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Catch n Cook

Catch ‘n Cook: Flathead Fish Soup

Catch ‘n Cook: Flathead Fish Soup

Admittedly, these fish jump on anything that moves. Flatheads are aggressive ambush predators that promise a lot of fun on hookup.
As did this one pictured below, on a recent trip to Pomene. It ate a carefully worked green MYDO Luck Shot Mini # 1, with a puke green jerkbait. These wily hunters hide in the sand, semi buried – and charge upwards, even right to the surface for a fly or spoon. They love dropshots!

Flaatheads are prized table fish all over the world. Grilled on a fire they are delicious, with flaky white flesh that you can peel off the fish from the top. Filleting is only for the bigger ones – fried flathead in butter.

But the smaller ones, like this, are best transformed into fish soup – recipe adapted from the locals around here…some western modifications.

Flathead Fish Soup

Our guests on this surfing trip to Pomene, all the way out from Australia – Lucy and Anna – well impressed with the lunch menu…Flathead Fish Soup.

Ok, pop out the guts and the gills, give it a good scrub and a solid rinse…and boil the fish for an hour maximum.
In a pan, fry a bunch of onions until caramelised. Chuck in chopped garlic, grate some ginger in, and any other available peppers or crisp vegetables. Leave some bigger but thinner slices for effect and colour, but for the most part, finely chopped.
Then if you have tomatoes…and fresh herbs, in they go. Cook so that the tomatoes break down. You should have pasty mix ready for step 2. Keep stirring.
The fish will be done now so remove it from the boiling water. Put it onto a big plate and pick it clean off the bones. All the white meat. And back into the water it was boiled in.
Scrape the contents of the pan into the broth. Slice a 2 inch by 1 inch piece of orange skin – the rind, and chuck it in (you could have put the rind in the fry earlier). Cook for a while longer. Stir it up and eat when you like, although the longer you cook it all, the better. It should be really watery as the tiny pieces of fish flesh make up the bulk, so add water if you have to. Salt and pepper to taste, a bit of peri-peri/chilli.

This is a really wholesome dish and can be put together a lot faster than what I just outlined. (That was the social version!)
It can take 20 minutes if you practise. And any white meat fish will do…


A proper sized Flathead…this sized fish can be filleted and fried or grilled…smaller ones for the pot…this was caught on the Umzimkulu River in Port Shepstone


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