Since Jeff likes to show pictures of his dinner sometimes, here's mine... next to the knife I used to personally KILL it! Would have been a very paleolithic meal if not for the nice Chilean Cabernet I enjoyed with it, and the sausage and peppers... some chicken... one of Emjay's cookies... well, at least I killed and ate some protein. I was very hungry after 20!-12! burpees. (getting farther!)
Sorry I could not get a picture at an earlier stage in the preparation, but I have a pretty nice camera and I did not want to get fish guts all over it.
Fish in question was a good-sized grass pickerel caught in Helderberg Lake. We were visiting some relatives at their lake house. Some of my second-cousins were snatching sunnies out of the water by dipping the lure straight off the dock, then releasing them.
I deplore this! Since so many hooked fish die no matter what you do, I believe in keeping and eating any fish I hook including sunfish, perch, whatever as long as it's a legal species and legal size. Not a lot of people know this, but a 7" sunfish has enough meat for a good-sized taco and the bones and skin come right off when you grill it on an open fire. Mmmm. Fish tacos.
There's no limit on such fish in most waters in New York - or the limit is something ridiculous, like 50 fish - so catch enough to make a meal of it. In my opinion it's the only respectful way to fish. You wouldn't stab a bunny, pick it up so the kids can take a look, then pull the spear out if its leg and let it go to live or die with that wound... would you?
If you don't know how to clean and cook the fish, put it in a livewell and take it to your local Asian market. The one in my neighborhood carries live fish that they slay and prep on-site, I'm sure for a nominal fee they'd prepare your catch.
Oh, and GET A LICENSE, as long as I'm declaiming here. The State spends a lot of money stocking the waters and keeping the fisheries in good shape, so it's the least you can do to pay for the privilege.