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Between the comments posted here and on our _Field & Stream_ Facebook page, we received more than 125 entries in last week’s Best Fish I Ever Ate contest. From restaurant recommendations to secret recipes, the entries covered the gamut of eating the catch–even if someone else was doing the catching or the cooking.

It was tough to pick a winner, but I eventually narrowed it down to the three stories below. Like any good meal, these three were more about the company than about the food. They were all so good that I’m sharing each one here because they’re worth a reread. ****

Mike Stevens wrote on Facebook: On our first wedding anniversary, my wife and I were in Cabo (with no plans on fishing), and out of nowhere she suggests we charter a boat. She caught a nice dorado, and I caught and released a striped marlin. We had the restaurant at our hotel prepare the dorado, and we had it for our anniversary dinner on the beach. My wife caught our first-anniversary dinner!
tothehorse wrote:** I would like to share my best memory that involved fish. My father and I never got along when I was young, but then isn’t that everyone’s story? When I turned 18, I decided I had enough and figured I would show him by joining the military. Yeah that showed him. I didn’t tell him I had joined or that I was leaving. I merely wrote a note, left it on the table, and left. After basic and tech training, I soon after deployed to Iraq and was gone for 18 months. When I returned, almost three years had passed since I had seen my family, and I was both excited and nervous to see them. I got home from the airport and everyone was there to welcome me home–except him. I figured he was still a little upset. That evening he showed up and only said two words to me: “Let’s go.” I was scared to death but went anyhow. We drove down to my Granny’s pond, got out, and started catfishing. We sat there for two hours in complete silence and had only caught one fish. We returned home, still not a word said, and cleaned and grilled the one fish. After eating the silence was broken, as he only said: “Pretty good, huh?” To this day, he has been my best friend and that was the most remarkable fish I have ever eaten.

Amflyer wrote: _It was the summer of my 20th year, and I was faced with some very tough news. I was feeling the weight of the world on my shoulders. I received a phone call from an uncle of mine, with a simple invite: “Lets go to the river and fish.”

We normally have a pretty gregarious relationship; throwing barbs, trading fish stories, and putting down the other’s fishing prowess to bolster the image of our own. I remember that time in the boat being pretty quiet. Just the waves lapping the hull, the sounds of casting and retrieving. Eventually, a feeling of peace began to settle over my young brow.

We took our smallmouth to the cabin, cut the filets into strips, and made “poor-man’s lobster.” Quick-boiled fresh fish in melted butter, with salt and pepper, scooped hot and steaming into our mouth with scalded fingers. I was allowed a single can of cheap beer, and the absence of food and dehydration made me fuzzy around the edges. By the time the beer and fish were gone, so were the high notes of anxiety, and I was able to put things in a bit of perspective.

Thanks, Uncle, for the food, the fishing, the solitude, and the perspective._

It’s really tough to pick a winner from these three outstanding entries, but the FoodSaver goes to…

tothehorse for his honest and poignant story of his relationship with his dad. Congratulations. Please email your address Thanks to everyone for entering. Remember, we still have two more FoodSaver GameSaver vacuum-sealers to give away. Stay tuned for this week’s contest.