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CAPTAIN'S CORNER

Enough has been written about the fabulous kingfish run this spring and how to catch them. The fish we have been catching for the most part are in the 6- to 10-pound class. This is a good sign we will continue to enjoy a long kingfish season. When the larger fish show up, it's usually a sign that the season is at its end.

The two fish per person per day limit allows a lot of fine eating. Kingfish and Spanish mackerel are pelagic fish and require proper handling after capture to ensure the best table quality. The fish should be covered in ice in an insulated fishbox or cooler immediately. Now that barracuda have shown up and are beginning to feed actively, it is common to bring in a kingfish with his transmission gone _ meaning a barracuda has tried to eat the king on your line. If the majority of the fish remains, we keep it. I have noticed that the kingfish that have been bled in this manner seem to have lighter-colored meat and taste better. Next king you catch, try bleeding it by cutting off its tail before icing it down.

Kingfish can be either steaked or filleted and are delicious cooked on a gas grill. Steaks should be treated just as beef. Sear each side on high, then turn the heat down and cook until it flakes easily with a fork. I have started marinating my fish in fresh squeezed grapefruit juice for 45 minutes before cooking.

I got this awesome recipe from Capt. Larry Blue. I thought he was putting me on until I tried it.

{ cup vinegar

1{ tbsp Old Bay seasoning

3 cups water

1 tbsp salt

1 lb grapefruit- or orange juice-marinated kingfish fillets, cut into small pieces, skinned with lateral line (dark meat) removed

In a saucepan combine first four ingredients. Bring to boil. Add fish. Turn heat down and cook for four minutes covered. Drain fish and serve with melted butter flavored with Old Bay to taste.

Sounds strange, tastes great. Enjoy.

_ Dave Zalewski charters the Lucky Too out of Madeira Beach. Call (813) 397-8815.

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