In Search of the Perfect Fish Sandwich

I have no idea why, but ever since I moved to Louisville over a year ago, I have been craving fish. In particular, I am looking for a good fish sandwich. I have had some decent fish sandwiches in Florida. We go to Grouper and Chips when we are in Naples, along with a couple other places. They are decent. However, the bar is pretty high. The standard was set many years ago by my mother and my Aunt Peggy. Aside from all the good fish we caught and fried at home, the many trips to Canada and the enormous fish frys that took place in those cabins are going to be hard to top. IMG_1437

We are not just talking about frying any old fish here; we had Walleye every day…and so many Northern Pike that we could throw the bony half of the fillet away and still have a heaping mound of fish. As I write this, I can smell the fish and hush puppies frying. They used a light, cornmeal batter so it was not too heavy. Take a couple slices of bread or a bun, slather it with tarter sauce, a sweet onion and some lettuce…Lord help me, I can taste it now! I cannot think of anything I enjoyed more than those nearly nightly fish sandwiches. Now my cousin Tom, on the other hand, was great at catching fish, but not a connoisseur  of the meat. If memory serves me correctly, I imagine Tom ate hotdogs instead! That kind of makes me sad….

I remember the time that our pond was so overrun with small pan fish that we decided to kill all the fish and start over. We picked up buckets of dead fish for weeks! There was only one fish in the whole pond of any decent size. It was a 7 pound largemouth Bass. Dad and Clyde had read somewhere that there was a way to stage a photo so the fish looked ever larger. They tried it with the Bass. I’m not sure why because I’m thinking a 7 pound bass is much larger than most any we ever caught anyway!

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Now I could tell a hundred fish stories at least. Like eating baloney sandwiches with the same hands that I used to put leaches on a hook and take Walleye off and never giving it a second thought. Or about the time I hooked the largest Northern Pike I ever “almost” caught, and having my ex-wife hit it on the head with the net and causing it to dive and break the line. I remember Pop was mad at her. I was mad at him. “Why the heck did you give her the net?!” I remember people jumping in the lake and coming out covered in leaches. I remember the many walks to Pike lake, covered in mosquitoes and getting nervous about the fresh bear tracks in the mud. I also remember the many local fishing trips. Boggs lake at night, bringing home hundreds of Crappie. Or the time Dad, Tony Kinser and I went to Uncle Harm’s pond and camped in the truck camper. The memorable thing on that trip is that dad and Tony had a contest to see who could stink me out of the camper. It was a tie!

There was that one trip that Clyde, Dad, Tom and I took to some lake in Tennessee or Southern Kentucky. Tom was old enough to drink, I think, and I was close. While they goofed around at camp, we went into town looking for beer…only to find out we were in a dry county! Just our luck.

Oh yeah, I just remembered there were a couple Indian girls who cleaned the cabins in Canada that Tom and I tried to chase around. I had no idea how to chase a girl at that point in my life though, so I caught a lot more fish than I did girl.

I will save the fish stories and their details for another day. I just wanted to get something out today…and talk about fish sandwiches. I went to a place in Louisville last week called The Fish House. They have a green river style fish, which means corn meal and pepper coated. The place is pretty rough. I would call the ambiance somewhere between fish locker plant and Skinner’s bar. I opted to each my sandwich outside. On the bright side, it was good.

IMG_1661I have several places yet to try, however, I hold little hope that I will find a sandwich that can compare to those we had on the bank of Big Pine Lake.

Later,

Shep

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