Texoma’s summertime striped pass on the half-shell

Lynn Burkhead
Herald Democrat

In case you didn’t already know this, fishing reports from the local big pond are showing that the striper fishing has been pretty good on Lake Texoma as of late.

Photographic proof of that came the other night when my longtime friend and Denison football radio sidekick, Kyle Uber, the principle of D-Town’s Houston Elementary School, tweeted out a beautiful sunset image as well as a photo of a limit of linesiders headed for the table.

“Nice evening on the big pond. #fishon” tweeted Uber.

Indeed, especially if you like the taste of fresh fish. If you catch and keep a few linesiders yourself over the next few weeks as summer winds down, why not skip the usual fish fry and instead try grilling a few of those stripers a la half-shell style?

A recipe widely used along the Texas Gulf Coast for species like redfish, the half-shell recipe also readily works with Texoma striped bass fillets.

This version of the half-shell recipe comes from my friend Kelly Jordon, a Flint, Texas resident who is one of the nation's most recognizable professional bass anglers on the Major League Fishing Bass Pro Tour.

Whether you're using redfish, red snapper, or Texoma striped bass, to start with, you'll want a hot grill - I like to fire a grill up with some mesquite wood - along with a decent sized fillet that still has the skin remaining on it.

“Put it on the grill scale-side down over medium heat,” said KJ. “You can set it to the side of the direct heat after the first three or four minutes if you want it to cook slower.”

Once Jordon reaches this point in the fish fillet’s preparation, he will let the grill do its work.

“I close the grill and don’t turn the fillet over,” said Jordon, who won the Major League Fishing Challenge Cup title a few years ago on Lake Ray Roberts near Pilot Point. “I will occasionally baste it with butter or olive oil and squeeze a lime over it a few times to taste.”

Jordon says that he likes to occasionally add some lemon pepper to the fish fillet to provide a bit of flavoring.

“It is good, just be careful not to add too much,” he said, noting that a light dash of Tony Chachere’s Creole seasoning can also be an excellent idea if you like a Cajun signature to your food.

When is the half-shell style fish fillet ready to eat? KJ says it is done when the fillet starts to get firm to the touch.

“The fillet should still jiggle a little bit like Jell-O,” said Jordon. “When it does that, it’s perfect.”

At that point, pull the fillet off the grill and let it rest for a few minutes. Then the fish fillet is ready to eat, either as the white meat is flaked away from the grilled fish skin or is cut away if you or your dinner guests prefer.

And if you'd like to do so, you can also add a variety of things to the fillet at this point to turn it into even more of a meal.

What types of add-ons are we talking about? Well, a glance at websites like theSixOldGeezers.com site (a site that specializes in all things related to Texoma striped bass fishing, by the way) turns up such potential add-ons as homemade pico de gallo, mango or pineapple salsa, and even an alfredo sauce that has some shrimp, crab, or crawfish tails added in.

Served up with a variety of side dishes ranging from grilled asparagus to cooked broccoli to a big baked potato, Texoma striped bass on the half-shell is a great and healthy way (depending on what you pair it with, that is) to enjoy a fresh supply of linesiders caught in our local lake!

Of course, this recipe works with many different types of fish, from redfish to striped bass and more. If you’ve got a trip to the Gulf Coast planned this summer, I suppose it even works for red snapper.

Whether it’s Texoma striped bass or something from the saltwater, why not give the half-shell recipe a try. Keep only what you can use, fire up the grill, and get ready for a culinary experience that you won’t soon forget!