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.

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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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