Guts and Glory

April 1, 2014, Department, by Samantha Bartram

An older participant prepares the fish he caught during Delaware Seashore State Park’s Gilled to Grilled program.Throughout the year, Delaware’s Seashore State Park sees hundreds of fishing enthusiasts settle in on its expansive beaches, each hoping to reel in an impressive catch. And while not every hook comes up heavy, some lucky fisherfolk do manage to collect enough summer flounder, king fish, mackerel or striper to make a fine dinner. Seashore Park staff are accustomed to hosting several surf fishing classes to improve visitors’ chances, but this year, they are expanding their offerings to include instruction on how to properly clean, gut and cook a fresh fish. 

“A lot of people were asking, ‘Now what do I do with this fish?’” says Laura Scharle, Seashore Park’s interpretive manager. “After a couple years of hearing more of those types of questions, we decided to throw this new program together,”

The curriculum for Gilled to Grilled is simple — participants learn how to fillet a whole fish and prepare it for dinner. “Once we’ve got some nice fillets, we rinse them off and take them out to grills,” Scharle adds. “While [the students are] grilling, staff members rework the classroom, throw out the fish guts, set a nice table and get the rest of dinner together. When the fish is grilled, they bring it inside and we sit to have a nice meal together.” 

Gilled to Grilled is taught by a park volunteer veteran — “he’s been fishing and filleting fish for 25 years and is very experienced,” Scharle says — and will be offered during several installments this spring.


Samantha Bartram is the Associate Editor of Parks & Recreation Magazine.