Peter and Maxine's Fishing Page

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My wife Maxine and I love fishing. In a switch from the usual, it was she who turned me onto fishing over 15 years ago when we first got together. Follow the links below for accounts and pictures of some of our fishing adventures.

The New Boat!

Grouper

Offshore fishing

Tuna Madness

Kingfish!

Flats, River, and Reef Fishing in Belize

Lake Trout in Canada

Billfishing in Costa Rica

 

Fishing the Surf in North Carolina 

False Albacore at Harker's Island

Trout and Salmon in Ontario

Fly Fishing School in the Florida Keys

A Lesson with Lefty

Recipes

 


Grouper

This is our first grouper. We caught it with a Shimano butterfly jig near the Little Ten off Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. It is a black grouper we are pretty sure, although some books show the gag grouper looking quite similar. Exceptionally tasty!

Grouper


Kingfish!

Kingfish, aka king mackerel, are a real favorite among offshore anglers. They are aggressive, strong, and fast, and can grow to 30 lb and more (although the large ones are pretty rare). What's more, they taste good (although there have been some warnings of high mercury levels in the larger ones). When a king takes your bait you know it - your drag will really scream! Here are some kings that we caught trolling cigar minnows. Our biggest so far is just about 20 lbs.

Mackerel
King mackerel

 

It's not uncommon to catch these toothy darlings while trolling for kings. Needlefish live near the surface and can put up a decent fight. Sometimes they will "tailwalk" which is quite a sight. They are quite tasty, too, with a firm white flesh that takes well to frying and other cooking methods. Just keep your fingers out of its mouth!

Billfishing in Costa Rica

When our son Ben graduated high school in 1996, we let him choose from several overseas trips for a graduation present. Being a really good son, he chose a fishing trip! We decided to head for Costa Rica for a few days of billfishing in the Pacific, a new experience for Maxine and me as well as for Ben. We fished out of Quepos on a boat called Mad Dog, and had a great time, bringing in numerous sailfish and one marlin. The most exciting time was when Ben and I hooked sailfish at the same time, and the two fish decided to go in opposite directions. The captain decided to go after Ben's fish first, and by the time he had landed and released his sail I was down to about a dozen turns of line on my reel! We also had the best boat food we have ever tasted. The mate would bring homemade rice, beans, chicken, and other goodies and heat them up on the engine, with local pineapples for dessert. By the way, Maxine did catch some fish, but we were not able to get a picture.

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 1 Here's Ben (holding the rod) with one of the several sails that he caught.
fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 2 This is me, with a real happy grin!

Trout and Salmon in Ontario

Maxine's parents, both in their 80's, live in Canada and are nuts about fishing. When we visit them during the Fall, we all go rainbow trout fishing on the Nottawasega River, which runs into Georgian Bay (part of Lake Huron).

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 3

Rainbow trout (AKA steelhead) are the main attraction. They put up a terrific fight and because you use light tackle it can be a challenge to bring them in. They are beautiful fish and it is their bad luck to be delicious too.

 

 

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 4

It's a lovely spot to fish. Sometimes you'll see a beaver or otter swim by, and there are usually some ducks to keep you company.

 

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 5

Occasionally you'll hook into a salmon while fishing for rainbows. After a long fight, Maxine landed this 20+ pounder using 8 pound line - quite an accomplishment. 

Fishing the Surf in North Carolina 

Perhaps our favorite place to go fishing is the Outer Banks on the coast of North Carolina. The Banks are fairly close, and in addition to great fishing they provide lots of other attractions. Fortunately the best fishing is in the off-season when the place is not overrun with thousands of screaming kids and other summer vacationers. You can rent a cottage for a reasonable price and enjoy what may well be the world's best surf fishing.

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 6 The most popular place to fish on the Outer Banks is Cape Point, located near the famous Cape Hatteras Lighthouse.  

 

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 7

Bluefish are great fun to catch. Sometimes all you'll get is the little 1 pound "snappers," but once in a while the bigger fish come near shore and will try to eat anything that moves. If you are lucky you will experience a "bluefish blitz" where a school of blues drives a school of baitfish to the shore where many of them leap onto the sand to avoid being eaten.  We throw most bluefish back but keep one now and then to smoke. Dee-lish!

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 8

Striped bass are recovering very nicely after almost being wiped out by commercial fishing. This 25 pounder dragged Maxine 100 yards down the beach before she managed to land it!

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 9

Puppy drum - small red drum - are a prized but fairly uncommon (at least for us) catch along the Outer Banks. They put up a pretty good fight and are one of  the best tasting fish I have ever cooked! 

False Albacore at Harker's Island

If there's anything more exciting than hooking a false albacore on a fly rod, I have yet to experience it. When an albie gets hold of your fly it streaks off at the most amazing rate of speed, and does not stop until it is good and ready! I know that bonefish are famed for their fast, long runs, but in my experience they must take 2nd place to albies. We learned the hard way to keep our knuckles away from the reel handle during a run - ouch! 

fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 10 One of the "silver rockets" that Maxine pulled in.
fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 11 Here I am with the first albie I caught on this trip

Fly Fishing School in the Florida Keys

When Maxine and I got interested in fly fishing a couple of years ago, we decided to do it right and go to a top-quality school to learn the techniques. We decided on the Florida Keys Fly Fishing School on Islamorada in the Florida Keys. We chose well - the school was absolutely marvelous and one of the best fishing experiences of our lives. We had two days of classes and individualized casting instruction followed by two days of guided fishing in the keys and Everglades. I learned casting from Flip Pallot, which was a real treat for me because I have always enjoyed his TV shows. I think I gave him a few gray hairs but his lessons have stayed with me ever since. Our two days of fishing were only moderately successful, mainly because our casting skills still left a lot to be desired. Still, I brought in a 40 lb tarpon and Maxine had a nice fight with a larger one that broke off before we could bring it to the boat. Someday we will be going back!

fly fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 12

The gang at the Florida Keys Fly Fishing School. The students are in the back row; I am in the middle with sunglasses and no hat, with Maxine to my left. The instructors in the front row are, left to right, Chico Fernandez, Flip Pallot, Steve Rajeff, Sandy Moret, and Rick Ruoff.

