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Thread: fish preparation

  1. #1
    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Default fish preparation

    What is the best method for preparing the catch for future consumption after being brought onto the boat. What is the optimum time for the best results. I'm aware that the fish should be bled as soon as possible following its capture. I would hope to take a number of multi day trips out on the water and was curious as too the best method of preserving the catch. I would assume that I will vacuum pack a large part of the catch for future use. With this in mind , do I need to bleed/gut/ fillet and then ice the fish asap after bringing on board ? How long will the fish stay good if kept in ice immediately after catch??? Thanks from Ireland

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    Your wearing us out kid, I'd think a professional fisherman would know how to deal with the catch regardless of the species!
    Mike

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    I usually gut and take the heads off salmon + pack in a cooler with ice. Using this method my salmon have stayed fresh up to 3 days.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The ideal setup if the boat is big enough is to have a small chest freezer powered by a generator and you vacuum pack and freeze the fish on the boat. This is the best setup both because you are freezing the fish as quickly as possible, and once the fish is frozen it doesn't count against your limit the following day(s)

    Next in line would be a large 160qt cooler filled with 50-60#'s chip ice and rock salt to form a brine, and make sure you drain off the liquid so the fish is only on the salted ice, not in the water. Bleed the fish, gut the fish and put it on the ice. Whole gutted fish have the best protection against contaminents and it's always easier/cleaner to fillet the fish at the docks or at home.

    Ideally you'd gut the fish right after it was bled out and ice it, but when the fishing is hot more often you're trying to get the tackle back in the water to take advantage of the bite so will put the fish in a bucket or tub to bleed out and then will ice the fish when the bite falls off. This is usually what I do, and at the end of the day I fillet the fish, put the fillets in gallon ziplock bags or trash can bags for the larger fish and put the fillets on the ice. I like filleting on the boat because I can return the fish carcus to the water, and I don't have to deal with filleting fish at the dock and the fish is already filleted once I get home. You can also fit more fillets in the cooler than whole fish.

    A 160qt cooler full of filleted fish can feed a family for a year, so don't get too caried away. I've had fish on ice in a cooler for up to 4 days. I'd say that is too long unless you salt the ice to drop the temp. Two days on ice is no big deal. Qty of ice compared to qty of fish and outside temps play into the equation. I'd suggest for multi day trips try to concentrate the bulk of the fish you plan to keep for the latter days of the trip, and try and eat up your daily catch from the ealier days of the trip. 2-3 trips a big cooler with plenty of ice and you're fine. 4+ day trips you really need to put thought into how you'll be caring for your catch.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

  5. #5
    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    We have had fish up to 4 days on glacial ice two weeks ago.
    It keeps well and will even freeze the pieces right next to the ice.
    BK

  6. #6
    Member Micky_Ireland's Avatar
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    Thanks paul h and bkmail. It may have sounded a very unusual question to ask but I can assure you my intentions behind it were very straight forward. I have fished catch and release for all species of fish all over the globe and can count on one hand the number of fish I have taken for the table via this trips. Ive have fly fished all over Alaska ( catch and release also, I kept one coho for dinner on the Alaskan peninsula in 2008 ) and consider it an absolute privilege just to be able to fish the fabled waters around the state. Coming from Ireland the idea of catch and release is not something that's subjective , its absolutely imperative as the fisheries have been in stark decline over the last number of decades . Following all these trips my wife and children have always questioned myself as to why I had never brought any of the fish home with me for the table. This of course was anathema to me. I have always felt very privileged just to be able to fish around the state . Following some down time after my last trip one of my colleagues in Ireland remarked to myself about what had led me to Alaska. I started out my fishing career in the small streams in rural county down beside the mourne mountains. They were barely 3 feet wide with little or no plant or fish life. After that I fished stillwaters and then small rivers. Then came the spate rivers and the bigger , tougher rivers in the west of Ireland. Next stop was England, then on to Iceland,. Next thing I know im the 49th state. The holly grail of all fishing. I am in the process of moving my family over to the state to enjoy the beauty ,explore the ocean and basically enjoy what incredible Alaska has to offer. As im sure you are all aware im in the process of selecting a boat manufacturer also. That why I need to get the best information so that I may add extras to facilitate our dream...............Thanks every one for all your help

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    Member ChugiakTinkerer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Micky_Ireland View Post
    .....Thanks every one for all your help
    Thank you for giving us a little perspective. Being in Alaska for so long we begin to take for granted the incredible bounty that she provides. I appreciate you sharing and reminding me how truly great the greatland is.

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