Hybrid Striped Bass Are Tasty
Ohio River Continues to Produce
by Robb Hoff
October 11. 2012
Last night's hard freeze left a layer of frost fused to the top of my SUV. But the thaw came quick with a cloudless sky and an infusion of warmth still resisting the inevitable arrival of Fall and Winter.
By a little after 10 a.m., our lines were in the Ohio River water below Markland Dam. The going was slow with lures that had produced so readily in late summer, and changing lures for different approaches to finding and luring fish didn't fare much better.
Just a sampling of small hybrid striped bass, but that was it: the proverbial few and far between.
It wasn't until a change in location closer to the dam that the fishing started to change. Big threadfin shad were flashing their silver sides close to the bank as they skimmed rocks for growth. And it was only a matter of time in the deeper, swifter water that the action started.
A few hybrid striped bass and a spunky Kentucky bass later and WHAM!
The hybrid striped bass was almost a legitimate squeaker -- the drag actually turned a couple times during the fight. The fish fought harder than its size -- it was 16 inches with a lot of girth. And it was a good way to end a short fishing trip under three hours.
Plus, the fish was great to eat! After soaking its fillets for a few hours in salted water and baking them on a sheet coated with olive oil at 375-degrees for 20 minutes, the tender flaky meat was quite good.
Eating hybrid striped bass from the Ohio River is probably not something that should be done every day. Kentucky issues a fish consumption advisory against eating more than one per month due to chordane, PCBs and mercury.
But they are tasty nonetheless and the stacked flesh above the big bones makes for nice fillet slabs that are filling! The lateral vein can be bitter, which is why baking the fillets skin-side down not only enables easy removal of the skin but also easy scraping of the brown, vein meat from the rest of the flesh.