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Thread: Processing your Catch

  1. #1
    Member Col. F Rodder's Avatar
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    Default Processing your Catch

    Going to be processing my own fish this year to save a little $$. I have heard several opinions before on what is the best way to achieve a perfect seal if you don't have a good commerical machine. I'm inclined to use the quick freeze before I bag & seal to reduce the moisture. Does anyone have anything to add to this?

  2. #2

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    Try wrapping the fillets with saran wrap prior to vacuum sealing; extra measure of protection plus keeps machine from sucking up moisture; plus we go thru rolls & rolls of paper towels to keep moisture to a minimum; good luck! Jim

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    Member Blue Thunder's Avatar
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    After I fillet my fish I put them in a cooler with layers of old clean towels. This sucks up the moisture and then no problem at all with vac seal. Works good.
    Retirement Plan - Having Fun and Still Learning

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    Default depends on how much you are packing

    I've gone through several of those retail machines and stepped up to a commercial packer (not the chamber type however) last season. It does make a big difference. We do use the paper towel trick however at the sealing point. The cost of the packer has already been saved and I feel paying at least 3 times as much for a chamber unit is questionable.

    I like the ability to use heavy bags and like the wider seal. It also works well for other game than fish.

  5. #5
    Member Col. F Rodder's Avatar
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    Traderjon, plan on doing about #100+ over a week if I can make it out on my Halibut trip, if not more like #75 of Coho. Would love to buy a commerical style vac but only use it once a year when visiting AK, plus would not be easy to travel with.
    Never seen the paper towel trick, sounds like you make a folded piece at seal point as a barrier. Do like the saran wrap idea as an extra barrier as well.

    Thanks, any suggestions are good.

  6. #6

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    We swore off Food Saver about three years ago. Used to be great, but now they're pure junk. Bought their best after it's predecessor only lasted two years and the new one didn't last a season. And NO repair parts available anywhere in the country.

    Next we bought this model. No need to spend money on shipping because it's available from local sources in Anchorage for exactly the same price. And it comes with spare heat tapes and you can buy repair parts off the shelf if you need them. So far we haven't needed either. For the little extra money over FoodSaver, it's miles cheaper in the long run.

    Best part is it's got two pumps and you can do two bags at once. It will "overheat" after a dozen quick cycles or so and quit sucking, but let it cool a few minutes and you're back in action. We do well over 1000# a year between our own fish and game, plus that of visitors.

    And guess what? The seal is so good you don't have to mess around with all the preventive measures to control moisture. Perfect seals in spite of juices being sucked out of the bag. It's a great little machine without the expense of a commercial rig.

  7. #7
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    They had a pretty good display at Sportsman's Warehouse in anchorage this week end. I was there early but it looked like they were setting up a demo. I couldn't find a price on it but didn't look too hard. I have a foodsaver and will continue to use it until it dies. Its an older model, bought about 7 years ago. I put a rolled up paper towel in the deep groove right behind the sealer strip where the suction port is and it significantly reduces the moisture getting sucked into the machine.

  8. #8
    Member salmon_bone's Avatar
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    This is the one I have Vacuum sealer pro 2300 It's a good one, and leaves a wide seal. It works with all bags, I use food saver bags with it, and it works great. Haven't had a seal suck back air yet.

  9. #9

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    Actually that's the same one I've got, rather than the similar model I linked previously. The link looks like the same brand but with small differences. In any case, it's just dandy, and that's the best price I've seen.

    Anyone still using an older model Food Saver, hang onto it and take good care of it. You're not going to be happy with the ones on the market now. They're too big to use as a doorstop and not heavy enough to use as an anchor.

  10. #10

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    I've had a similar experience with foodsaver. I got a nice machine that worked great for one season, and now doesn't seal worth beans. After looking at reviews and everything else, I got a Weston Pro 2300 (just like the cabelas machine) at Trustworthy Hardware in Soldotna for a great price. I'm surprised that nobody has mentioned the extremely low price of bags as a huge perk for the machine. Even in Homer we can get them for about 22 bucks per 100 8x12 bags. No more messing with stupid rolls and making custom bags. We just cut our fish to size, put them each in their bag, fold over the top to limit the amount of air getting in, do a soft freeze in the freezer and then seal two bags at a time until the fish are done. So far, it's been great!

  11. #11
    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    We use blue cotton medical/shop towels instead of paper towels. Put down a couple big bath towels on the table - quick rinse of the fillet then pat dry with the blue towels, put them in the bag and seal with the cabelas model sealer. Works very good. We did 100# of fillet yesterday in an hour while sipping mooses tooth stout.

    I did see the weston in soldotna trusty for 100$ cheaper than what I paid cabelas for mine.........

  12. #12
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    Default The real secret to your packer overheating

    Is cold beer!

    Seriously, at this point, why hurry. The packer Brwnbr is linking too is pretty good and a good dollar value. You can use heavy bags and the vac is good. I only have two seasons on it so far but every part is available for YOU to replace.

    Paper towels - we pat the fillets down just prior to sealing and with this packer have gotten great results.

    Just finished today's catch - five nice and big kenai reds and one small Russian - we're done!

    ...now where is that beer?

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