Talk to virtually anyone who has returned from a guided, wilderness fishing trip and the conversation invariably leads to one common subject: the shore lunch.
Indeed, few culinary treats are much tastier than freshly caught, freshly prepared fish.
You don’t have to go to Canada to enjoy such a meal.
Capt. Denny Grinold, who runs Fish N’ Grin, a salmon-fishing charter boat out of Grand Haven, regularly sends his customers – with their fresh catches – to Old Boys’ Brewhouse in Spring Lake.
“Our clients go over there (Old Boys’ Brewhouse), the restaurant staff cooks the fresh fish and then they serve it family style,” Grinold said. “It’s wonderful.”
“Everybody who fishes knows that fresh fish is the best,” he said. “Even some people who don’t care for fish do it and say, ‘Wow, this is really good.'”
Dan Paquin, the chef at Old Boys’ Brewhouse, said he uses a number of the recipes the restaurant had on the menu in the past to prepare sport-caught salmon for the customers.
“Salmon is very easy to work with,” Paquin said. “You can put just about anything on it. You can serve it poached, grilled, fried – you can do just about anything you want with it.”
Paquin said he’s had, on occasion, served four or five parties a day during the peak of salmon-fishing season. “Usually we have small groups of four or five people, but we have done some big corporate groups, too,” he said.
Turns out Grinold’s idea for freshly prepared fish wasn’t just a Grand Haven thing. The former president of the Michigan Charter Boat Association surveyed its members and found there were some 50 restaurants across Michigan working with charter boat skippers on catch-and-cook opportunities.
The unique concept is now being promoted as “Catch and Cook” by the DNR who teamed up with Michigan’s fishing industry.
“This program is a wonderful opportunity to promote the state’s $3.7 billion fishing industry and boost Michigan jobs and Michigan businesses,” said Rodney Stokes director of the DNR. “The Great Lakes are a unique and extraordinary natural resource – Michigan’s defining resource. Providing one more opportunity for people to enjoy the lakes goes to the heart of who we are as a state.”
For a list of charter boats, ports or restaurants participating in Catch & Cook, visit www.micatchandcook.com.