Catching and cooking Eel in camp

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#1
This experience is from in New Zealand, but applicable, I would imagine, many places were freshwater eels live.

How to catch an eel!

It's easy as piss. An eel can smell chow a long ways off, so just bait a big hook(or several if you want better chances), tie it to some strong cord and leave it underwater overnight. Or during the day. Seems like they hunt more at night thought.

Anything that is meat works for bait; jerky, chicken nuggets, roadkill, fish guts. I used some salami, since it was cheap and won't spoil in my pack. If you are using something edible to you, chew some up and spit it in the water. Piss in the water(eels are atttracted to piss. Big ones will try to take a bite out of a lamb or dog peeing in the river). A spot sheltered by rocks or roots works best, so the smells linger around your bait.

If you get a huge eel, try to let it go. Breeding females get massive, and very old. Some up to 100 years... and there are only a few in each river system, waiting to return to the ocean to breed. More likely you'll get a male or juvenile. This one was about the size of my arm:
IMG_20160214_212306.jpg


Now comes the hard part! In theory, its like gutting a fish... in reality, the eel I caught continued to trash around long after its skull was entirely crushed and intestines removed. It's easier if you can hang the eel from something. Scrubbing the eel with sand takes off some of the slime, but I still had a hell of a time getting a grip to skin it. Try to have a very sharp knife. In the end, I just carved off whatever chunks I could and pan fried them. The meat is white, rich, and has a texture like crab.

I've been told the best way to cook eel is to smoke it, which can be done with the skin on. Fella I met here said to just fill the bottom of a cookie tin or camp pot with any kind of nontoxic broken up sticks and branches, stuff the gutted eel in over it, and put it on a fire or stove for 20mins. Got to try that next time.
 
K

Kim Chee

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#2
You just picked up a bunch of cool points in my book not sure how much they're worth though;)
 
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#4
Guh soooo tasty!! I love eel!!
 

Odin

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#5
Great advice. I have to try smoked Eel someday... I love smoked fish, trout, mackerel, salmon..ext is great.

From wiki about NewZealand Eel...

The longfin eel is a large inland eel with a maximum recorded weight of 25 kilograms (53 lb).[14] The are native to New Zealand[15] where they are a traditional Māori food.[16] One method of preparing the eels, kope, is to wrap them in green flax leaves and bake them in hot embers. Another method, tāpora, is to cook them in a basket covered with young mauku fronds and pūhā leaves which are eaten along with the eels.[
 
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#6
Thanks for the tips man. I love eel. probably the best tasting aquatic animal in my book, next to herring.
 

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