For some people, fishing is what defines summer. They love nothing more than hanging out on a boat angling for whatever bites. It’s even better when you bring home an amazing catch for the dinner table.For some people, fishing is what defines summer. They love nothing more than hanging out on a boat angling for whatever bites. It’s even better when you bring home an amazing catch for the dinner table.
Fish has delicate flesh that deteriorates when exposed to heat and air, so knowing how to store your fish once you catch it is important to making it last until you eat it. Fish that is properly stored is tastier and retains its nutritional value better than fish that has been stored in sub-ideal conditions.
Catching your fish is the exciting part, but what you do next will determine if you have a great offering for dinner or a slimy, mushy mess.
1) Figure out your plan
If you are catching only one fish and leaving it at that, leave it alive on the hook and bring it with you back to shore that way. The longer the fish stays alive, the fresher it will be on your dinner table.
If you’re bring in more than one fish, you’ll have to figure out how to manage multiple catches. You can have a live holding tank on your boat, but be careful not to overcrowd it. Fish can become hurt in a holding tank if your boat goes over choppy water, so bear that in mind.
You can also dispense with your fish on the boat with a club, knocking them out with a hard, swift blow. Once your fish is dead, you’ll need a container set up to pile your prizes in.
2) Ice ’em
Surrounding dead fish with ice keeps heat and air off their delicate flesh, preserving it longer. Crushed ice is preferable because it covers the fish more completely. If possible, use an ice bucket with drainage in the bottom so you can allow melted water to empty out, adding fresh ice as you go. Two pounds of ice for every pound of fish stored is a good rule of thumb to go by.
3) Remove the innards
Take a filleting knife out with you on the boat to remove the gills and internal organs once you’ve killed the fish. This helps them preserve better and takes care of some of the prep work for you before eating. Changing ice constantly means your fresh fish won’t be soaking in briney water, and that they will retain their firmness, texture, and flavour when served.
Knowing how to preserve your fish is the difference between a mushy, inedible fillet and an unforgettable meal that you contributed to in the most primal of ways. The important thing to bear in mind is that fresh fish is delicate and prone to deterioration when exposed to elements above the water. This will help you maximize your catch and help you enjoy the whole process that much more.
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