Thank You Lord For Mudfish

Craig James | March 31, 2020

Based on the title of this story, I’m surprised and grateful for those who have stopped in to read it. Give me three minutes and it will come full circle… I promise.

There is not a more hated and despised fish in Georgia’s waters to my knowledge than a bowfin. Ugly, nasty, slimy, are some of the kinder ways to describe one, and it goes by a host of nicknames that include cypress trout, dogfish, grinnel, mudfish, and whatever other nicknames anglers give them as they thrash wildly on the bottom of jonboats destroying tackle.

I’ve always hated catching them myself… but that all changed yesterday morning.

I took my two youngest children Colt and Miley to the Suwannee Canal for a quick trip to see if the warmouth were getting ready to spawn. After an hour or so, I had managed to catch several warmouth along with a 14-inch bass that Colt was able to pull from the black water.

But Miley was struggling.

After losing a couple nice fish at the boat and missing several more, frustration was visible on her face. I was doing my best to encourage her to keep fishing hard, but I knew her enthusiasm and attention were quickly dwindling.

Suddenly that all changed.

Her rod bowed down into the water in a hard u-shape, and the fight was on. Drag stripped quickly off of her 202 reel as she frantically tried to pull the fish away from the grass and toward the boat. After seconds that seemed like hours, she managed to boat flip the fish, landing it square in my lap.

Warmouth… no. Bass… no. Slimy, nasty mudfish… you bet.

Miley James with her mudfish that made for an exiting fishing trip to the Okefenokee’s Suwannee Canal.

As I unhooked the fish, Miley smiled ear to ear in the back of the boat, hopping up and down and shouting with excitement over her first catch of the day.

Before I could ask her what we should do with it, she said,

“Put that bad boy in the cooler, we’re eating him for lunch!”

Without hesitation I dropped the fish on ice, not willing to curb my daughter’s enthusiasm about her fish in the slightest. We spent the next hour or so continuing to fish, and Miley managed to catch a few more with her newfound confidence.

After getting home I cleaned and fried all the fish, and made a pot of cheese grits to go along with it. Starting to make our plates I reached for a warmouth opting to pass on the mudfish nuggets in a pile on the right side of the platter. As Miley looked on intently I asked her if we should all try her fish first. With a big smile she nodded, and I grabbed us each a few and we all sat down at the table.

Miley was first to pick it up and take a bite.

“Dad this is so good! I love it!”

I quickly tried a bite myself… and man it was good.

“Dad, we forgot to say the blessing,” Miley quickly reminded me.

I quickly bowed my head and said aloud, “Thank you Lord for your son Jesus, for a great day with my children, for providing us with food for our bodies, and Thank you Lord for mudfish. Amen.”

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  1. blackwaterbill on March 31, 2020 at 4:06 pm

    This story is a really good one, positive spin on an, at times, negative fish. Family focused with a beautiful pictures of beautiful children. The last time Glen & I went to the Alapaha we targeted mudfish when the bass slowed down. Trolling white rope frazzled out on a 1/2 oz spinner bait frame, we caught several between 5-8 lbs. It was my first time to Target the grindle however I have caught dozens of them by accident. I have heard of ways to cook them which people swore we’re good but not have worked for me. I have not tried to cook any in a long time. Keep up the good writing. Bill Prince

  2. bljames on March 31, 2020 at 9:39 am

    She was so happy ❤
    Thank you Lord for mudfish

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