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Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
04-01-2012, 03:42 PM
Post: #1
Lightbulb Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
Here’s a subject that I’d be interested in reading your responses – on how you handle things………

I would imagine that most of us throw back the greater percentage of what we catch, but occasionally it is very nice to enjoy a fish fry, and there are times we should keep a badly hooked fish.

Depending on what facilities are available when fishing, I will either:

- Use a stringer, live well, or fish basket to keep the fish alive until cleaned, or killed/iced.

- Or kill the fish quickly by spiking it, cutting its gills, or breaking its neck – then put on ice. I’ve found the quality of some fish improves if bled out.

- Most will agree that the eating quality of fish degrades rapidly if it is allowed to die either slowly and/or in warm temperatures.

I just love the new low profile stackable coolers that you can get now………good size footprint – yet they have a lower volume (and surface area) to cool - due to their lower height . I freeze a bunch of smaller sized used water bottles with tap water and freeze them to use with one of these coolers for our adventures.

I figure most of us got the cleaning thing pretty much down pat – but what do you do with the fillets or steaks once that’s done?

Here are my various approaches:

- If I plan to cook the fish within a day or so – I wash it very well with cold water, dry it just a little on paper towels, and then wrap it in plastic wrap and place it on the lowest shelf of the fridge (it’s colder there).

- If I hope to cook it within a month or so……….. Wash it, dry it, wrap each piece separately in plastic wrap squeezing out all the air, then wrap these small packages together in meal size lots in tin foil and write the type of fish and date on the foil with a marker. I try not to get these packages too thick – so they freeze fast. I place these in a suitable size zip lock bag and freeze.

- If it may be much more than a month ………wash it very well and put meal size lots in a large plastic freezer bag with a masking tape ID tag – add enough water to cover all the flesh, squeeze out the air a bit – then rest this bag sideways in a shallow baking dish, or tray, to form it into sorta of a flat rectangle……… and freeze it – once frozen I remove it from the dish or tray.

- I try to cook all kept game fish within 3 months. I’ve read that it’s still quite edible after that – but I think the quality degrades the longer it’s kept.

- I try to thaw all frozen fish in our refrigerator overnight before cooking, and only use running cold water as a last resort.

- I’ve heard that vacuum sealing works better – but my approach has worked so far……..

Comments?

Cheers,

OldTimer

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>
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beaser (08-26-2012)
04-02-2012, 10:45 PM
Post: #2
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
I use a livewell or a stringer, relocate to ice for the drive home, then I just fillet them as is.

I always eat mine the day of, or the following day of catching.

I don't keep alot of fish though, my family is too big for it to be a convenient meal.
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06-23-2012, 01:39 PM
Post: #3
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
I use a stringer or if im using minnows i just use a bucket.

I also eat mine the day they are caught but that doesnt happen very oftenTongue
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beaser (08-26-2012)
08-26-2012, 12:04 AM (This post was last modified: 08-26-2012 12:12 AM by beaser.)
Post: #4
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
(04-01-2012 03:42 PM)OldTimer Wrote:  - Use a stringer, live well, or fish basket to keep the fish alive until cleaned, or killed/iced.

- Or kill the fish quickly by spiking it, cutting its gills, or breaking its neck – then put on ice. I’ve found the quality of some fish improves if bled out.

OldTimer

Could you explain how to "bleed" a fish and expand on the methods of killing the fish. I had always delivered a sharp blow above the eyes. I know very little and would appreciate the correct methods.

What you say makes perfect sense. When freezing or chilling it is advisable to do so as fast as possible. Chilling by using crushed ice and freezing as quickly as possible. Slow freezing causes the ice crystals withing the flesh to be overly large, this ruptures any cell structure and turned firm meat to mush. (I was a refrigeration field engineer for over 40 years.) I chill my beer quickly simply because I am impatient

It breaks my heart to see someone take a beautiful steak or any meat and stuff it into a freezer incapable of a fast freeze. If your ice cream is rock hard then your freezer has the ballz.

Edit
Are all stringers created equally? What should I look for?
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08-27-2012, 03:46 PM (This post was last modified: 08-27-2012 03:47 PM by MuskieBait.)
Post: #5
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
To bleed a fish, simply make a cut to the flesh connecting the two sides of the gills. There is a major artery between the gill flaps just behind the throat area. After you make that cut, the head of the fish should dangle a little bit. You can just hang the fish on the stringer in the water and let it bleed out. It usually only take a minute or two for the fish to bleed out. Once it bled out, you can put the fish on ice.

