Posts Tagged ‘grass bass’

one evening last week at high tide I took a walk on the beach. sky full-metal-jacket grey, water choked with yellow foam and unusually rough, tide you can taste before you even see it. (beach people know what I mean, right? you’re all smiling and nodding your heads.) you’d think the place would be deserted, save for an errant seagull with a death wish.

but it’s at times like this that you see fishermen in long windbreakers and waist-high boots, heading down the stone driveway and taking a place along the edge of the voracious surf. they could be home eating takeout from peking house, letting their eyes glaze in front of the game or angry birds or talking the plusses and minuses of drywall with their housemate. warm, dry…safe.

instead they’re here, at the very edge of the eastern seaboard, and on a night that feels very much like the eastern seaboard is the precarious edge of the world. always wondered what the draw was. so this time I asked.

I  approached a guy and yelled, “what are ya trying for?”

he turned around. mid-twenties. “what?”

“what are ya trying for?”

“oh! striped bass!”

now I love fish, but have never eaten a striper, let alone one fresh caught. “what do they taste like?”

I’m not kidding—his face lit up like a christmas tree. “the best!’

he pulled a wad of plant life off his hook and complained that there was too much seaweed. I told him I’d heard they call that an irish flounder. he said, “or grass bass!” I laughed and told him to break a leg.

this was at the northern end of allenhurst’s beach. on what we locals call the surfers’ beach, the scrap of sand between allenhurst and loch arbour, I came across fisherman #2, in his late fifties.

he saw me first, almost toppled over into a wave, and yelled that he must be crazy to be there. then he laughed. I asked him the same question—what are you trying for?—and he gave the same answer.

“they bite well in this tide?”

“OH yeah!”

“what do they taste like?”

again the rapturous expression. “like lobster. not fishy like bluefish. firm.”

“how do you cook it?”

“steamed–that’s the best way.”

“a little lemon?”


there are arguably better places to pick up recipes than next to a natural force that keeps hinting that it wants to kill you, but then again, maybe there aren’t.

remember, these guys aren’t home eating takeout. it must be worth it.

now I have to get their names…and ask how much for their next catch.

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