I’m not asking ya’ll to fully understand what it was like growing up hunting and fishing in Eastern North Carolina. But it was great. It’s something I really am thankful for.
It was cold and dark. There was that nip in the salty morning air that tells you its hunting season. The flame from the propane burner and the hot oil just starting to pop and bubble in the charred aluminum fish fryer would only momentarily warm my hands. My little brother and I stood around the burner. When the thermometer read 350, I dropped in two lightly breaded bluefish filets, trying not splash the oil. The cold filets sank in the hot oil. A few minutes later they floated to the surface, the breader crusted into that gold brown characteristic of most fried food. We ate them and they were darn good. If we had more time, I’d maybe’ve fried up an egg to go with it.
Lot of people don’t like bluefish. Too oily. Too fishy. The simple trick of slicing off that oily layer of skin isn’t well known I guess. We always’ve loved catching them in the surf when they run down the coast later in the fall. And we always’ve loved cooking them up for breakfast during duck season.
. . .
With our decoys and our guns in the truck we hauled through the salty dark away from the beach, across the intra-coastal, towards Castle Hayne and the Northeast Cape Fear. In our grogginess we didn’t really talk much. Past some trailers with a bunch of junk cars, a collapsing produce stand, and an out of business seafood market, we took our turn. It was a dirt and gravel trail. The trail though some pines turned into a causeway just wide enough for a truck, tidal salt marsh on our left, fresh water swamp and flooded timber on our right.