We’ve been getting an unusual number of reports this year of anglers encountering very aggressive sea robins. Earlier this week, OTW Editor at Large, Gene Bourque, found a school of robins so thick and aggressive that he could barely get his Hogy soft-plastic bait past them in order to get to the stripers. A couple have even attacked topwaters. A couple weeks ago, Andy Nabreski had one attack a Yo-Zuri Hydro Pencil, and just this morning, we got an email from Steve Banchand of Pocasset, MA about a sizable sea robin that attacked a Fishin’ Magician Skid Stik.
Some folks consider sea robins “trash fish” – ugly buggers that steal baits meant for more desirable fish and not worthy of a spot on the table. I think sea robins are in truth quite beautiful; just look at this photo of a sea robin, with its beautiful butterfly-like wings and striking orange coloration.
And despite their reputation, sea robins are quite delicious. Inspired by the “Quit Talkin’ Trash” article in the December 2010 Issue of OTW, we cooked and ate a sea robin last year, and it was fantastic — better than fluke or sea bass! The meat is a little darker and firmer than the pure white flesh of a sea bass, but the flavor is delicious. When you filet a sea robin, you will get one piece of meat from each side of the tail. They make perfect “fish fingers” for frying or oven baking. Here’s the basic fried fish recipe we used:
Sea Robin “Fingers”
- 6 fillets per person
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup of seasoned flour (salt and pepper, or Old Bay if you prefer)
- 1 cup of Panko (Japanese-style breadcrumbs)
Rinse the fillets, roll them in the seasoned flour to coat. Dip the fillets in a dish of milk and then immediately coat them in panko. The panko should stick to the milk-soaked flour coating. You can then fry the fingers in an inch of peanut oil or bake them in a 425-degree oven (place them on a wire rack to keep the coating crispy). Delicious with tartar sauce and a squeeze of lemon.