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Posts Tagged ‘fishing’

The Illusive, Invasive and Infamous Snakehead Fish

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!

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Fishing (and Surfing) in The Big Apple

Ben Sargent Fishing in Brooklyn

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.

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The Ultimate Seafood Road Trip

Ben Sergeant Hook, Line & Dinner

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.

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Underground Lobsterman, Ben Sargent’s Next Big Catch

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.

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Ocean to Table: Alaskan Salmon

Catching a King Salmon in Juneau, Alaska 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.

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