Fishing Club Fries Up Fishalicious Fun

Getting our annual fish fry fix

Scott Baker

For many, the transformation from winter to spring is noted by the bloom of daffodils or the arrival of the first robin. But at the Ranch, it’s the much-anticipated annual Fish Fry celebrated by the RR Fishing Club. Let’s clarify—fried fish is not a fish fry. A fish sandwich, baked fish, and grilled fish are not a fish fry. A fish fry is not just about eating fish—it’s a fish event!

Typical anatomy of a fish fry? First, beer-battered and deep-fried catfish, sand bass, crappie, or striper. (And only a handful of people get to be a part of making the dish of honor: Scott Baker, Randy Shoff, Carl Caruso, and Dick Cooley.) Next, the potatoes—always, always double-fried French fries. Then the enhancements: crisp coleslaw, savory-sweet baked beans, and an assortment of condiments: spicy-hot cocktail sauce, thick tomatoey ketchup, and tangy tartar sauce.

Primary rule of a fish fry? There’s never, ever buying frozen and pre-coated fish. We start with naked fish caught in our Texas area lakes with each filet hand-dipped in batter. The best coating is light as air. Our magic? Filling it with air as we slowly mix beer into the batter, which traps little bubbles of carbon dioxide. Then it’s boom, boom, boom—dip it, shake it, drop it, fry it. Finally, tables packed with platters of crispy-crusted fried fish waiting for everyone to enjoy.

The Fishing Club’s Fish Fry won’t win any Michelin stars, nor boost the club onto the pages of Bon Appetit. It isn’t for the award-bestowers or the trendsetters. The Fish Fry is for us, just a few folks who love fishing. It’s the genuine, old-fashioned thing in an age of culinary trend-chasing. It’s a no-frills way of eating—breaded, fried, and eaten with glee. It’s a break from the world’s demands and a place to commune with friends old and new.

The Fish Fry is held just once a year, but there are plenty of other group outings sponsored by the Fishing Club sure to keep any angler happy. You must be a member to attend these events, but all are welcome to join the club or attend the meetings, which are held the second Wednesday of each month at the Wildhorse Grill Boardroom at 4 p.m. For any inquiries, contact [email protected] or Scott Baker 214-334-7664.