There are a number of fish and chip outlets today that still offer ‘lemon fish’ on their menu and it is a popular choice.
The other shark that is of culinary interest is the mighty mako. Revered as a tough gamefish, especially as it grows to 400kg-plus in our waters, it is great smoked and the smaller fish cook well, especially when steaked. Its muscle structure makes it ideal for this, as does its lack of bones.
The shark population throughout the Pacific has been decimated by longliners and they are no longer as prolific as they once were. If you hook and land a mako and have no interest in it for the table, release it (carefully!) unharmed, even if it has just chewed up your favourite lure or snaffled your last remaining livebait set for a marlin! It has an important part to play in the marine ecosystem.
The secret to preparing any shark for the table is to gut, trunk and fin it as soon as possible after landing. This eliminates much of the strong ammonia smell and taste. Any lingering remnants of this pungent taste can be countered by soaking the steaks or fillets overnight in milk.
Get the trunked fish on ice as soon as possible to further enhance its eating qualities. If you haven’t any ice on board, skin the fillets immediately and keep as cool as possible by immersing in salt water.