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Fantastic Carolina fall fish recipes

This what a real mullet looks like.
This what a real mullet looks like.
Jeffrey Weeks

Fall fishing is in full swing in the Carolinas, and both freshwater and saltwater anglers are starting to fill up their coolers with tasty fish. Catching fish may seem like the hard part, but once you have that catch you also need to know how to cook it.

Here are some traditional (and more modern) fish dishes from my collection of Carolina seafood recipes. If you are interested in more check out my blog A Dash of Salty where I post all my recipes, as well as lots of fishing tips and reports.

Easy Fall Fried Fish Nuggets

  • 1 lb thick fish fillets, from large fish such as shark, tuna, salmon, king mackerel, cobia, big drum or large catfish
  • 1 cup sweet buttermilk
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • Bisquick pancake mix
  • veggie oil for deep frying

Cut up as your thick fillets into chunks. Soak in sweet buttermilk and Worcestershire sauce for about 4 hours in the refrigerator. Roll in pancake mix until covered and deep fry quickly. Serves 4, great with fries, hushpuppies, slaw and sweet tea.

Breakfast Bass for One

  • 1 striped bass fillet (you can also use largemouth bass or smallmouth bass)
  • 1 sweet Vidalia onion, sliced
  • orange juice
  • 1 orange
  • 1 lemon

Marinate the fillet in orange juice for six hours. Discard the orange juice marinate.

Place aluminum foil inside a baking pan. Put the bass fillet in the middle. Pour new orange juice until it covers the fish half way. Cover the top of the fillet with sliced Vidalia onions and sliced orange and lemon. Cover the orange slices with sliced lemon. Seal the aluminum foil to retain the juices while baking. Bake at 400 degrees until fish flakes easily.

When done, remove the cooked orange slices and lemon slices. Before serving, you can squeeze fresh orange juice over the fillet. Serve with the onion slices on top and garnish with orange slices. Serves 1.

Carolina Grilled Whole Mullet

This recipe is not for sea mullet, which are also called by local names such as whiting or kingfish. This is intended for actual mullet which are a vegetarian species many Carolina anglers use as a baitfish called finger mullet. Big hardheaded (or popeye) mullet can be caught in large cast nets or found at local Carolina seafood markets brought by commercial fishermen who catch them in gill nets and trawls.

Dress and split mullet but do not scale! The scales hold in the heat while cooking.

  • 4 whole mullet (about 1 lb each), dressed and split with head removed
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Melt the butter on the stove top and add olive oil and lemon juice…then the garlic salt and pepper. Brush on fish. Grill on medium-high heat 15 to 18 minutes or until mullet is done. Serves 2.

Barbecued Fish Tacos

  • 4 (8-inch) tortillas
  • 1 lb fish fillets, you’ll need flounder, trout, amberjack or other lean mild fish
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • ¼ cup barbecue sauce
  • veggie cooking spray
  • sour cream
  • sliced green onions
  • lime wedges

Wrap tortillas in aluminum foil. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Sprinkle fish with salt and pepper, lightly brush each side with barbeque sauce. Place fish in grilled basket covered with cooking spray. Cook, covered with grill id, over medium coals 5 minutes on each side. Remove fish from basket and flake gently with a fork.

Spoon fish evenly down the center of the tortillas, top with sour cream and green onions. Squeeze lime wedges over tortillas; fold opposite sides over filling. Serves 4.

Guilty Spring Sea Trout

Caution: this is NOT a low-fat dish!

  • 2 lbs sea trout fillets, from speckled trout or weakfish (gray trout)
  • olive oil
  • 1 stick butter
  • juice of 1 lime
  • 1 teaspoon tarragon

Rub sea trout fillets with olive oil. Melt butter, add lime juice and tarragon. Baste fish frequently with butter mixture while baking at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until fish is done. Serves 4-5.

If you an angler who likes eating fish check out the tackle reviews at Red Hot Fishing Gear


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