It’s safe to say I can get a little carried away on Hook, Line & Dinner, a little overly involved. Well, tonight is a prime example. I decided I was going to catch a snakehead fish, no matter what.
My relationship with the snakehead fish started a long time ago when I worked for the Department of Environmental Conservation in New York. We were electro-fishing in a shallow body of water. The process temporarily stuns the fish so it can be collected, measured, inspected and returned unharmed into the water. I was in the water holding onto our boat when a three-foot snakehead fish burst out of the water and landed in our boat. Up until that moment, I had not believed the hype: “A fish/snake from Asia that can breathe out of water, walk on land and has been known to eat birds, batteries and attack swimmers.” The minute I saw that fish, I became a true believer. My boss, Melissa, normally soft-spoken, shouted, “Kill that f—ing fish!”
Snakehead fish are the poster child for invasive species — they eat, grow and multiply at an alarming rate with no natural predators. So, doing my part to help contain them, I hopped in the boat and literally wrested it into the cooler. It took all my body weight to hold the fish down. I had to sit on the cooler the whole trip back — the fish never showed signs of giving in!
Continue Reading The Illusive, Invasive and Infamous Snakehead Fish
Bringing in a Fish in New York
New York is not the first place you think of when it comes to seafood, surfing and fishing. In fact, when I moved there more than 12 years ago, I was quite sure my days as a waterman were over. But boy, was I wrong.
My first great discovery was surfing in Queens. One day, I ran into a guy carrying a surfboard on the L train in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. “Where are you going with that?”, I asked him, expecting him to tell me about an art installation he was working on. “I’m going surfing. Out at the Rock,” he said.
I dropped everything I had going on that day (including watching my friend’s gift shop) and headed out to the local surf break in Queens. From that day on, my life was changed forever.
Continue Reading Fishing (and Surfing) in The Big Apple
Ben is ready for a whole new season of extreme seafood adventures.
Ben Sargent lives for seafood. He’s a fisherman, restaurateur, chef and overall seafood fanatic who’s ready to take you on another amazing adventure: Season two of Hook, Line & Dinner premieres tonight at 8pm on Cooking Channel.
This season, Ben continues his cross-country seafood road trip on his tricked-out motorcycle (which you should totally check out here) in pursuit of the very best local sea-foodies, the freshest fish and the most delicious ways to prepare it. Beginning tonight, Ben’s travels will take him coast to coast, on a bigger, better-than-ever, seafood-packed motorcyle tour of the continent.
Continue Reading The Ultimate Seafood Road Trip
Dr. Klaw, a.k.a. Ben Sargent, on a lobster-roll delivery. Photo by: Cody Raisig
Like any illicit deal you can imagine — and I did use my imagination, having never illicitly dealt or acquired anything — you had to know someone to get the secret phone number. After arranging the deal, you traveled to a seemingly-random address in Brooklyn, and sent a text message when you arrived. The reply was an estimated delivery time, and you were left to wait patiently in front of a red-sided building for the next command. At the appointed time you were sent the pick-up address where you’d meet a man, pass over some cash in a handshake, and receive the goods.
Continue Reading Underground Lobsterman, Ben Sargent’s Next Big Catch
Catching a King Salmon in Juneau, Alaska
Ocean to Table!
Okay, so that’s a slight exaggeration. This 16-pound King salmon went from the Juneau, Alaska ocean, to fishing boat, to packaging company, to FedEx and ended up arriving at my New Jersey apartment two weeks after I caught it, filleted and frozen in perfectly-portioned packets. But, “ocean to table” or not, this was an amazing way to get salmon and the highlight of my recent Alaskan vacation.
Continue Reading Ocean to Table: Alaskan Salmon