Outdoors Xtras: Elite lure, freezing fish and bluegill chowder
Lure of the week
Lure name: Elite
Company: Steelshad (steelshad.com)
Lure type: Blade bait
Sizes and colors: Available in a 23/4-inch, 3/8-ounce model in five colors: gold, sexy shad, silver, white shad and yellow shad.
Target species: Largemouth, smallmouth bass, walleyes, northern pike, muskies, lake trout and salmon
Technique: The custom-molded weight in these lures — located in the belly rather than the nose, as on many other blade baits — allows the bait to cut through the water and run straighter. Cast and retrieve them like a lipless crankbait (just fast enough to make the lure vibrate), jig it vertically (jerking the top tip up 12-18 inches, watching for bites on the fall) or troll it. You can tweak these lures by bending them at various points. If you encounter weedy conditions, for example, putting a 45-degree bend in the tail, near the “d” in “Steelshad,” to the right or left makes the lure run toward the surface on the retrieve.
Sugg. retail price: $8.99
Notable: The Steelshad Elite differs from the original Steelshad in being lead-free. That means it can be fished even in the growing number of places that ban lead materials. It comes with black nickel hooks and a line clip.
Tip of the week
That old saying, “time is of the essence?” It applies to the fish you catch and keep, too. If you’re not going to eat that fish within two days of catching and cleaning it, freeze it. That will ensure it stays fresh. Wrap the fish tightly in freezer paper, aluminum foil or plastic wrap, then place it inside a freezer bag. Squeeze out as much air as possible. That will prevent freezer burn. Another option? If you’ve filleted the fish, place the fillets in a freezer bag, add just enough water to cover them, then freeze.
Recipe of the week
• 4 slices bacon
• 1/2 cup chopped onions
• 4 cups water
• 1/2 cup diced carrots
• 1 pound bluegill fillets, cut into 1-inch pieces
• 1/2 cup chopped celery
• 1 can creamed corn
• 2 medium potatoes, diced
• 1 cup cream
• Salt and pepper to taste
There’s just something about creamy soups that really hits the spot. This bluegill chowder is no exception.
To make it, start by browning your bacon. When crisp, set it aside on paper towels and reserve about two tablespoons of the grease. Use it to saute onions, carrots and celery. Stir in potatoes, and cook until tender.
Pour water into a pot and bring just to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, and add bluegill, creamed corn and cream. Next, add vegetables.
Simmer for about five minutes or until fish is cooked through.
Crumble your bacon from earlier, top the chowder with it and serve.