Everyone who fishes has caught a fish, and everyone who catches a fish wants to keep it fresh. But how do you keep a perishable food product fresh until you get home from your fishing trip?
I’ve been fishing my whole life, and I’ve had more than one experience of overloading my cooler on the drive home from the lake only to find that some of my catch has begun to go bad. Here’s a list of tips that will help you to keep fish fresh after catching.
what To do With Fish After Catching
1) Keep fish whole until you are ready to prepare them for storage.
2) Put ice packs in your cooler before adding your fish. If possible, use ice made with distilled water because it will not leave behind any mineral residue that can affect the flavor of your catch.
3) Drain all water from your fish before you put them in the cooler, whether they were whole or gutted. Water will speed up the decay process, and even if it doesn’t make spoilage happen faster, it can affect the quality of your product.
4) Keep in mind that fish will spoil from the head end first, so if you have a fish that is nearly full size, putting the head end in contact with an ice pack or cooler wall will cause it to go bad more quickly. It’s better to lay them down flat on their sides.
5) If you don’t have enough ice packs for your cooler, add a couple of clean water bottles to the mix. They will take up space and make your cooler less stable, but it’s better than putting your catch in danger.
6) Keep your catch cool until you get home. If you have a long drive ahead of you, consider stopping at a supermarket on the way to pick up some ice packs. It’s worth the hassle, and won’t cost much in gas money.
7) If you have friends who are fishermen, pool your resources to keep your catch safe.
8) When you get home with your catch, clean it immediately. Then store it in a glass or hard plastic container, and put it on ice. If you need to hold it for a while before cooking, wrapping portions individually in butcher paper and covering them with ice packs will help keep your catch fresh for at least one more day.
Remember that fish spoils quickly – after just 24 hours of being left unrefrigerated, even the best efforts to keep it fresh will no longer be effective. If you plan on catching a lot of fish and keeping them for more than a single day, stock up on ice packs and learn how to fillet so that it’s easier to care for your catch.
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