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Scott Parker

Hah! Awesome! I have to say that your enthusiam is infectous and your blog is as entertaining as it is educational. Simply awesome.

Eric Stockwell

Love it! You've got a knack for quirky entertainment.


Regarding those guys who put you down as somehow "unmanly": when was the last time any of them built their own equipment? Wasn't that kind of self-reliance once considered a pillar of manhood? Screw them. They probably consider themselves "conservatives" as well, yet have little or no real knowledge of their own heritage, or past cultural values - heck, they probably don't even wash their hands after taking a dump!

Regarding commercially-harvested smelt: to minimize the damage, they should be immediately frozen after being removed from the nets. Even here on the East Coast we know not to buy "fresh" smelt in stores; it's fresher frozen. Of course, the freshest is out of your self-built A-frame net ... but that's not an option where I'm writin' from - damn, I'm envious! If I was back in Mean Ol' Frisco (apologies, again, to both Emperor Norton and Muddy Waters), I'd defintely be goin' out with you at night for those beauties.

Fish Elvis

Great tune, nice video. Looks delicious.

Haters gonna hate.


I have *gots* to get me some of them smelts. How long does the season last?

I was raised on the Chesapeake where my grandfather taught me the old ways for that water. Here, I'm a Bozo without a clue. It's great to have this blog to shed light on local fisheries that I never even knew existed.

Scott Parker

When you prep them for cooking do you gut/behead them or is there anything else? Then just batter and fry?


That's funny...


Well... I'd like to say that I eat night fish the way everyone else does... but in fact I find that they are better when gutted and beheaded... it takes time but what the hell? The problem is that they sometimes get little pieces of sand in their guts and I don't like chewing rocks--but virtually everyother smelter I know eats them whole. Try for yourself both ways and see what works...


Scott: I don't know if Kirk would concur or not, but I don't think there's any need to batter smelts - just clean and fry. Personally, I think batter would only detract from their deliciously delicate flavor; at the most, a small pinch of salt (or very restrained dash of soy sauce) is really all they need. You don't wanna overpower that cucumber aroma that Kirk's talkin' about.


Actually I do batter them. Shake and bake style. I use only the finest stone ground cornmeal (available here at Rainbow grocery). A friend recently recommended blue corn meal, so I got some and am very excited to use it on the next batch. Generally, surf smelt are cleaned and beheaded and night fish are eaten whole: head guts and all. They're so small, and they don't eat while spawning so its cool. Nevertheless, I myself take the time to behead and gut my night smelt. Call me a prude. I like them better battered, cleaned and fried.


Definitely corn meal over flour, if you're gonna batter - go very light on the egg; just a thin brushing (just enough to make the corn meal stick).

Sorry, K - don't mean to hijack yer blog! Like you, I'm just very opinionated about the preparation of smelt. Thanks for the tolerance ... hey, I did defend yer manhood earlier!

Dan Gracia

Hey Kirk, Whats up ? When did you get the night smelt ? They look good !! Best eating when they are fresh .. Call me , Dan Gracia


Love the vids!
Where did you get a hold of those King Fish!
They are a fun fight!, tasty if you know how to prepare them too!

Justin Pelletier

Good meetin ya last month, out in Bolinas, shark fishin.. my daughter loves your videos, She wanted to say something... "good eaten tonight!!!tasty treats for you to eat. how many were there? how did you fish out of that hole while sitting in your car when it was raining? that was awesome!!!you're the master of fishing!! maybe we'll see you out there some day..."
Catch ya next time, keep up the good work!


Hey Guys, thanks for that! Keep checkin in!



My wife found night smelt for sale at Berkeley's Tokyo Fish for about $5/lb. They looked and smelled fresh to me, so I coated them with egg and Panko, fried them up, and re-lived a taste from my childhood. We ate them whole, but I did get a few sand crunchies. They apparently also had day smelt too. I was told they get them from Monterey or Santa Cruz.

I've learned that freshwater pond smelt (wakasagi, H. nipponensis) are a Japanese delicacy, where there are caught on tiny hooks. I believe I've seen them in some East Bay reservoirs, I'm going to see if they can be dip-netted...



i am so glad to see that someone has grown some gonads and put night smet fishing on you tube with the A-FRAME net.my grandfather used to use them long ago and i just doug 3 of them out of my dads garage. they all have holes in them but we took them out anyways. although we didnt have the glorious luck you did in your video we did get a few. i was thinking i was barking up a forgotten techinque! and that i was the only one trying to bring it back! now i have a question for you. were your nets hand made? i believe mine definately are and are atleast 50+ years old. do you know anywhere i can buy a new one or some new netting for my old faithfulls? i have been looking for days online and found nothing.even posted on sniffer asking for any tips. no bites yet so here i am asking you. tips would be greatly appreciated. ok enough already....great video and congrats on your fine catch. if you can help me out shoot me an email.thank you and keep up the good work. Rob


I'd like to give it a try with my son Lorenzo. Do you have suggestions on how to make an "a" frame net and where best to target them?


P.s. what was the particular brand of filet knife you recommended?

henry calibozo

how did you attain one of those A-Frame dip nets i would love to buy two of them for me and my son, my pops bought one of these many yrs ago when i was young and he would stand in the surf in his levis and catch hundreds of fish, i have NEVER seen anyone else ever us this kind of net until now do you have a phone# to be reachesor email address or if u have a d drawing or measurements that i can use to buy the material and make my own what are the dimensions thanks for yor time and patience "Fish On"

henry caibozo


Like the artical about smelt I live near lake Michigan and when I was young we would go smelt and perch fishing at night. Wewould catch buckets of smelt and my Grand mother used to batter them and bake and we would eat them like pop corn and heres one for you did you ever fish with a trolly line for perch where you throw out a line on a small anchor and attach a trolly rig and line with a number of small baited lines attached to bell that would ring when you had a perch on. It was a lot of fun.


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