wave Kiteboarding (Jupiter) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor


    • Bkhuna
      Bkhuna commented
      Editing a comment
      glitchy - Dolphinfish is correct. That's what the International Game Fish Association calls it. Depending where you live Dorado is the common name of choice. When talking to native Floridian fishermen it's either Dolphin or Dorado. Growing up fishing in the 60's, nobody called it mahi-mahi. Mahi has caught on in the last few decades because American restaurants just love rebranding things so they can charge more.

      Mahi-mahi was Pat Morita's character in Honeymoon in Vegas.

    • DogFaced PonySoldier
      DogFaced PonySoldier commented
      Editing a comment
      Exactly, it's gotten confused over the years. Mahi mahi sounds Hawaiian to me, so it wouldn't surprise me if that got adopted as a more "exotic" sounding name for it.

    • Murdy
      Murdy commented
      Editing a comment
      In this case, I think the renaming was to avoid confusion with the mammal, as most casual diners who do not fish in the ocean wouldn't immediately make the distinction.

    Have a good trip, Leaving myself January 1st till March 31st. Ask your wife. If she grew up in the Caribbean. She may have some old family tricks up her sleeve, on how best to prepare your catch. Don't forget to use sun screen. The sun will get ya down there. Tight lines.


      I would be surprised with those shorter trips you can get out far enough for tuna. If they have some reefs set up you might get some grouper or tripletail snapper. A little late for AJ's but if they have reefs in close it may be doable. Red snapper is not in season. Kings are extremely oily but not too bad if soaked in buttermilk and smoked for about 90 minutes. Bonita is used for bait. Mahi would be good and can be a lot of fun if you hit a school (don't know if there are any grass lines where the mahi's like to hide), if so keep one in the water so the others stick around. I hear they are still hitting Permit and Triggerfish which both would be good. Good luck and have fun.


      • DogFaced PonySoldier
        DogFaced PonySoldier commented
        Editing a comment
        I've read in the fishing reports that mahi are plentiful and large late this season, and the grass lines and debris are where they are hitting heavy. I expect IF we get to go out, and IF we have a good day, from the sound of things, it's going to be more mahi mahi than anything. Which is fine.

      I’m pretty much like you in that I don’t like most fish. However, I really love a nice piece of fresh grilled grouper, tuna, or red snapper. Weird, right? Lightly grilled in butter and garlic is how I like it, and blackened is good too.

      Enjoy your trip and bring back some pics!


        First, I love fish. But to each his own.
        Second, watch out for the Three Hour Tour. Gilligan wished he had stayed on shore. 😉


          You can’t go wrong with olive oil, soy sauce, lemon juice, onions, aluminum foil and a good Blackened Seasoning. Any combination of those will work on most anything.


            I’m not a huge seafood lover either. I like a few white flaky fish -generally deep fried- as well as crab and shrimp…that’s about all the seafood I’ll touch. I would offer two suggestions to try. Oakridge BBQ Jah Love Jamaican Jerk Seasoning on something like mahi-mahi or malt vinegar if you’ve never tried that. Long John Silver’s would be high on my list for eating fish.

            Also, from my experience in freshwater fishing (so might not apply to offshore), eating smaller fish usually tastes better than bigger as in closer to minimum size limit for the species. For example I’ll eat fried northern pike from a 4 pounder anytime, but get to 8-10 and I’ll probably pass.


              Originally posted by ItsAllGoneToTheDogs View Post
              My brother has a fishing & charter service, usually just grills everything. Wahoo, Tuna, and Dolphin (mahi-mahi) is what he and his customers usually catch in that area. For fresh caught salt water fish I've always been a huge fan of light salt and pepper and nothing else as well.

              Obviously you have this trip booked, but in the future it wouldn't hurt my feelings if you considered him. He has boats for wakeboarding and also teaches kite boarding.

              New Wave Kiteboarding (Jupiter) - 2021 All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos) - Tripadvisor
              Well that's too bad. I posted back a couple of months ago that I was looking for suggestions on charters. He's a bit north of where we're coming in, about an hour and a half north of the airport, but no big deal. We're actually not sure our fishing trips are going to pan out at this point - weather looks a bit rough, the captain has messaged me and says if this weather report hold, it will be far too rough for us to be out in - 15-20 knot winds, 30 knot gusts and 3-5 and even 6 foot waves in the Gulf stream.

              It will be a bummer if we don't get to fish, I guess we'll sit around the pool and maybe cruise the restaurant scene in the evenings.

              Not even summertime, so looking for beach scenery is probably out, too.


