A couple of nights ago i decided i fancied having an evening sea fishing targeting bass and smoothound, a member of the shark family. Having spent some time researching areas to try the would give me a chance of catching both i decided on a nice local venue, good old Southend On Sea.


I won’t go into detail of the actual fishing itself, but i did catch a lot of bass that night topped by 2 good size specimens which i took home. I didn’t manage a smoothound though. Fishing aside it was really enjoyable being out in the cool night air listening to the waves crashing onto the shingle in front of me. I’ve forgotten how hypnotic the sound off the waves actually are and at times i was nearly nodding off to them.

So the following morning it was time to clean the 2 largest bass and i decided that 1 would be for the freezer and the other one would be eaten for dinner that night, not by me i might add as i don’t like eating fish or shellfish for that matter, i just don’t like the taste. I,ll run you through the process below.

  • First i de-scaled the fish, bass are covered in heavy scales which are not nice to eat so i scraped the flanks of them with a ‘fish scaler’ until there was none left.
  • Next i cut of the fins using a pair of boning sheers, you can use scissors or a pair of secateurs if you like but i had my bone sheers to hand. Then cut of the tail and then the head, just behind the gill plates angled down past the pectoral fins. I then slide my knife inside the fishes body cavity and cut through the belly from the vent to the front of the fish and then scraped out all the internal organs and any membrane from the stomach lining. I know it sounds gross but its not too bad, barely any blood and the organs literally fall out. The fish was then washed thoroughly inside and out under cold water.
  • I then pat the fish dry a little and wrapped one in cling film and chucked him in the freezer. The other i placed in a foil lined baking tray ready for the next step.
  • First i made a few cuts in the flank of the fish. I then made a marinade of a little rapeseed oil, the juice from one lemon, a pinch of salt and probably a tablespoon of fresh thyme from my herb garden. The fish was then liberally coated in this concoction including inside the cuts. The left over lemon parts were then stuffed inside the fish and placed around it. A good grind of fresh black pepper and i covered the lot with foil.
  • In the oven it went for roughly 10 minutes at 180 then i uncovered the fish and left it roasting for another 25 minutes or so to continue cooking and crisp up the skin a little.
  • Once done i served it up with fresh lemon wedges to squeeze over, broccoli, french beans and minted, mint from my herb garden, new potatoes. Apparently it was lovely and i,ve been told by the other half that i,m to go fishing more often to catch some more. Its a ‘Win Win’ situation.

Well there you have, wild food at its best. I hope you try that recipe as it does taste fantastic, so i was told, and if you do try and get as fresh a bass as possible, oh and line caught too as its sustainable harvesting them by rod and line compared to trawling them, and lets not talk about cage reared fish…..

Ta ta for now everyone………..

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