L>If Keeping a Fish to Eat, Do It Properly! - FAOL"s Our Man In Canada #319
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October 3rd, 2005

If Keeping a Fish to Eat, Do It Properly!By Vera Jones, BC

IT"S A FACT THAT MOST FLY FISHERS PRACTICE CATCH-AND-release, but many save part of their capture for consumption. After all, shocking as it may seem to those who advocate strict catch-and-release for all fish at all times, the original intent of fishing was not for enjoyment, however to put food on the table. And for some anglers in some cases, this is still the case; however, those who pick to fly fish reap the best of both people.Compliance via fishing regulations and also ethical worths aside, some anglers release everything they catch simply because they do not prefer the taste of fish. I can not aid but wonder if the factor for their dischoose can be concerned having never before tasted fresh, correctly cared-for and also ready fish. Unfortunately, a lot or fish is wasted because anglers do not follow a couple of easy actions to encertain it stays in prime problem.

Although it"s impossible to cover field care and also storage for all fishing cases, tright here is one practice that have to constantly be avoided: Never, ever, place live fish on stringers. The anxiety of being captured then dragged approximately in the warmer surconfront water is often sufficient to perform them in, and when a fish dies the flesh starts absorbing water through osmosis. Immediately! For this exact same reason, dead fish�uncleaned or cleaned�need to never before be stored in water.Anglers that traditionally save fish for consumption know the worth or being well all set ahead of time. If wading or fishing from shore, a wstove wicker creel or canvas bag serves to lug their capture. A creel gives ventilation, and can be lined through greenery prefer ferns or willow branches, which keeps the fish separated so the air moves openly in between them. An alternative is to carry a few sheets of coarse, clean burlap, which deserve to be dampened, squeezed reasonably dry, then crumpled up and placed in between the fish. A canvas creel should likewise contain greenery or burlap, but has an added advantage�it can be periodically dipped right into the water to wet down the exterior. Evaporation of the water then gives a cooling result to the internal.Never location dead fish in direct sunlight to dry out, in a plastic bag to prepare in its own quickly decaying juices, or in the rubberized pouch of a fishing vest for the exact same factor.Anglers fishing from boats primarily have aboard an insulated cooler or box containing ice, either cruburned, blocks, or cubes in plastic bags. Crushed ice is ideal as the fish can be completely covered and also layered, chilling them thoabout. Frozen gel packs are additionally suitable, and can be reoffered as often as crucial after washing them off and refreezing the contents.The best cooler has actually a plastic, lumber or steel grid that fits in the bottom, which permits ice water and also fluids from the cleaned fish to trickle out via a drain tap. A cooler must be lengthy sufficient to permit big fish to be lhelp right, as rigor mortis (stiffening of muscle tissue) occurs after fatality. Cleaning or filleting a bent or curved fish is hard, and straightening it out tears the flesh apart.Once a decision is made to store a fish, it have to be eliminated as easily and humanely as possible. In many cases, a sharp blow to the height of the head will suffice, however some saltwater species like rockfish, flounder and halihowever seem nearly indestructible. They are ideal stunned, then their gills cut to bleed them.Carry a sharp knife to bleed and clean your catch. If you can"t clean a fish ideal amethod, the following quick method of bleeding it offers a momentary solution. Hold a fish by its head so the tail hangs dvery own. Insert a knife blade cross-ways with the height of the gills, then cut downward to the throat by adhering to the curve of the gill. Grasp the wrist of the tail and conveniently rotate the fish upside-dvery own. The amount of blood that gushes out is surpclimbing, and also it takes only a few secs to drain nearly completely. If in a boat, this last action must be done while holding the fish over the water�and also do not concern, the blood is biodegradable. This simple procedure takes just a couple of secs, but rerelocating blood from the flesh enhances its quality and is additionally of benefit for irreversible frozen storage.A fish must be cleaned or filleted as shortly as possible, yet this isn"t always feasible. My only advice right here is that while cleaning a fish, take treatment not to puncture the innards, for the contents will taint the flesh. Also, ensure that you rerelocate every one of the gills and also kidney�that dark, congealed bloodlike sexpedition along the backbone�for these are the initially organs to begin decaying.Rather than immersing a fish in water to wash it off, rinse it easily via sprayed water, then wipe it clean with a