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Cleaning a Fish - Fish Care, Fish Cleaning Tips

Fish care - What to do after you catch a fish. If you catch your own fish the most important fish cleaning tool is a cooler or chilly bin with a slurry made from ice and a little water.

Saltwater ice mixed with a little seawater is best because it melts at below zero degrees and will chill fish very quickly.

Normal "Party Ice" is also very good and is available at most gas stations if you can't get salt ice.

The fillets from fish which have been chilled in an ice slurry immediately after capture will last three to four days longer than fish that have not been iced.

Cleaning Fish Photo

The results when cleaning cooking fish depends on the condition of the fish before you start. The fish above was "Iky Jime" killed (See Below), and slurried for two days before this photo was taken at the Chesters Fishing Contest - it looks like it has just been caught! Clear full eyes, firm flesh and good color are the three main indicators of well looked after fish. Cleaning cooking fish looked after this well is a pleasure!

Commercial fisherman say every hour delay in icing fish results in one day less shelf life before it spoils.

How To Kill A Fish - Iki Jime Fish Tool

Cleaning fish tool number two is a sharp screwdriver, knife or "Iky Stick" and is used to kill the fish immediately after capture. Fish left to die or suffocate in a sack or fish bin build up a lot of lactic acid and waste products in the flesh. The fillets from suffocated fish will have a stronger taste and be flaky or soft and mushy. To prevent this the fish is killed instantly by inserting a sharp knife or screwdriver in the spot marked X on the fish head in the fish photo below.

The blade is angled toward the brain which is in the center of the fish head at the end of the spine. The brain is in line with where the curve of the lateral line of the fish would meet a point behind the fishes eye. It is a bony structure and if the iky tool is wriggled or inserted several times the fish will arch its back momentarily, then go completely limp - never to move again. If it moves you have not hit the spot. When done properly the color floods back into the fish within seconds.

After killing the fish put it straight into the cooler or chilly bin containing the ice slurry

Cleaning Fish Tool Photo

How To Bleed A Fish

Not all fish should be bled and they need to be alive to succeed so don't Iki Jime them first.

Our most common panfish like snapper, gurnard, john dory, trevally, blue cod, hapuka and sea bass do not require bleeding. On the other hand I always bleed kahawai kept for cooking otherwise the taste is very strong.

The best way to bleed any fish is to lift the gill plate and insert a knife over the gill cluster and sever it completely. The fish will bleed out and die very quickly. After this rinse the blood off before putting the fish into the ice slurry in the cooler or chilly bin.

Cleaning and Preparation of Fish >>> Fish Care >>>

Filleting A Fish Part 1 >>>Part 2 >>> Part 3 >>>

Skinning Fish >>> De Boning Fish Fillets

 

 

 

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Above: Morgan Barnes with a decent sized snapper from a Whangarei longline set that caught 21 good sized fish from 25 hooks set!

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