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Thread: Fishwell Question

  1. #1
    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    Default Fishwell Question

    I have an aluminum Kingfisher. How long can you keep fish in the fishwell and still be fairly sure they will be OK? All day? How about a two day trip?

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    as far as i know, it is not legal to keep live game fish. i believe that any fish retained towards your limit must be killed immediately.
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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    I think he is just talking about the fish box, not a livewell. They will be ok for a day trip, but it would be better to have a cooler with ice and put them on that if out on a long day or overnight trip.
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    I didn't see where he was asking about keeping them alive but rather how long can they be stored in the fishwell and still be safe for consumption. To me it would probably be worthwhile to drag along a cooler full of ice and fillet them up each day and drop them into it but I honestly don't have the first clue about fishwells. My boat just has a plywood floor and none of that fancy stuff.

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    We have a tote like the one they use at Coal Point in my buddies boat. We are never out for more than 8hrs but i take a 5 gallon pail and fill it with cold water from the ocean and pour it over the fish fairly often to make sure they are not sitting in warm bloody water. There is no way i would leave my catch overnight like that i would make sure i cleaned them and put them on ice. Better to be cautious.

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    We go out for at least 2 to 3 days on any given trip and will do a couple of different task depending on the weather and time of the year. I have found that it is always best to flush out the fish hold at least once or twice a day to replace the bloody water and slim with fresh cold water.

    I always clean fish when we are going to harbor up for the night and will get them on ice in the cooler by night fall. We will swing by and pick up some glacier ice that is floating by and it will last the entire trip. I have found that if you don't the fish will start to discolor a bit if you wait to clean and filet for a couple days.

    I have in the past once or twice let it go and wait for the end of the trip to get the fish done and they were alway fine but any more if we have a bunch to do we just head to harbor up earlier to get the work done.

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    Member MRFISH's Avatar
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    The quality of your fish is going to be directly related to how soon you can get them cleaned and the temperature down (iced...). When I'm catching salmon, I remove the guts/gills immediately and ice them down within 15 minutes if I can, but no more than an hour. I'll usually give halibut a little more time to make sure they're good and dead...but no more than a few hours for them.

    I wish bulk ice was more readily available. But lots of ice is the best investment you can make for your fish. It may seem expensive, but it's a lot cheaper than the gas we're burning.

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    .
    I do agree with the cost of gas versus ice cost. Usually we would pick glacier ice up on the way out but with the price of gas this year i am not sure on that it may be cheaper to make it and bring it with on the trips and just go out as far as i we need to catch fish and a bit less sightseeing.

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    It gets quite a bit warmer here in Missouri during my fishing trips. I try to keep my fish as cool (cold) as possible after deciding to retain them. Then clean them every night or at any time we have a break in the fishing.
    To keep the fish in good shape (cool or cold) until I do clean them, I usually freeze up some ice in gallon milk jugs (or anything else to form block ice) and put 3 or 4 of them in a dry cooler. Then when I catch fish I will transfer one or two of the the blocks / jugs to a seperate cooler where I store the fish until cleaning. Has worked very well for me even when the outside temps get in the upper 90s.

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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    Yes, my question is about keeping dead fish the fish box which is in the floor of my boat. I have not spent the night before. But, this year I want to anchor up and was wondering if I should try to wait until the end of the trip to clean fish. I can see that probably in not a good idea.

    In an aluminum boat the fish box should be pretty close to sea temp., so, I have kept fish in there for a single day's fishing before cleaning. Adding sea water and/or can only help.

  11. #11

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    Can you clean your fish at sea? I thought you had to wait to get back to shore with your limit to clean them. Halibut in particular..

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdube View Post
    Can you clean your fish at sea? I thought you had to wait to get back to shore with your limit to clean them. Halibut in particular..
    as long as your fillets are clearly representative of no more than your limit of halibut (i.e. 2 white fillets and 2 brown fillets and 2 cheeks) they may be filleted at sea. i don't know how this may change with the new size limits in SE, as generally fish with size restrictions must be kept whole. everything can be gutted, gilled and belly iced.
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    Great!!! I guess I have some things for my "buddies" to do on the way back to port now while Im driving... Thanks.

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    if you can circulate seawater through it you are golden, slice the gills, let the fish swim around bleeding themselves out and keep things cool and the fish will be fine!
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

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    We have two good size fish boxes that are on either side of the 5.7 GM engine, even though the firberglass is good insulation I am sure those boxes are almost warm. Prefer to use the big cooler back on the swim platform with a bag or two of ice in it, unless things really get out of hand with big fish. We cut the gills to bleed and clean within two to three hours, usually at sea. Fish and Game, at the sportsman show said that cleaning at sea is OK as long as they can tell how many and what species you caught. For plegaic rockfish, I keep a gallon ziplock for the filet skins so they can see that we were not loading up on non plegaic (yelloweye etc)

  16. #16

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    THis might be an option for those that spend lots of time with fish in the cooler...

    http://www.frigibar.com/icebox-kits.htm

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    as long as your fillets are clearly representative of no more than your limit of halibut (i.e. 2 white fillets and 2 brown fillets and 2 cheeks) they may be filleted at sea. i don't know how this may change with the new size limits in SE, as generally fish with size restrictions must be kept whole. everything can be gutted, gilled and belly iced.
    The other part of this is the 4 fillets must be kept whole after removing them; in other words, you can't cut the fillets up into "package" size pieces. Of course, nothing I'm aware of prohibits eating some of them.

    Intuitively, I would think you would need to be able to prove what types of rockfish you caught to prove you didn't exceed your limit of non-pelagic, but I've never seen anything about that. So I just fillet them up, too. And eat some!

    I think you are asking for lower quality fish if you don't take care of them by day's end.

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