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Thread: Bleeding Salmon

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    Member Tomcat's Avatar
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    Post Bleeding Salmon

    A recent episode of Larry Csonka's outdoor show "North to Alaska" featured a commercial gillnet operation around Fire Island near Anchorage. As I recall, the crew hauled in more than 40 kings during a 12-hour span.

    While watching the program, a couple of items peaked my interest:

    * Bleeding fish - rather than pulling or slashing the gills, the preferred technique was to the slit the throat. It appeared to be quite effective and may be a proven method worth adopting. Anyone like this way better?

    * Recreational fishing around Fire Island - fish were netted within a few feet of the shoreline. For anglers with a boat, I'm inclined to think that they could find success by either trolling in that area or simply casting from the bank. Is the island considered public land and are the waters that surround it open to sportfishing?

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Wow they got an opener where kings were around thats awesome! Its open to fishing, and fire island is public land as far as I know, its just mud central and the second biggest tides in the world so take that into account
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Fire Island is owned by CIRI. There are a few set net sites along the beach, not sure if they are leased or what.

    The north shore is good gravel, the rest are mud. The tide moves very fast, in & out and up & down (the beach). Keep a good eye on your boat, it will either go dry or be offshore in a hurry. I learned the old fashioned way, I drug my boat back to the water.
    As dirty as the water is, I don't know how the fishing is. It's not very productive at another Cook Inlet beach I have fished. Just for grins, I dipped a few kings off the beach. I let them go, but my friend was impressed.
    There is pretty good agate hunting on Fire Island, get some pretty red ones. The north shore is a good place to build a campfire and look for pretty rocks. Cook up some hot dogs for the kids, do a little beach combing, etc.
    I might have to throw in the rod next time.
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    Tomcat, I have seen bleeding by three methods; 1). perpendicular cut on gills; 2). throat cut; and 3) the artery on the tail. I will usually use the gill cut because the fish are easier to handle, are less likely to get dirt, sand, etc in the guts, and will not require more cleaning later especially when on the shore.

  5. #5

    Default Why?

    Bleeding a Red meat fish is a waste of time, I never bleed Salmon, only white meat fish like Halibut, Sturgeon, etc. I would bet you could not tell the difference between bled and unbled Salmon steaks when eating them. Try it.
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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    I bleed my salmon just because its easier to clean them, ie theres no blood to mess with when gutting them
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Question bleeding fish

    hey frank...april fool, right? i mean you have got to be kidding!!

    bleeding fish is not about appearance, it is about quality and flavor. the first thing to "go bad" is the blood. that is why bled and iced fish command a higher price. blood tastes skanky, and the fish won't last in the freezer.
    using your logic there is no reason not to save bloodshot meat...tell you what, you can have all mine next fall.<grin>
    the most graphic example of what happens to an unbled salmon was when i saw a white king that had not been bled, the flesh looked like an albacore.
    EVERY charter operator i know ALWAYS bleed their salmon, and many of them carry ice too.
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    Default Bleeding fish

    I think bleeding fish may be more about aesthetics than anything else. I do not have a clue what the commercial guys do with their catch other'n put it on ice. Frozen salmon doesn't have a very long shelf life in the freezer because of it's high fat content. The fat oxidizes and the flesh turns a greyish white, just like any other meat. I suspect some of the guides 'bleed' their clients catch as the client knows little about Alaskan fishing and they are very suggestive to this idea. I've a friend who cuts the Halibut's tail immediately, then tosses it in the deadwell. I don't. When we're standing side-by-side at the cleaning table, my halibut fillets are a nice translucent color while his are a sickly white. Now, there may be no difference in quality, but aesthetically speaking, my fillets are more appealing. As soon as a fish dies, it begins to deteriorate. It's best to chill it to near freezing immediately, then get it processed and frozen quickly as well. I may try bleeding a salmon, just to try a taste comparison, but I don't plan any long term studies on the effects of bleeding and storage life of frozen salmon. I either eat it or give it away first. As for consuming bloodshot meat, why, that'd be just like eating a big thick, juicy, ribeye steak cooked rare!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by profishguide View Post
    Bleeding a Red meat fish is a waste of time, I never bleed Salmon, only white meat fish like Halibut, Sturgeon, etc. I would bet you could not tell the difference between bled and unbled Salmon steaks when eating them. Try it.
    I can tell the difference. Bled salmon keep longer in the freezer without going bad, no doubt about it. I have done a side by side comparison, and there is no question that bled salmon keep better. I always cut the gills on every fish I catch.

