By Nick Simonson
For Todd Rettig of West Fargo, N.D., the exploration of various waters for his favorite fish species are adventures on par with his efforts in many angling business niches as well. So, it’s no surprise that this North Dakota businessman and inventor would set his sights on making an impact with a new breading for anglers’ catches from his Grandpa Don’s Seasonings line. Following a fish fry for his son’s first birthday party several years ago and the 50 to 100 people in attendance, he and his wife Nicole began tinkering with various breading recipes to find the perfect crispy coating with exceptional taste. It wasn’t long and his fellow anglers, family and friends were asking for samples for their own cookouts.
“We started giving it away, and friends were taking bags of it and bags of it. Everyone was saying we should bring it to market. I thought, ‘well if we’re giving away this much, we should be able to sell a little bit of it,’ so we went into production, did a little packaging and things are going pretty good,” Rettig details.
Rettig is an experienced sonar installer, helping anglers get on the water and find fish. Additionally, he engineered a specialized river anchor he sells to those fishermen looking to stay set on larger, fast-moving flows like the Rainy River, Red River, and Missouri River. His knowledge of how the sonar industry and angling market works, and his love of making new things related to answering anglers’ needs also helped him conceptualize the new breading line, named in honor of his father.
“Grandpa Don was my dad, Donald Rettig. He was really big into fishing. When I was a kid, we spent weeks upon weeks in the boat with a lot of fish fries for friends and he was just a real big influence on it. Before we came to market, he passed away and we decided to honor him a little bit being he got us started in this, got our whole family into the outdoors and a good wholesome sport for all the kids to enjoy,” Rettig relates.
Rettig has his favorite ways to cook fish and explains the finer points of getting the most out of a bag of Grandpa Don’s breading. The first comes with keeping the catch cool, and bleeding fish that are going to be kept. The second comes with storing the fish on ice in a cooler once caught. This not only helps the fillets hold up better when it’s time to clean them back on shore, but it also assists anglers in complying with new rules pertaining to water storage and preventing the spread of aquatic nuisance species via the use of warm livewell water to hold their quarry.
After the catch and before the cooking, Rettig advises anglers utilizing Grandpa Don’s breading to soak their fillets in cold milk, and to use that liquid to help the batter stick to the meat as opposed to using an egg dip which can result in inconsistent coverage and cooking. He advises letting soaked and breaded fillets rest on a plate for a bit before dropping them into 375-degree oil to cook.
“We recommend soaking them in milk first, shaking them in the breading in a Ziploc bag or in a bowl to get an even coating,” Rettig suggests, adding, “let it sit for four or five minutes before you deep fry it to get some of the moisture off the surface of the fish absorbed in the breading, that way it doesn’t steam the breading, and it helps it stick better in your final cook,.”
Made in North Dakota, Grandpa Don’s Seasonings Original Fish Breading can be found at grocery stores, meat markets, tackle shops and other fishing-related establishments throughout North Dakota and Minnesota and can be ordered online at grandpadonsseasonings.com.
Grandpa Don’s Seasonings Original Fish Breading is a new fish breading developed by angler and businessman Todd Rettig of West Fargo, N.D. and is offered online and in stores throughout the upper Midwest. Photo Submitted.