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Conch Life
The Florida Keys
2009 – 2011
John with the Prize
~ John with the Prize ~
Deep Sea Fishing
The Best Mahi-Mahi Recipe
After an exceptionally robust struggle cranking in yards and yards of line, you finally see that iridescent body leap from the water, flashing indigo blue, emerald green and gold. You've got a Mahi-Mahi on the hook, a fish that puts up a valiant fight all the way to the end. With a little skill and luck (for you – not the fish), the end comes with key lime butter sauce and a side of coconut rice, as Mahi-Mahi is very tasty indeed.

Below is my favorite recipe for Mahi-Mahi. Substitutions can be easily made (Tuna or Mackerel) for a slightly different fare, but it is always a ton of fun to prepare!

Ingredients:
  • 1 gracious friend with a beautiful 42' Grand Banks Trawler (additional friends can be added to taste)
  • 6 to 8 deep sea fishing rods and reels
  • 2 dozen frozen bait, thawed (ballyhoo works best)
  • Select mixture of lures for seasoning
  • 20 lbs. ice
  • 1 large gaff
  • 2 coolers full of beer and sandwiches (most any kind will do)
  • ¼ cup of sunscreen per friend
The Fishermen
~ The Fishermen ~
Directions:
1. Set GPS to 24.52 lat. and 81.13 long. Rub friends with a generous coating of sunscreen to prevent burning. In boat, begin to marinate friends in beer for about one hour while bringing ocean waters to a deep sapphire blue.

2. Dress thawed bait with sparkly skirts and select mixture of shiny lures. Attach prepared bait to rods and douse them in the sapphire water, arranged to cover boat wake without touching. Stir continuously so that they remain close to the surface of the water. To improve outcome of recipe, lay a sprig of birds and sprinkle shiny planers alongside.

3. Continue to marinate friends, being sure to keep them covered to prevent melting. Allow bait to soak until one of the reels start to scream (a distinguishable 'zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz' sound).

4. Remove friends from cover and set in sun. Place gaff in hands of least marinated friend, and distribute rods evenly among remaining friends. Remove unused rods from water and set aside. Slowly and steadily pull Mahi-Mahi toward the surface being careful as prep area may become slippery.

Happy Don
~ Happy Don ~

5. When sapphire water is a rolling boil, pierce Mahi-Mahi with gaff, and raise from water. Quickly transfer it to ice and cover. Place 2 or 3 friends (depending on size) on top to prevent lid from rising. If fish escapes, pour the most marinated friend on top and let rest for a few minutes. Return Mahi-Mahi to ice.

6. Pat one hand of each friend in a high-5 fashion, then stuff sandwiches into bellies. Continue to marinate until all beer is used. Repeat steps 2 through 4 until enough Mahi-Mahi is available to distribute evenly among friends.

7. Clarify friend with best filleting skills. Let unskilled friends sit for 30 minutes while fish parts fly. Portion Mahi-Mahi into meal sized containers and cover with ice. Toss debris to gathering pelicans and rinse deck. If you prefer a more spicy-hot flavor, double original size of Mahi-Mahi in mind.

8. Once water returns to a light turquoise, soak pickled friends for about 30 minutes to cool. Drain on towel, and return to a dry place for storage. Quality friends will keep for many years and their zest is great when mixed with other ingredients.

Suggested Accompaniments
This dish is best served with a side of salty mates and garnished with saucy tropical tunes. It is a favorite of Don's who, finding it quite palatable, would be content to have it served two or three times a week.

We considered ourselves fortunate when our friend John invited us along on his boat to go fishing. All he ever asked of his guests was that they bring along food and drinks; he would see to the rest – which is no inconsequential matter! Considering fuel, bait and tackle, gear, ice, and labor, from our standpoint John provided us with the equivalent of a full service charter for which most tourists would pay upwards of $800.

From John's perspective, he was going fishing whether we were on the boat or not because the dolphin weren't going to be running forever, and before long it would be lobster season, so now was the time to go get them and it's only worth the trip if some other people come along. We were happy to help out!

Thank you John, for adding such a special flavor to our experiences here in Marathon!