Taking Care of Your Fish
It’s important to take care of your fish why go through the trouble of catching fish, if you’re going to leave them out in the sun or soaking up water in the bottom of your cooler? Fish that is properly cared for not only tastes superior, but it looks better, too.
The procedure on my boat is the following:
1. I stun the fish with a billy club, you’re not trying to kill it or hit a home run, just a smack just above the eyes will usually do the trick. Remember, stun it to make it easier to handle is the key.
2. We bleed every fish that comes onboard. I take a pair of scissors and cut the gills on both sides of the fish’s head. You can use a knife, however on a bouncing boat, scissors are much safer.
3. I then place the fish on a bleeding line attached to the side of the boat, so it’s just under the water along side, you’re not trolling for seals, keep it close to the boat. The fish is still alive, so the heart will pump all the blood out of the fish into the water making the flesh of the fish much better eating. If you have a macerator pump out on your fish box with water flowing through it, you can do this procedure onboard your boat.
4. After 15 minutes I remove the fish and keep it in a cool fish box on ice if necessary until I’m ready to clean it. This is unless it’s a pink (Humpy) salmon in which case I will clean it immediately and pack it in ice to keep the flesh firm.
5. At the end of the fishing day I clean the fish whole or fillet it, and then place them in a sealed fish bag packed in ice for trip home.
6. At home I trim the fish up, re-wash it and either eat it within a day or vacuum pack it and freeze it to smoke or can later.
These simple steps will really give you some of the best eating fish you have ever tried.