For some saltwater fish, they go to the extreme. They would bleed the fish as I described above, and after the fish bleeds out, they would remove the internal organs including the gills. They then stuff the now empty internal cavity with crushed ice and cover the whole fish with crushed ice. Even better is a saltwater/ice slurry. The salt in the water allowed the temperature to drop below 0 degrees C without freezing into water crystals, so you fish is kept below freezing temperature without having ice crystals form. This is great for keeping fish in top quality as well. It is impossible to do this in freshwater situations though...so bleed, gut/gill and stuff the cavity with crushed ice is you best bet.

Malama o ke kai

Caution - Objects in picture are smaller than they appear. I am genetically predisposed to make fish look bigger.

Life List: 577 species and counting (2016: 91 new species)
http://muskiebaitadventures.blogspot.ca/...-list.html
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08-27-2012, 04:14 PM
Post: #6
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
KILLING:

The brain of most fish is located between its eyes and behind them (see pic below).

   

Your method of striking the fish with force in this area will kill the fish, but may take a few whacks to crush the skull on large fish. There is nothing wrong with using this method.

I picked up doing the brain spike thing while ocean surf fishing. (For me – it’s easier, and I don’t need to carry a club/pipe). You can use a spike, or a hefty short bladed knife. I use a knife. I do not recommend using a flexible fillet knife (it might glance/bend/deflect and slip off into you). You can make your own spiking tool by setting a 3.5” or 4” galvanized nail through a 5” length of dowel or old broom handle, then sharpen the nail’s point. A cork works as a good guard on the sharp end.

   

Spiking Procedure - Grab the back or tail of the fish and rest its jaw on a hard surface. Place the point of your tool on top of the fish’s head centered behind its eyes on an angle – then forcefully jab the tool in and through the skull about an inch or so (not all the way through its head- just a bit). Rock the tool back and forth and side to side to destroy the brain - killing the fish. Typically the fish will stiffen, open its mouth, the pectoral fins will lift and shudder, the fish will immediately expire, and then the body and the fins will relax in a few moments. I use a knife so that I can (if needed) – cut back and forth a bit, or turn the blade 90 degrees and re-insert it.

   

**

On smaller fish (bass, panfish, trout, etc) you can alternately break their neck by holding the fish in one hand across its side with the belly facing away from you……………. Grasp its head with your other hand……….. quickly and with force fold the fish’s head backwards until the spine snaps. Instant kill, - some “bleeding” will occur as the gills will tear a bit. This method gets tough to do, or impossible, on big fish.

**

BLEEDING:

I don’t bleed all my kept fish – but I find it does make a big difference on the oiler species - trout, salmon, whitefish, bluefish (an absolute must here), mackerel, sea trout………. And any bass over 3 pounds, or pike over 6 pounds. I’ve never seen much difference with walleye.

You can either totally cut the fish’s throat and gills through to its spine – which I think is over doing it……… or simply lift one of its gill plates and use a knife or snips to cut right through one of the gill arches (blood will spurt & flow immediately). Fish will die very quickly using either method, but it is not instant.

**

STRINGERS:

I own two types of stringers:

– the old fashioned galvanized steel chain deal that works just great, mine is also rubberized. (I once tried one of those plastic snaps on nylon rope assemblies – but found that I definitely prefer the metal one.)

and - the cheap nylon cord type that has the metal needle bar on one end and a metal ring on the other. I’ve gone through more than a few of these over the years and advise that you must carefully check, and regularly inspect the connection to the metal ring – if this connection is loose fix it or get a new one. TIP – get one that has sufficient length, and cord diameter, to suit your purposes. With a bunch of fish on it - a simple improvised handle can be made by winding the cord around a short stick.

On my muskoka bass adventures (in a boat on a lake) I use a floating fish cage basket.


Hope that helps

Cheers,

OldTimer

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>
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beaser (08-27-2012)
08-27-2012, 08:24 PM
Post: #7
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
Thank you gentlemen!
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05-27-2014, 06:42 AM
Post: #8
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
This is the best way according to experiments done by some guy along with professionals.
Proof
http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/08/11/...wn-part-1/
http://www.cookingissues.com/2009/08/13/...wn-part-2/
This is a better guide to doing it
http://www.anglers-secrets.com/how-to-keep-fish-fresh/
http://www.anglers-secrets.com/what-clos...-the-fish/
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08-26-2016, 07:12 AM
Post: #9
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
Since my last post here I have been using a vacuum sealer for freezing meats and fish.

.... much better than freezer bags - freezer burn is negligible and storage life is greatly extended. (add 3 months)

Thaw in fridge......... No smell till cut open.

Proper preparation prior to sealing is still very important.

Cheers,

OldTimer

<>< I once gave up fishing. It was the most terrifying weekend of my life. ><>
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11-06-2016, 01:34 PM
Post: #10
RE: Kept Fish - Handling and Storage
Gregian thanks for posting that article. Its a must read for every anglers
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