Archive for the 'Gulf Finfish' Category

Learn to Cook Fish that Everyone Enjoys

Monday, January 1st, 2018
Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

Preparing red snapper at Central Market Cooking School in Austin. Image: Bruce Biermann

This is Passport to Texas

If one of your resolutions for 2018 includes catching, cooking and eating more fish, we’re here to help.

Freshwater and saltwater fish and shellfish are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, something most of us lack in our Standard American Diet…the acronym for which is SAD.

In Texas, we have fishing opportunities statewide. But once you’ve caught them, then what? Some of us don’t have much experience preparing fish. So we steer clear.

However, this month’s Texas Parks and Wildlife cooking class collaboration with Central Market cooking schools, will help get you past this aversion. It’s a hands-on class that will have you preparing fish like a pro—with a citrus twist.

The menu for this class includes Fried Oyster Tacos with Citrus Salsa; Roasted Red Snapper with Citrus & Pistachios; & Blackened Redfish with Quick Cabbage & Lemon Butter. Happy New Year, right?

Classes are Tuesday, January 9 in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, San Antonio, Austin, Plano and Southlake. Historically, fish and seafood classes tend to fill fast.

Find registration information at [click on the links above to the school closest to you].

The Sport Fish Restoration Program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Fishing for Flounder

Tuesday, December 5th, 2017
A wily, tasty flat fish: flounder.

A wily, tasty flat fish: flounder.

This is Passport to Texas

Flounder’s flat shape and ability to blend with its surroundings, makes it nearly invisible and difficult to catch—unless you’re Brian Treadway…

I think I’ve got a hit. Fish on! Fish on! I give you the southern Flounder. They live to be about six years of age. The state record’s 13 pounds. So, a 20-inch flounder’s considered a trophy fish.

Treadway fishes for flounder in Chocolate bayou, which he says is ideal flounder habitat.

The edge of the shoreline is a prime example of what you want to fish. It’s not flat. It’s simply curvy, and lots of points. Lots of edges. Drains are coming out of the marsh. It’s just a prime example of great, great terrain for the flounder.

December 1st -14th, the daily bag limit is two flounder, taken by any legal means. The current minimum size for a keeper is 14 inches with no maximum.

Oh, shoot. I stepped on him.

When Coe Parker’s not stepping on flounder in Christmas Bay, he’s gigging them.

The tools you need for gigging are a good gig—two prong preferably. I have mine marked off with the legal size limit. You have an underwater gig light, as well as a 12-volt deer feeder battery. That’s pretty much all you need.

Gigging with the best of them. Tomorrow.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife, I’m Cecilia Nasti.

Less is More When Cooking Fresh Caught Fish

Tuesday, November 28th, 2017
Chef Cindy Haenel

Chef Cindy Haenel

This is Passport to Texas

You may be tired of eating those heavy, Thanksgiving leftovers by now. If that’s true, it’s easy to find a nearby fishing hole where you can reel in something light, fresh and delicious. Chef Cindy Haenel says there’s nothing like catching your own dinner.

It’s fabulous. I know exactly how old that fish is, when it came out of the water and how long it’s been dead. And that’s important with fish especially. Fresh is always best.

Cindy, an avid angler, is a chef instructor at Central Market in Austin.

I love the saltwater as well as freshwater. But the saltwater you have more variety. You never know what you’re going to pull up. It’s exciting – like Christmas morning.

Immediately place your catch on ice, and if there’s a cleaning station on shore, Chef Cindy says consider doing the dirty work there. And when you get your catch back to the kitchen, be careful not to overcook it.

Most people, if they don’t like the taste of fish, it’s probably because they’ve overcooked it. And, as it cooks, and the oil of the fish starts to come out of the flesh, it burns very, very quickly. So, if you will undercook your fish, or protect that fish with either a salt crust, or even if it just has a little butter, or some kind of fat on the outside it still protecting that fish while it’s cooking.

Find fish recipes from Chef Cindy as well as a link to other fish and game recipes at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series and works to increase fishing and boating opportunities in Texas.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.


