Handling Fish

April 27, 2015 by  
Filed under General Fishing Tips

If you plan to return your catch to the water, handle it as little as possible because the slime coating of the fish protects it from disease. If you are intending to eat your catch, your first task is to kill the fish immediately, either by a sharp blow with a blunt instrument (the heel of your knife or a small hammer) between or above the eyes, a knife-stab in the same spot, or by breaking the bridge across the throat and bending the head back. The last process helps to bleed the fish, which improves the final eating quality of some species.

holding fishIt is advisable to have an old towel to hold a landed fish, and a pair of pliers to remove the hook. This is a tricky process, as some fish such as flathead have protective spines and spurs that can inflect a wound. Many tropical fish, such as stonefish, red rock cod, butterfly cod and fortescue, have poisonous spines that can cause severe illness.

You should immediately remove the gut and the gills of the fish, but leave the scales on to keep the flesh moist. Gutting is simply done by making a shallow cut from the throat to the anus and scooping out the entrails with your knife. Fun the knife along each side of the backbone to remove any remaining pockets of blood. Don’t cut into the gut. The fish should be washed to remove external slime and placed on ice; within 5 to 15 minutes of capture in the tropics, where fish flesh denigrates rapidly.

Shakespeare Crusader Spinning Combo

Shakespeare Crusader Medium Spinning Combo

At the end of the day you must complete the job of cleaning the fish and preparing it for the table. You need a scaling tool, a strong working knife and a fine, sharp scaling knife. Once you have scaled the fish the easiest way to fillet it is to cut the fish behind the head down to the backbone and then flatter the knife and cut along the bone towards the tail with a sawing motion, taking the fillet and the skin at the same time. Next you can remove the skin by making a cut at the tail and, while holding the skin with one hand, cut along the skin with a flattened knife. Many fish have oily skins that affect the taste of the flesh.

Finally, wash and dry the fillet thoroughly and, if refrigeration is not at hand, roll it in plastic to keep it airtight.

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Hook to Cook

April 19, 2015 by  
Filed under Fishing for women

The preparation stage is never a enjoyable as the act of fishing itself. However, the correct preparation will go some way towards making the eating as enjoyable as the sport. In hook to cook the three most important steps are killing, cleaning and storing.

A fresh fish is one that has been caught, landed and killed quickly and without stress. It has been bled and gutted in clean water using a clean knife. Straight after the cleaning it has been laid in a slurry of ice and salt water in an esky or similar and looked before the ice melts.

This is truly an experience worth trying because there’s nothing quite like it, and once you have experienced the flavour, no other fish will taste the same.

Fish Flesh

In cooking, the flesh is the part of the fish in which we are obviously most interested. In some fish, such as john dory, the flesh accounts for only 25% of the whole fish. However, the fish carcass should not be wasted. Heads and bones, for instance, can be used to make fish stocks and soups.

fish on plateFish flesh is easily digested and is generally delicate in texture. It should never be overcooked or dried out. The muscles are fragile when heated. It is a nutritious food, rich in protein and vitamins, low in carbohydrate and cholesterol.

Fish species vary in flavour, and generally the white-fleshed fish have milder flavours, which the darker-fleshed fish are richer in taste and require more technique in preparation and cooking.

Killing your fish

There has been much research in this area, and yet nobody is sure whether fish suffer pain as we do. However, it is known that fish do experience stress, which in turn releases lactic acid to the blood supply and consequently has a detrimental effect on texture and taste. Apart from the undesirable affect on table quality, the fish does not deserve to suffer, and it is to everyone’s advantage to kill quickly.

Generally, one quick blow to the top of the head with a blunt instrument will kill the fish outright. If you can’t bring yourself to do this, cut its throat and bleed it, or throw it back while it is still alive. If you plan to return the fish to the water, handle it as little as possible because the slime coating on the fish protects it from exposure to various diseases.

Cleaning your fish

All fish should be bled immediately after they have been killed, and then gutted and washed. Scaling and skinning the fish can be safely left util you are ready to prepare the fish for cooking. The skin and scales help extend the life of the flesh, and skin can be removed later in one swift action with a knife.

Wild River Tackle Tek Compact Backpack

Wild River Tackle Tek Compact Backpack


To bleed most fish, cut the throat below the gills and bend the head back, which in turn breaks the spine.


To remove the gut, lay the fish on its side, insert the point of the knife into the vent and slit the stomach open, turning the knife towards the centre of the gills. Using a knife, a spoon, or your hand, forcefully pull out everything that is inside. Remove any blood vessels along the inside of the backbone and cut out any other red meat, gills, etc.


once gutted, the flesh of the fish is exposed to attack by bacteria and it is very important to wash the fish thoroughly in clean water. The worst place for fish cleaning is on or around slipways and loading ramps.

If you leave cleaning and gutting your fish until returning to land, there is a chance that the gases emitted from the gut will begin to spoil and taint the flesh. It is for this reason that the cleaning and gutting is best done as soon as possible after killing your fish.

Storing your fish

Fish is best consumed as soon as possible after being caught. Fresh fish should never be put in a bag, as this speeds up the decaying process. Leave the scales and skin on and lay the fish flay on a slurry of ice and salt water.

If freezing your fish, they can be put into plastic bags prior to freezing. Remember, some fish species do not freeze well. Trivially, a delicious fish fresh, is almost inedible after freezing. Some fish that do freeze well: trout, deepwater fish, and firm white-fleshed fish such as snapper.

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