              • Draznnl
                Draznnl commented
                Editing a comment
                "Not even summertime, so looking for beach scenery is probably out, too."

                Supposed to be high 80's Friday and mid 80's Saturday. Assuming no rain, sounds like beach weather. Enjoy!

              • DogFaced PonySoldier
                DogFaced PonySoldier commented
                Editing a comment
                Well, the kind of "scenery" I was talking about is mobile and probably won't be on display in large amounts in late October. We might catch a few glimpses, though...

              I highly recommend a pineapple-based salsa for most of the fish you identified. Basically, it is cut-up pineapple (diced, hopefully fresh and juicy), with some red onion, red/green pepper, some lime juice and some jalapenos (prepped for the heat level you want). Mix all those and refrigerate for awhile so the flavors meld. Tuna, Dorado, swordfish, shark - very tropical/Hawaiian, easy to make.

              Here's one from Allrecipes, but feel free to modify/embellish to your tastes! Fresh Pineapple Salsa Recipe | Allrecipes


                I love to fish and eat my catch. In my opinion fresh fish is best Naked just olive oil salt and pepper on the grill squirt with lemon or lime. That said SPG is good, butter, garlic and lemon is good. I don't like heavy sauce on fish.

                From your list:

                wahoo - Awesome eating fish.
                mahi mahi - My favorite
                cobia - Never had it but supposed to be good
                tuna (blackfin and skipjack are reportedly hitting right now) - Tuna is generally great bluefin and yellowfin the best
                barracuda (not edible, I think) - DO NOT EAT - you can get ciguatera poisoning (locals feed it to chickens and ants - if they eat it it is considered safe - I don't trust chickens!)
                king mackerel - fihsy oily not good
                bonito (stronger fishy flavor, from what I've read?) - correct fish/oily fish

                bottom fishing species: All good to eat
                snapper - vermillion or red?


                  When I lived in Colorado, fly-fishing for trout was my favorite hobby. We would just gut them, cook them in a pan with butter, S&P, splash of white wine, and lemon juice. Should work well with pieces of any salt-water fish also.

                  Have fun!!


                  • Murdy
                    Murdy commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I grew up from a trout stream in northern Wisconsin. Gut them and fry them--sounds about right. My grandmother would come unglued if someone cut the heads off. She claimed there was some gland in there that released oils when the fish was cooked. Don't know if that's true, but she cooked up some good trout.

                  • Clark
                    Clark commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Murdy Grandmas always seem to be the best cooks. I would leave the heads on if I was camping without my wife, but she always wanted heads off.


                  We got to go out for not quite 4 hours on Friday. Only got one thing on the line, it was something big, dunno what, though. After me and my buddy switching off fighting it for 35 minutes it broke the line. Captain said the way it fought and acted - staying deep, running for a wreck (he thought for a while it was caught up in a wreck), he figured it was a decent sized shark or a large grouper.

                  But, we never got it in the boat, closest we got was about 30 feet, then it ran deep again (he said when they come through the thermocline layer, sharks will do that, too). Eventually when we got it back up to around 50 feet or so, it popped the line, he felt like it was a shark that did a tail slap and the rough skin breaks the line. <sigh>

                  Oh well.

                  So we did another drop and drag off the reef after that, but the swell was coming in from a Nor'easter up the coast a few days before and he wanted to get back into the inlet before it got bad.

                  The swell continued to build through the day and yesterday evening he texted me and canceled today's trip, would be too dangerous getting in and out of the inlet, and the swells out in the deeper parts would make it very unstable on the smallish boat (33 footer).

                  So, I've been out 4 or 5 times ocean fishing now and struck out. On my very first trip, I caught a largish (3.5 ft?) barracuda, that's it. Never gotten anything else in the boat.

                  I guess fishing out here in the blue ain't for me. <sigh> It's an expensive thing to attempt multiple times and you get more and more discouraged each time. Especially when your entire trip is planned around coming in just for fishing.

                  It's been a good guys' trip, though, my buddy and I have caught up a lot, and turns out he's moving to Ft Walton Beach in Jan or Feb, so I'll have a good place to come visit and stay, do some more fishing, too, though from my previous research it's much different fish in that area. And I dunno if I'll plan to spend that kind of money again, at least not unless several others go to split the cost.

                  We've got a 5- or 6-person group we can get together in the spring if we plan enough ahead to do just that. So maybe I'll give that a shot. Would be nice to hang out with the guys from school again for a few days.


                    Man sorry to hear. Was hoping for some fish stories. Well you now have several ways to cook them next time.



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