Bluegill - Big Bluegill

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"THE SHINER

This tiny white fish, with scales of metallic luster, is from two to four inches long, and the best bait-fish in the fresh waters of America. It is found in most of the brooks, rivers, and lakes of the temperate zone.
A greedy biter, it requires only a bit of angle-worm covering the point of a minnow-hook and it may be taken as fast as it can be drawn out with a supple willow wand. While fishing in rivers for black bass, I have moored one end of my boat at the shore, and sat my waiter catching shiners at the shore-end of the craft. Meanwhile, I took black bass with the shiner-bait at the other end.

As a pan-fish, it is the sweetest, most juicy, and delicate of any fish except the golden mullet. When fried to a crisp in olive oil or fresh butter, it forms a mouthful more delicious than any other pan-fish. Many epicures in country places appreciate the delicious shiner. But because it is too insignificant in size to form an object of commerce, inhabitants of cities are innocent of this succulent luxury. But it is as a bait-fish that I would most recommend the shiner, and a bait-can is necessary for keeping it alive." - Sydney Buxton

The man goes fishing with a "waiter?" Imagine that?!

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Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on November 6, 2013 at 8:17pm

She and I are two peas in a pod - I love catfish.

I wish I could be more helpful with some good spots. Right off the top of my head Im thinking the Saluda River below Lake Greenwood Dam. Some good cat fishing in Lake Murray in Spring and summer, too, with several public access sites. But I dont know any specifically good for cats. I always catch them as a side benefit of shellcrackers and gill fishing

Comment by Mic on November 6, 2013 at 7:21pm

Will do, David! And you live amid some beautiful countryside. Have a daughter that lives in Charleston now (and previously Anderson), so I've traveled awfully close to your stomping grounds. Could you possibly recommend a good spot she might bank fish for catfish anywhere near? She comes home a couple times a year and always asks me to take her catfishing. Seems odd, but she's caught about everything that swims in freshwater and still prefers that tractor pull of a channel cat over anything else. Thank you, David.

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on November 5, 2013 at 7:14pm

Atta boy, Mic! If you google Lake Murray and Leesville, SC you will see the general area I now live. However, since moving here, I have YET to see a shiner. Im sur eLake Murray has some... they have merely eluded me.

I could always look forward to catching them at my previously referenced fishing hole, Boyd Pond. I went there to catch them on purpose, in fact, they are that much fun. Berkley Gulp! Asticots/Maggots were a favored bait for them there. But I haven't seen one in some time.

I hope you catch a few and taste test them on behalf of all of us who may be curious. Should that happen, please report back on your success.

Comment by Mic on November 5, 2013 at 6:59pm

Great write, David. Have caught many a shiner for catfish bait, but must woefully confess to have never eaten one. However, you've piqued my interest, and now must most surely try it!

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on October 16, 2013 at 3:06pm

Rick,

Apparently great minds think alike, as I've considered dining on shiners myself. I know that many fish once thought to be good eating are now scorned as undesirable, or "trash fish." Strictly off the menu, as it were, and it seems shiners are among them.

I first encountered sport-sized shiners at Boyd Pond in Aiken. My previous experience with them was down in FL, where we used them as bait for bass. But I tied into a school of them at Boyd Pond, totally unaware they were even there. These were big ones, 10"-12", and as long as the school had a mind to linger around that spot, they gave quite a fight on the 15' telescoping pole I had. They thrash madly in the water, and then as quickly go soft once on dry land. Up until that time, I really had no idea they were native fishes and quite common.

I later learned that their English cousins are called "roach" in the U.K., and provide good angling sport. They call them and other similar fishes "silver fish," and even pay for the privilege of catching them, But, they are not commonly eaten there, either.

Pan fried hot and crisp, with a drizzle of lemon, well... who knows - maybe we will start something?

Comment by Rick Goohs on October 16, 2013 at 2:52pm

I have caught some nice Golden Shiners at Star Fort Lake in Ninety Six. I have wonder how they would be as an eating fish, certainly big enough.

Comment by David, aka, "McScruff" on October 12, 2013 at 7:02pm
Allen, it was from one of the many old fishing books I have. Those old writers
were very prosaic, as was the fashion of the day.
I expect todays writer, with his candid, blunt edge, has list something along the way.

But I've caught quite a few big shiners, wondering with each if anyone ate them.
Well, of course, somewhere along the way, they did. Men have eaten pretty much everything that didn't get away from them. But I've always wondered just HOW one went about preparing them. Now I know.

Tony... You are right. Waiters are pretty few and far between in my neck of the woods!
Comment by Tony Livingston on October 12, 2013 at 6:49pm

Where does one find this "waiter" that is referred to here? I could use someone to bait my hook, and take my fish off!rolling on the floor

Comment by Allen Morgan on October 12, 2013 at 6:41pm

David, I get the feeling this was written about 100 years ago, maybe even further back?

I wouldn't be surprised that folks were eating Shiners.  When I was up in Michigan, I discovered that the folks up there like to go "Smelt Dipping", catching fish in dip-nets.  These fish are only a couple inches long.  Darn tasty, too.

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