Trout Amandine
by Chef Cindy Haenel


8 (4-ounce) lake or rainbow trout fillets
1 egg
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
Salt and pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 tablespoons butter
1 cup (about 6 ounces) sliced, blanched almonds
Handful fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped
1 lemon, wedged


Heat a large skillet over moderate heat. Combine egg and milk in a tin pie plate, beat with a fork. Place a cup of flour in a second pie tin and season well with salt and sparingly with pepper. Coat trout fillets in egg and milk, then in seasoned flour. Collect fillets on a plate until all of them are dredged and ready to be cooked.

Add 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil to your skillet. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons butter to the pan. When the butter foams, add trout and gently saute 4 fillets for 2 or 3 minutes on each side, until golden. Transfer trout fillets to warm platter in oven.

Return pan to the stove and add 1/2 tablespoon extra-virgin oil and 1 1/2 tablespoons butter. When butter foams, repeat cooking process. When all of the trout is cooked, add last tablespoon of butter to the pan. When the butter melts, add almonds and brown until lightly golden, 1 to 2 minutes.

Remove trout from oven and pour almonds over the platter. Garnish platter with chopped parsley, lemon wedges, and serve immediately.

Serves 4

Ask a Game Warden – Seafood Regulations

Monday, October 31st, 2016
Using fishing nets to harvest from the gulf.

Using fishing nets to harvest from the gulf.

This is Passport to Texas Ask a Game Warden

Is it okay to sell, barter or trade your fresh gulf catch? To find out, we asked Game Warden Brandi Reeder.

Whenever you have a recreational license, those products [you harvest] are for recreational purposes [only]. At the point that you conduct a sale, barter, or exchange for some sort of gain, that is now a commercial purpose. Therefore, you must be commercially licensed.

Reeder is Assistant Commander Fisheries Law Administrator. She says anglers may purchase licenses that cover commercial harvest and sale.

There are fishermen licenses, and there are dealer licenses. And so the two are a little bit different. One authorizes—obviously—the harvest. The other would authorize the purchase for sale, and the subsequent resale.

If your license is for recreational fishing only, and your cooler runneth over after a coastal fishing trip, invite folks to the house for a meal of gulf fish, or give away some of your catch. But Game Warden Reeder says that’s all you can do legally with a recreational license.

If they are such a successful fisherman—which I have known a few—and they would like to pursue a commercial market, and possibly sell, themselves, they need to do their due diligence. And, they’re always welcome to call Parks and Wildlife law enforcement offices in order to gain more insight and information.

We have a link on where you can find additional information.

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti.


Additional Information:

Texas Commercial Fishing Guide [PDF]

Shrimp Regulations and Restrictions

Oyster Regulations


How to Humanely Dispatch a Fish

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016
Black drum ready to be filleted or frozen.

Black drum ready to be filleted or frozen.

This is Passport to Texas

Like to fish? Then you should know this Saturday, June fourth, is Free Fishing Day in Texas.

People don’t need a fishing license to fish on that first Saturday in June.

Great news, right? Texas Parks and Wildlife aquatic training specialist, Caleb Harris, says everyone can fish free in state parks with fishing opportunities any day, but Free Fishing Day opens all public waters for your angling pleasure. Harris says when you reel in a fish you intend to keep, there is a humane way to dispatch your catch before it becomes dinner.

Most people say that the kindest way to care for a fish that you want to keep [for dinner] is to put it on ice as fast as possible.

The cold temperature, says Harris, causes the fish’s bodily functions to slow down…way down.

The ice will anesthetize it; it’ll be virtually painless at that cold temperature; the fish will get cold and will slowly pass. So, yeah. If you have a boat, and you have the ability to bring an ice chest, you know—catch the fish—if you intend to keep it, make sure it’s a legal size, and put it right on ice.

When you get the fish home, you’ll want to immediately filet it and either cook it up right away, or freeze it. Find a video on how to filet fish, and a link to information on the best way to freeze fish at

The Sport Fish Restoration program supports our series.

For Texas Parks and Wildlife…I’m Cecilia Nasti