TIPS FOR KEEPING FISH FRESH AFTER THEY ARE CAUGHT
June 4, 2004, Torrance Eddy, fish keeping tip, La Paz, Mexico:
I keep fish fresh after catching them and I discovered it by accident. My boat is very small with little or no room for a bait tank. So, I am mostly a hardware angler and cannot put my catch in the live well. We all know that putting them on ice and bleeding them also works well. I discovered how to keep them alive for several hours in a cooler without even changing or aerating the water.
1. Take an Ice Chest. I recommend four models and they are Igloo's Ultra Cold series and West Marine's brand 60Qt. It is obvious from the picture in West Marine's Catalogue on page 886 that the West Marine 60 is an Ultra-Cold but at a better price for that size.
2. Fill it with salt water to about 4 inches.
3. Add about 10 good sized Ice Cubes. Perhaps a few more if the weather is especially hot. If you put too much ice in the water will look OK but the fish will freeze solid.
What happens is that the metabolic rate of the fish slows way down and they use less oxygen. I have kept Halibut, Bass, and octopi alive for four or five hours that way. You can also do it with sculpin safely but it is a special trick that I will share only upon request. I have caught and filleted hundreds of sculpin (only because they are such fabulous eating) and never been nailed.
I am not deeply religious. But a fish is a living thing that wants to live and feels pain. So, catching, killing, and eating fish or any other animal to me is a sacrament. And this applies just as much to the meat counter or the tuna in the can from the grocery store as it does when we hold a rod and reel. They should be treated with respect including some my my special friends, the lizard fish.
(See "Mexico Fishing News" online for current fishing reports, photos, weather, and water temperatures from La Paz and other major Mexican sportfishing areas. Vacation travel articles, fishing maps and seasonal calendars, and fishing related information for La Paz may be found at Mexfish.com's main La Paz page.