As a general rule, over the gathering years of my fishing career, I’ve made a steady habit of releasing the largemouth bass and the smallmouth bass that I catch. And most of the bigger striped bass too.

But when it comes to other piscatorial species — white bass, crappie and the occasional catfish, not to mention a bass or striper that is hooked too deeply — there are a few dinner table exceptions.

And there might be a few more of those exceptions in the future thanks to a fried fish recipe shown to me a couple of summers ago by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department crew at the Lake Texoma Fisheries Station north of Pottsboro.

Visiting one day with TPWD’s Dan Bennett and his inland fisheries crew of Todd Robinson and Corey Clouse, the trio of biologists were turning a bag of Texoma fish fillets into a delectable lunchtime meal, albeit with a bit of a Louisiana Hot Sauce kick.

To put it mildly — or is that spicy? — the fried fish was some of the best I’ve ever sampled.

Fortunately, the Texoma crew was willing to share their recipe.

“To start with, we usually use it on smaller species like bass and crappie,” said Bennett.

“Then we pat the the fish dry with a couple of paper towels,” he added. “After that, we’ll dredge the fish in the hot sauce so there is a thin layer covering the fillet.”

At that point, Bennett says to batter up both sides of the fillets with some sort of lemon flavored fish fry breading mix.

When that step is completed, drop the battered fillets into a fish fryer and cook them to a golden brown color. After they are done, remove the fried fish from the hot oil, draining the fillets on paper towels covering a plate. Then serve with French fries, hush puppies, cole slaw, tartar sauce, and thanks to that Louisiana Hot Sauce kick, a tall glass of iced tea.

Summertime warmth or not, this is a great meal of fried up Texoma fish fillets that is a bit different than the standard local fare. Give this recipe a try and it might soon be one of your favorites too.