Do You Know The Graveyard?
When the north winds blow at "The Graveyard of The Atlantic" the fish seem to head offshore.The popular fish such as trout, flounder, whiting, and spots all disappear. Most fisherman stay inside and find something else to do. But if you know me then you know I am totally hardcore! A bad day fishing beats the hell out of staying indoors twiddling your thumbs. I love the ocean, wind, waves and sand between my toes. I have to be out in it.
I have found that when the wind comes from the north that you can catch fish. To some, the fish I am referring to are trash fish. This group of people think that this fish is only worthy of throwing away. Nothing could be further from the truth! This wonderful fish I am talking about is the blowfish also known as the puffer (See Figure 1) . Yes you heard me, the puffer. Not only are they fun to catch but without doubt one of the finest eating fish in the ocean. They are a very delicate white meat fish that simply melts in your mouth.
I know that you hear horror stories all the time from Japan and the far east about deaths attributed to the blowfish. Well it is true. However the puffers in the far east are different from the puffers caught on the Atlantic seaboard. Far east puffers are a tropical fish that is a different variety of fish. There are 120 known varieties of puffers world wide. The liver, gonads, intestines, and skin of some puffers contain a neurotoxin called tetrodotoxin while other puffers contain saxatoxin. This is deadly. I want you to keep in mind that the puffer you catch here is not the same. I personally have been eating them for 25 years with never an ill effect.
Now lets talk about the proper way to clean puffers. The first thing you want to do is cut the skin across the head all the way to both pectoral fins (See Figure 2). Next you want to slide your fingers under the skin and membrane while firmly gripping the body with your other hand. Hold the skin firmly and pull the body out of the skin (See Figure 3). This is similar to skinning a catfish. Now cut the head off and finish separating the skin, membrane and guts away from the body (See Figure 4). Remember never to eat the internal organs. Wash the body thoroughly. You are now holding a delicacy in your hands!