 

fly fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 14

Fishing aside, the Keys are a very beautiful part of the world. This shot was taken early one morning just after we left Islamorada to head for the Everglades.

A Lesson with Lefty

fly fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 15

At a recent fly fishing expo, the master Lefty Kreh was giving a casting demonstration and Maxine was lucky to be chosen from the audience for a brief lesson. Lefty makes it look so easy!

Lake Trout in Canada

fly fishing trout billfish albacore surf salmon 17

In 2004 we went on a fishing vacation to Manitou Lake in Canada. This is the largest lake on Manitoulin Island which is itself the largest freshwater island in the world (it is in Lake Huron). Deep, cold, and clear - so different from southern lakes. On our first day I pulled in this 30 inch 15 pound lake trout. Yes I was very happy! I used really exotic tackle: a 1 ounce sinker and a worm on a hook. Lake trout are not actually trout but are members of the char family - still tasty, though. Unfortunately, in most of the Great Lakes they are greatly reduced due to overfishing and the lamprey infestation.

Fishing in Belize

fly fishing Belize snook bonefish tarpon

As many fishermen have discovered, there is something very appealing and almost hypnotic about moving slowly over the flats looking for fish.

fly fishing Belize snook bonefish tarpon 1

The catch of the week - our one snook. Maxine coaxed it out from under a mangrove to take the fly then had a hell of a fight to keep it from disappearing back into the roots. One of the tastiest fish ever!

fly fishing Belize snook bonefish tarpon 2

My very first bonefish - what a thrill! I caught several more on the trip, up to 7-8 pounds. I also lost a few and scared many more away with bad casts.

fly fishing Belize snook bonefish tarpon 3

One of Maxine's several bones.

fly fishing Belize snook bonefish tarpon 4

One afternoon we went out to the reef and trolled for barracuda. This is one of the smaller ones we brought in. They are great fighters and some of them jump 6-8 feet out of the water. Because there is no problem with ciguatoxin in Belize the 'cuda are perfectly safe to eat - and delicious!

fly fishing Belize snook bonefish tarpon 5

Here's one of my 'cudas.
fly fishing Belize snook bonefish tarpon 6 One day we went up the Belize river and fished for snook and tarpon. It was a very different experience from fishing on the flats, with overhanging trees containing curious howler monkeys looking down at you. The tarpon upriver are not huge but they still fight and jump as only a tarpon can.

 

 

Offshore Fishing

Since getting our boat we have been venturing further offshore. One of our favorite targets is dolphin or mahi-mahi. They put up a good fight, jump, and taste great. This is one of the bigger ones we have caught.

 

We were trolling and a fish - it turned out to be a false albacore - took the bait. After a long run I started reeling in when there was a sudden TUG and no more action from the fish. I pulled in the front one-third of the fish with a beautiful semicircular bite. We figure it was a barracuda.
We were drift fishing on some ledges about 20 miles off Atlantic Beach, NC, using live menhaden on knocker rigs. We were getting tired of pulling in sharks and undersized black sea bass, and I was just about to call it a day. "One last try," I said. This 18 lb amberjack took the bait and gave me one hell of a fight! I can't image how hard it would be to haul in a 50 or 100 lb one! Amberjack

Recipes

Here are a few recipes I like to use for the fish we catch.

Fishcakes #1

This works well with mackerel and bluefish, probably with other kinds of more flavorful fish as well.

Fish fillets
1/2c dry breadcrumbs
1/3c mayonaisse
1/3c chopped onion
1 egg
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning
Salt and pepper to taste

Put the raw fish thru a grinder or chop it finely with a knife. Do not use a food processor. You want about 2c. Mix with other ingredients and form into four 1/2 inch thick patties. Let sit in fridge for at least an hour to firm up, then pan fry in 1/8 inch oil until cooked thru and browned on both sides.

Fishcakes #2

Also good with bluefish or mackerel, this has an oriental flavor to it.

2c finely chopped or ground raw fish
1 tsp finely minced raw ginger
1/4c finely chopped scallion or onion
1/2c dry breadcrumbs
1 large egg
2 tsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp white pepper (or use black pepper)

Mix all ingredients and form into four 1/2 inch thick patties. Let sit in fridge for at least an hour to firm up, then pan fry in 1/8 inch oil until cooked thru and browned on both sides.

Smoked Mackerel

Boy this is good! Freezes well, too.

Mackerel fillets, skin removed, from 1/2 to 1-1/2 " thick.

Dissolve 1/2c table salt and 1/4c sugar in 1 quart cold water. Soak fillets in this, in the fridge, for 1-1/2 hours. Rinse and set fillets on a rack on a cookie sheet so that each one has good air circulation all around. Set in fridge for 4-6 hours until the surface is shiny and tacky. Place in the smoker with the nicer-looking side up. Smoke at 220-240 degrees for 2-1/2 hours.


Travel resources:

Fishing travel guide

Fishing in Ocean City

Getting to Ocean City fishing areas

Ocean City hotel

Fishing and other recreation