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Home Tips & Advice Keeping your catch fresh from the Ocean to the Table… some basics

Keeping your catch fresh from the Ocean to the Table… some basics

After filleting the snapper I caught kayak fishing last night I thought it would be good to share some of my own opinions on best practises for keeping your catch fresh and at best table eating quality…the fact is many fisherman do not look after the fish they catch and the resulting experience for the person eating it is not what it could be if some very basic steps were taken…

If you are simply relying on an ice box with no ice or onion sack for example  to look after the fish, you might as well go buy fish from the super market that is days old, as the eating quality will be fresher than the fish you take home at the end of the trip..


Here’s the basics

  • Before hitting the water make sure you have ice in your Fish Bin, Fish bag or other system. Even if it is insulated, as with the Insulated fish bag I use on my kayak it will not keep the fish at optimum temperature especially on warm days.. Salt ice is best, if you leave salt water fish soaking in slurry of melted fresh water ice you will spoil the flesh very quickly… if it’s easier freeze a bottle of salt water the night before.
  • The moment the fish comes out of the water you need to kill it and make sure it’s done right, see the article link below on how to best kill a snapper…if the fish is left flapping around in the bin it will stress the flesh both making the filleting difficult and the tastes will be effected…
  • Once that’s done put it straight on ice and leave there until you can get it into the fridge…
  • When filleting use a sharp knife…as much as that sounds like common sense I have wasted many a fillet using a sub-standard knife… leaving chunks of good eating flesh in the skin..see below article on Knife selection and filleting.
  • The image below shows the difference in the colour and textures of one of my fillets from last night catch…all fish were treated in the same ways as described above. Except for the one that is cloudy which was still alive when I got it home (I had not killed it properly before sticking it in the insulated fish bag) …


Taking these simple and important steps will make all the difference to the filleting and eating of your hard earned catch. And let’s face it no fish market or supermarket can give you and your family as fresher fish as the ones you catch yourself…and for those that have not only buy there fish (for whatever reason) you really don’t know what a difference fresh fish is until you have caught it yourself and look after it in this way until cooked…simply the best!

Aside from my own experiences I have provided below some good links to useful guides for those that either want to know how to look after the catch and for those wanting to fine tune the routine they already have…

Insulated fish bag for kayaks

How to Kill a snapper


Knife selection & Filleting


 The basic of caring for your catch


How to fillet a snapper guide from FCO


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