Four Ways to Keep Your Catch Fresh

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Fishing is a great way to unwind and have fun. It’s good for your body as it allows you to experience nature and get some exercise. It’s also good for your mind to break away from your daily routine.

Whether for recreation or commercial purposes, a fishing trip is deemed a success when a fisherman’s nets pull in a reasonable volume—until that golden catch starts to decay. Fresh fish, once caught, begin to decay instantly since they’re no longer in contact with water or air. This makes keeping a catch fresh a common concern among beginning anglers.

The good news is that there are simple ways to preserve a fish, whether it’s dead or alive. In general, fish that hasn’t been gutted can remain fresh for up to two days if appropriately drained and stored. 

So, how should you immediately preserve your fresh catch on your next fishing trip? Read on to find out!

  • Put Your Catch On Ice

Icing is the most typical way of preserving a fresh catch. It’s a method that keeps the fish at a temperature that’s suitable for its body. However, it should be noted that this method only works after the fish has died. This is because extreme temperatures, such as ice, can harm or kill live fish.

It’s easy to ice your catch. For starters, you’ll need a sturdy cooler filled with solid ice blocks or crushed ice for your fishing trip. Be sure you know about the safety measures when using a cooler to avoid any accidents while on the water. It’s critical to have a decent cooler where your ice will not dissolve quickly. 

Furthermore, it’s recommended to dress your catch before chilling them. That means you must quickly gut it, allow it to bleed out, remove its gills, and thoroughly clean it. Also, this method may not be applicable for large fish if you want to keep them whole. Only a few tiny fish varieties, such as croaker fish, can manage to be preserved on ice in their entirety during your fishing trip.

  • Using Baskets Or Wire Mesh Nets

This is another approach used by commercial fishermen to preserve live fish. This method involves moving your catch to a basket dipped into the water and hung afloat. 

You must ensure that the basket has a cover to prevent the fish from escaping. Additionally, the basket should be large enough so that your catch is not too packed, speeding up the deterioration of its quality. 

The mesh basket must be fastened to your fishing boat for convenient access.

  • Fish Stringing

Fish stringing is a method that involves the use of a line or rope used by fishers to string captured fish. The wire or rope has several needles affixed to it so your fresh catch can be hung and subsequently immersed in water. 

The first step is to run the stringer’s needle through the fish’s mouth. Afterward, set the string back in the water while you resume fishing. Some people tie the fish through their gills, but the mouths are preferable so that the fish can still breathe via their gills. This is a common technique used by commercial fishermen.

Different materials such as rope, parachute cord, and stainless steel may be used to make stringers, mainly depending on the size and weight of your capture. The rope stringer is by far the most popular and widely accessible. However, its only downside is that only one fish can be strung at a time. 

On the other hand, the chain stringer is a chain with several hooks linked to it, allowing a number of fish to be hung at once. Lastly, the stainless-steel stringer is probably the finest form of stringer since it’s more robust, has several hooks, has a highly secure clasp mechanism to prevent the fish from escaping, and won’t rust over time.

  • Corning

Corning is a less popular way of preserving dead fish, and you must know the reason; it calls for a lot of salt. In the height of summer, this is a very practical approach assuming you have enough salt on hand to wash and gut the fish.

Corning entails spreading salt all over the scales and belly of the fish to remove any dampness. Then, cover it with a moist towel to keep it warm. It’s important to remember that fish preserved in this manner will be quite salty. So, you might not need to add any extra salt when it’s time for you to cook it. If you’re looking to preserve a tiny fish or two, this is an excellent approach. But if you’re looking to preserve a bigger catch, corning is not recommended.

The Bottom Line

In this article, you learned about the four tried and tested techniques for preserving a fresh catch. You may have a preferred method or read something new to you. Regardless of your choice, make sure to follow the necessary steps to the T to maintain the quality and freshness of your catch.  

Have fun fishing!


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