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Grilled Bass & Squirrels with a Side of Venison Casserole

With Six Recipes

March 2, 2016
By Vernon Summerlin , Ohio Valley Outdoors

Cool weather is upon us but the grill can still be a useful cooking tool. You may want to pick a sunny day so the cooking chores are more pleasurable.

Catching Cold Water Bass

Because the water is cold this time year, bass prefer smaller morsels and a slow retrieve. Of all the small baits I use, the 1/16-ounce leadhead with crawfish colored hair and a two- or three-inch finesse grub on a 1/16- or 1/8-ounce leadhead are the ones I cast. The former is for working vertical drops and the latter is for working ledges, edges of flats and not quite vertical structures.

Article Photos

The first recipe: Grilled Bass with Butter Sauce. Photo courtesy of

The hair jig sinks slowly. This slow descent keeps the bait in the strike zone longer, tempting Ms. Bass beyond her endurance. You can add a small plastic trailer for more buoyancy. Also you can use a thick diameter line to add resistance to sinking too, but if the water is clear, don't go thicker than eight-pound test mono. FireLine floats, so you may try it for a little extra buoyancy.

The leadhead with a plastic grub crawled along rocky drops is almost impossible for bass to ignore. This bait works well where it will be in contact with the bottom rather than sinking slowly. A 1/8-ounce leadhead will produce more sound than the 1/16-ounce as it is dragged along the structure and over cover.

Four- and six-inch worms rigged Texas style cast with a splitshot about a foot in front of your hook is another excellent finesse bait. It can be made to sink slower than a hair jig by using a small weight, the weight determines descent. It can be used on vertical drops and crawled over cover.

If you want to finesse bass with crankbaits, you need to use smaller lures that imparts their action at a slow retrieve. SLOW is the wintertime rule. You'll have to retrieve at various depths until you locate fish. Chances are that if you find bass at 12 feet, that's where you'll find other bass on similar structure and water conditions.

Whichever bait you prefer casting, offer it temptingly. Keep it in the strike zone until the bass decides, "Yes, I will have just one more bite."

And speaking of one more bite, here're some fine tasting recipes for fish, squirrels and venison.

Grilled Bass with Butter Sauce


2 pounds bass fillets (or fillets of your choice)

3 tablespoons butter

1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/4 teaspoon onion powder

Lemon pepper and salt to taste


Combine onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, lemon pepper and salt in a small bowl. Sprinkle on both sides of fillets. Prepare butter sauce by combining butter, garlic and parsley in a small saucepan. Once butter has melted, remove from heat. Preheat grill for medium-high heat. Place fish on lightly oiled grate, cook for about 5-7 minutes. Turn fish and coat with butter sauce. Cook for 5-7 more minutes. Once fish flakes easily, remove from heat, drizzle with olive oil and serve.

Bass Barbecue


6-8 bass fillets (or fillets of your choice)

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1/4 teaspoon paprika

1/2 cup salad oil

1/4 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup catsup

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper


Combine Worcestershire, paprika, salad oil, vinegar, catsup, sugar, salt and pepper. Place fish in mixture for 30 minutes before grilling. Cook 3 to 4 inches from hot coals on well greased grill for about 5 minutes per side or until fish test done. Brush often with sauce while barbecuing.

Bacon Wrapped Squirrel


Squirrel legs (four per person)


Garlic powder



Minced onion

Hickory smoked bacon


Soak the legs in beer for 2-3 hours. Remove and drain. Sprinkle to taste with garlic powder, pepper, salt and the minced onion. Wrap each leg with bacon. Secure with toothpicks if necessary. Place on hot grill. Cook over medium heat until cooked through.

Easy Squirrel BBQ


4-5 squirrels, cut into serving pieces

Original Allegro marinade

Garlic powder



Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning

Your favorite BBQ sauce


Place meat in a large Ziploc bag and cover with the marinade. Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Overnight is better. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil. Make the foil big enough so you can fold over the top and seal. Place the meat on the foil and season with garlic powder, salt, pepper and Creole seasoning. Wrap the foil over the top and seal. Bake for 2 hours at 350 degrees.

While squirrel is cooking, pre-heat your grill. When squirrel is done, remove it from foil and place on grill. Baste with BBQ sauce. Grill over medium heat until sauce starts to get sticky. Do not overcook! You don't want the meat to get tough. Remove from grill and serve with your favorite side dishes.

Venison Casserole


2 pounds of steak, 3/4-inch thick

6 tablespoons all-purpose flour

Salt and pepper to taste

1 crushed garlic clove

1/8 teaspoon oregano

Canola oil

4 thinly sliced medium potatoes

2 medium sliced onions

2 sliced carrots

3 cups of beef bouillon

1 green pepper cut into rings


Roll tenderized steak in a portion of flour seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, and oregano. Brown in canola oil. Layer steaks in bottom of baking dish. Layer half of potatoes, onions and carrots on top. Sprinkle with remainder of seasoned flour. Layer remaining half of potatoes, onions and carrots over flour. Pour bouillon over top and add pepper rings. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour in 350-degree oven or until vegetables are done.

Cajun Fried Turkey: In keeping with the season, let's season-up a turkey.


1 12- to 18-pound turkey with skin

5 ounces A-1 Sauce

5 ounces Tiger Sauce

5 ounces Heinz 57 Sauce

3 ounces Liquid Smoke

2 cups barbecue sauce

1/2 cup Tony's Creole Seasoning

5 gallons peanut oil (enough to cover turkey in pot)


Thaw turkey completely. Mix A-1, Tiger, Heinz 57, and barbecue sauces with Liquid Smoke and Tony's seasoning and simmer for 30 minutes. Place warm mixture in large hypodermic syringe and inject the bird about every square inch all the way to the bone and push in mixture as you slowly remove the syringe. Refrigerate overnight.

Heat cooking oil to 350 degrees. You must maintain this temperature. Place turkey in a frying basket and lower into oil. Make sure oil completely covers turkey. Deep-fry for 3 to 4 minutes per pound.



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