Fish tails or fish tales? [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Fish tails or fish tales?

02-05-2001, 09:01 PM
This may be the strangest topic that I have ever come across.

While at a funeral this past weekend I had the occasion to talk to a family friend that was born and raised in the Shenandoah Valley, VA. He is not only a big S.O.B., he's also in charge of security on the Mountain that the President high tails it to in the event of a nuclear emergency(that is all he can tell us about his job). He is a prolific story teller, and I mean that in a good way. He can captivate a crowd with his down to earth style and easy going nature.

We got to talking about fishing with a doctor and a judge(I know this sounds like a joke but it isn't) and Mike, out of the blue, announces that we, "..throw away the best part of a fish every single time, guaranteed."

This peeks our interest, of course, so we press him for the information that he is hoarding.

Mike proceeds to explain that the best part of the fish is the tail. He detailed the process of frying the actual tail in oil until it is crispy, like a potato chip. He says that he eats them all the time, especially smallmouth bass tails fresh from the North and South forks of the Shenandoah River. The best part is that his wife backed him up on the story.

To lend further credence to this odd ball item, Mike hosts an annual "Wild Game Feast," in October. Typical items on the menu would include venison(cooked every way imaginable), elk, squirrel pot pie, wild game birds, bass, salmon, full barbecued hogs, and a mystery meat(last year it was possum). Now, in light of all this, I can't tell if he was pulling our leg, or if this is legit. He certainly wasn't letting me in on the joke.

Any feedback on this? I'll be real interested in any replies. In fact, I'll probably forward them to him.

02-06-2001, 09:19 AM
Yup, it's true. Though for me it has only been trout tails. They are crispy and tasty though I strongly suspect they are tasty because of the oil.

02-06-2001, 12:06 PM
I guess this is not that strange when considering something that happened to my wife and I after we served fresh salmon to a new neighbor from Nebraska. They had never eaten fresh salmon before. They invited us over in return and served rocky mountain oysters... neither of us could get up the courage to try it and had to offend them, unfortunately. They said they were special oysters, but knowing they didn't eat seafood I knew they weren't from the sea. Our hostess popped one in her mouth to show they were "good". We had to make excuses for a hasty exit!

02-06-2001, 12:21 PM
Tails 'n fins come out pretty tasty when fried or grilled to a crisp. I've never though of serving them as a separate dish but thinking about it they would probably make an interesting appetizer - how about with a home-made mayo dip?

The closest I've had in a restaurant was at a tepanyaki table where the chef grilled down the carapace and legs of giant shrimp and served them up at the very end - absolutely yummy!

02-06-2001, 02:53 PM
That is a Japanese delicacy, ama ebi (head). Decent sushi bars will offer it. Delicious!

02-06-2001, 05:00 PM
Not that I am a "suchi" expert or anything, but "ama" means sweet and "ebi" means shrimp. "ama ebi" is the sweet shrimp, served raw. Although many love it, I can't eat it... give me a california roll instead! (sushi wimp)

For raw I do like... bluefin tuna, bonito or spanish macks! The bonito I had was seared on a grill just on the outside and garnished with a thin vinegar / soy sauce with green onions chopped finely on it. I love the maguro tuna, and the spanish mack I had was from the '2000 Boneclave.

02-06-2001, 05:28 PM
Yes, exactly, they serve the ama ebi (sweet shrimp meat) and then the head is prepared tempura style (lightly). These things are huge here. In Japan they weren't as big, so I don't know where they get them from here.

Just curious, did you eat mackeral raw w/o pickeling it? Can you describe the taste? I'm very curious now to catch one

02-06-2001, 06:36 PM
Spanish mackeral is nothing like an atlantic mackeral. I don't think anyone eats real mackeral without pickling it. Spanish tastes like an albacore kind of, but buttery tasting when really fresh. I just ate it with wasabi and soy.

It's very firm yet melts a little in your mouth like tuna. It's very white and cooks up really nice too.

I haven't checked the scientific name but I bet it's not really a mackeral...