damp towel or paper toweling. If there is no spray accessible, sindicate wipe it clean and package it for storage.At residence, fish stores well for a day or two in the refrigerator. Place smaller fish in a resealable plastic bag nestled in a container of ice. Drain the container and also replace the ice as crucial. Alternatively, line a container via a dampened towel or paper towels, place the fish on optimal, then cover the container through plastic wrap.Freezing fish at home needs proper packaging products that carry out good barriers against oxygen and also water vapor. Polyethylene plastic bags (favor breview bags) and also wax paper don"t work-related because they are as well porous. "Cling wraps" like Saran Wrap carry out the required obstacle, plus they cling tightly to the fish for this reason discouraging air pockets. Aluminum foil is additionally nonporous, however as it punctures easily it must be offered just as an initial wrap.There are a number of ways to freeze fish successfully. For short-term storage, press cling wrap or foil over the fish to squeeze out the air. A additional outer wrap is important � I recommfinish heavy freezer paper that is waxed on the inside and allows creating the contents and also day on the exterior. Conversely, the fish can be placed in a polyester "freezer" bag (others are not suitable). Then submerge the bag in a sink or container of cold water so regarding squeeze out the air. Seal the bag and usage a second wrap over it.Glazing fish with a coating of ice isn"t practical for home usage because it takes time and also a really low freezer temperature, yet a comparable technique supplies Tupperware or similar plastic containers and enables for permanent storage. Placed fish and a bit of water in the container, then location it in the freezer. When frozen, add sufficient water to cover the fish. The previous little bit of water will anchor it so it won"t float. Refreeze. Top up with water if any type of component of the fish protrudes from the ice. Another long-term storage procedure is to place fish in a polyester "freezer" bag. Squeeze out air, seal and also place in the freezer. When the fish is frozen, place the package inside an additional slightly larger freezer bag, include a little of water in between the two bags, then seal the outer bag. Freeze aacquire to anchor the inner bag; then open the external bag to include even more water. Relocation in the freezer, water-filled side dvery own, and refreeze.Tright here are numerous means of defrosting fish. If you have ample time, thaw fish in the refrigerator, but suppose it to take 24 hours for a 1-lb (5OO-g) package. For quicker thawing, submerge the fish in a bowl of cold water, adjusting the faucet so asecure stream circulates and spills out of the bowl. Be certain to store the fish in its vapor-proof wrapping while it"s thawing. A 1-lb package will take from 30 to 60 minutes to thaw.Microwaving will thaw frozen fish at defrost power (around 30 percent), via a 1-lb percentage will taking about five minutes. Follow the manufacturers" instructions.Never before store thawed fish for cooking later on. Prepare it instantly. On the various other hand, a solitary percentage or a few portions of fish frozen in a small block can be baked, poached, and broiled without thawing�simply double the cooking j time. This is a terrific method to keep flavor, moisture and also nutrients.Deep frying in warm oil or pan frying is the many prevalent method of serving fish. Chill the fish pieces to lessen the amount of oil they will absorb in the time of food preparation.Overfood preparation fish is a prevalent abusage. The basic rule, applicable to all fish, is 10 minutes for each inch (4 minutes for each cm) of thickness measured at its thickest point. Therefore, cooking a fish or fillet that is i" thick needs 5 minutes on one side, then five on the other.In spite of what civilization who don"t prefer eating fish keep, a lot of fish is safe to eat. The biggest threat of illness originates from consuming raw oysters, clams and also mussels. Reports and also epidemiological research studies by the UNITED STATE Center for Disease Control, which compiled data on illnesses led to by food, indicate that by excluding raw mollusks and shellfish, the threat of condition drops to one in a million � much listed below beef and poulattempt.The second biggest threat is from fish taken in recreational and also subsistence fisheries, as soon as contamination occurs during dealing with, storage or cooking. In various other words � bacterial or viral infection have the right to be eliminated by appropriate taking care of, storage and also food preparation. It"s that basic. Putting the danger right into perspective, you"re 10 times even more likely to be struck by lightning than to become ill from eating fish.


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~ Vera JonesCredits: From Fly Fishing Canada, from Coast toCoast by the Outdoor Wirters of Canada, Publishedby Jonboy Gormale Publishers, Calgary Alberta Canada.