    -Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by cghuntcms View Post
    I think bleeding fish may be more about aesthetics than anything else. I do not have a clue what the commercial guys do with their catch other'n put it on ice.
    the boat I worked on bleed all or of our fish (troller).
    I can tell the diffrence between a bleed and a not bleed fish bleed fish taste so much better then unbled.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cghuntcms View Post
    I think bleeding fish may be more about aesthetics than anything else. I do not have a clue what the commercial guys do with their catch other'n put it on ice. Frozen salmon doesn't have a very long shelf life in the freezer because of it's high fat content. The fat oxidizes and the flesh turns a greyish white, just like any other meat. I suspect some of the guides 'bleed' their clients catch as the client knows little about Alaskan fishing and they are very suggestive to this idea. I've a friend who cuts the Halibut's tail immediately, then tosses it in the deadwell. I don't. When we're standing side-by-side at the cleaning table, my halibut fillets are a nice translucent color while his are a sickly white. Now, there may be no difference in quality, but aesthetically speaking, my fillets are more appealing. As soon as a fish dies, it begins to deteriorate. It's best to chill it to near freezing immediately, then get it processed and frozen quickly as well. I may try bleeding a salmon, just to try a taste comparison, but I don't plan any long term studies on the effects of bleeding and storage life of frozen salmon. I either eat it or give it away first. As for consuming bloodshot meat, why, that'd be just like eating a big thick, juicy, ribeye steak cooked rare!
    We didn't even put em on ice we'd throw em in brailer bags then they end up in sltwater on the tender within a hour of picking em
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Member ak_powder_monkey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AKducks View Post
    the boat I worked on bleed all or of our fish (troller).
    I can tell the diffrence between a bleed and a not bleed fish bleed fish taste so much better then unbled.

    THis is also why trollers get 2 or 3 times as much as gillnetters better quality meat
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    Default That bleeding salmon thing

    I've never been out on a commercial boat, only occasionally thought it might be fun. However, the many times I've seen drift nets retrieved around Main bay and other sets, the fish were already dead when they were removed from the net. Yeah, our saltwater is cold but again, just as soon as the fish dies it starts to deteriorate. Then if it's not refrigerated immediately or placed on ice........ I don't think you can bleed a dead fish. I know even less about long lining but saw (on TV!) where the fish still appears to be alive as it is gaffed to be brought on board, but don't have a clue....

    The first thing that starts to deteriorate is the digestive tract.

    I guess I'll hafta' bleed one or two and see if I can detect the difference in quality/flavor that's if I can a fishing partner to hold my flopping fish while I cut it. I don't see much value in bleeding one that I've already 'bonked.'

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    I've usually bled fish. I have fishing buddies who don't and it sure is a bloody mess when they fillet them. I like the flavor of the ones I do bleed better but thats just me.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cghuntcms View Post
    I know even less about long lining but saw (on TV!) where the fish still appears to be alive as it is gaffed to be brought on board, but don't have a clue....

    I don't see much value in bleeding one that I've already 'bonked.'
    Two things - First, long-line caught halibut are very much alive. We gill and gut them right when the come on the boat, which can be quite a fight when they decide to flop around. I suppose you could say that we bleed them, but we also gut them at the same time. They'll sometimes still be flopping in the fish hold on ice 20 minutes after we cleaned them.

    As for bleeding one you've already bonked, it is still worthwhile as the heart will often continue to beat. Have you ever cleaned a halibut and watched the heart still beating while laying on the cleaning table? Same idea. The brain may basically be dead after bonking, but the heart will continue to pump for some time. I usually bleed my fish without bonking first (just grab it behind the head and hold on), but sometimes I'll bonk first and it is still plenty effective.

    -Brian

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    Default Bleeding fish

    I did a little checking on grading wild salmon as to quality. It seems live fish are bled to improve the appearance of the flesh. Immediate icing is the most important aspect of quality salmon & shelf life. Bleeding reduces bruising which reduces quality, kinda' like those bad bonks, I guess. I found nothing that indicates bled salmon taste better. I usta' inspect, grade, & buy agricultural products such as eggs, pork bellies, shrimp, fish, lamb, and carcass beef as a federal inspector.

    I don't know how long a salmon's heart continues to beat after being bonked. I guess that might vary with the severity of the bonking. Not too many of my halibut make it to the cleaning table alive but I generally remove the fillets without studying the heart. I'll check the stomach contents to see what they're eating in any particular area. I guess the strangest thing was a partially digested scrunched-up beer can.

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