As promised, Felix and Gabe had cleaned the rods and reels and even put them back where I had retrieved them. He proudly showed off their catch, six eight to twelve inch mackerel, which they had properly iced down in the bucket. Good day for them, which maybe had something to do with my gear suggestion.
Gabe begged off upon leaving when I offered half the catch to him, reminding me that his father did not like fish. While I love the southern based Spanish mackerel, I am not that fond of Atlantic mackerel as they are so oily. In fact, catch and release was generally my standard when catching mackerel in these northern waters, but I did not bother reminding Felix of that. Instead, I handed him a knife and started to coach him through the filleting process, but he had had enough practice over the years that he successfully produced 10 decent filets, while only shredding two.
My wife, who also finds mackerel a bit to oily for her liking, feigned pleasure at hearing we were having fish for dinner, but enjoyed watching “her boys” prepare the fish and fire them up on the grill. While many locals generally just pan fry mackerel, I find that grilling them serves as the best way to eliminate some of the oil. That, and if you get them nice and crispy and hit them with lots of lemon as they sear, they just don’t taste as oily. Just remember my whole lesson learned about Bluefish, mackerel is much better and easier to grill.
And those fresh caught mackerel were pretty good. In fact, probably about the best mackerel I’ve ever had. I made the mistake of saying so, but fortunately my son replied, “I don’t know, Dad, they’re kind of oily.”
Like Father like son I want to say, but then again…