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Thread: Fish cleaning tips?

  1. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Survivalist View Post
    BTW, I'm of the school of if you ain't going to eat it leave it alone! Applies to all wildlife. Getting your jollies is no excuse to sink a hook into fish, pull it up from depths and in many cases throwing it half dead back into the water to weak to fight off preditors or worse. Sorry to offend people but the practice of catch and release offends me on so many levels this comment barely scratches the surface of my outrage. Shooting for antlers and bragging rights fall into this category also. Spending 50 times the money to depleat natural resources than go to the grocery store. There it is. I hold back and delete many comments I write, not this time.
    I agree with AS, But am not sure about the Fish thing, only because lots of places have size limits, they must feel the fish will live ? don't get me wrong, you are right, trophy hunting is so wrong in my book, Killing is just plain cruel, the ONLY time I think is acceptable is if you are hungry and have no other options. I say Live and let live, animals have just as much right to be on this planet as us .


  2. #22

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    Subsistence users are given priority over commercial or sport interests in Alaska and is matter of contention here. It's not hard to judge which side of the issue I am on.

  3. #23
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    Well....ya'll haven't seen what no hunting does to deer populations have you? Starving, sick deer because the herd wasn't thinned is a pretty pathetic sight. I'm not for trophy hunting but if you hunt to put meat in the freezer, even if you can buy it at the store, is entirely up to you and has become an integral component in the natural cycle of some animals.

  4. #24

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    I also remember it taking hours for Caribou herds to cross the highway in areas the don't even inhabit anymore. The issue gets complex when it gets into management but the human element needs to be restrained, ask the buffalo, but anybody that knows anything knows there is not enough wildlife to sustain our population. So where do you draw the line? That line is drawn for me if you don't have any intention of eating it unless it presents some kind of threat to you or your property. The issue has become complicated to include where you reside, historical use and ethnic heritage to be given subsistence priority. The old way was better that simply was subsitence rights were given to lower income people no matter what there heritage or residence address. They are ones that need to hunt and fish the most. The politicians certainly have dollars signs in their eyes these days knowing how much money is generated by sporting goods stores, tourism, etc. A single Salmon can generate thousands of dollars of revenue. The other side of the coin are people that want only to live as they always have as removed from the world as they can. I am in the minority even in Alaska and the old ways are disapearing with the invading population. This is how the Indians must have felt long ago.

  5. #25
    noob survivalist crimescene450's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Survivalist View Post
    I also remember it taking hours for Caribou herds to cross the highway in areas the don't even inhabit anymore. The issue gets complex when it gets into management but the human element needs to be restrained, ask the buffalo, but anybody that knows anything knows there is not enough wildlife to sustain our population. So where do you draw the line? That line is drawn for me if you don't have any intention of eating it unless it presents some kind of threat to you or your property. The issue has become complicated to include where you reside, historical use and ethnic heritage to be given subsistence priority. The old way was better that simply was subsitence rights were given to lower income people no matter what there heritage or residence address. They are ones that need to hunt and fish the most. The politicians certainly have dollars signs in their eyes these days knowing how much money is generated by sporting goods stores, tourism, etc. A single Salmon can generate thousands of dollars of revenue. The other side of the coin are people that want only to live as they always have as removed from the world as they can. I am in the minority even in Alaska and the old ways are disapearing with the invading population. This is how the Indians must have felt long ago.

    Oh believe me, im completely with you on that.
    i think part of the reason i never learned how to clean fish until now, was that i didnt like killing them. I sometimes feel bad for killing worms even, but i get over that pretty quick.

    i think they way things are now is kinda ****ed up. our population is beyond carrying capacity, that we're forced to rely on things like farming. which has a higher yield, but is more harmful to the planet

    i guess you could say im an environmentalist. .. maybe naturalist is a better word

    as far as hunting things like deer. If you truly hunt for substinence, then you will obviously make sure you hunt sustainably. My general idea is, if you rely on a species to survive, it is your duty to make sure they survive as well.


    as far as catch and release. i didnt know they die even if you hook them in the lip? If i ever think theyre gonna die for some reason, i always take them and make use.

  6. #26

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    Crimescene, Death is not certain because fish were hooked. The fight takes a lot out of them and the spashing around draws other preditors and then they are realeased in a weakened state making them vulnerable. Bottom fish have organs that explode when brought up so most of them die. They have done studies on spawning salmon and catch and release results in more death but I forget the percentages. Many creatures with damaged mouths starve. I have seen animals that starved because they were shot in the mouth yet you will hear some hunters still claim that a head shot is either a clean miss or the animal drops. The idea of killing does not bother me because I feel the best thing for any creature is to be killed by me, suddenly, with as little damage to the meat as possible. Fish taste better that have not been fought hard. Winch em in and be done with it, Bleed them immediately. Best way to kill them, cool them down and blood is the first to spoil. Bleeding works best while thier heart is still pumping. Killing food is no big deal, it is part of life, get over it. All I am saying is don't play with your food.

    PS I know somebody is going to say beating them in the head to kill fish. Wrong. If you hit a fish in the head the idea is to stun them for handling and prevent them from damaging and bruising their meat doing so. Proper handling of fish really affects flavor. I've had many people tell me they don't like fish but never after they have had some of mine.
    Last edited by Alaskan Survivalist; 07-03-2010 at 02:17 AM.

  7. #27

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Survivalist View Post
    Crimescene, Death is not certain because fish were hooked. The fight takes a lot out of them and the spashing around draws other preditors and then they are realeased in a weakened state making them vulnerable. Bottom fish have organs that explode when brought up so most of them die. They have done studies on spawning salmon and catch and release results in more death but I forget the percentages. Many creatures with damaged mouths starve. I have seen animals that starved because they were shot in the mouth yet you will hear some hunters still claim that a head shot is either a clean miss or the animal drops. The idea of killing does not bother me because I feel the best thing for any creature is to be killed by me, suddenly, with as little damage to the meat as possible. Fish taste better that have not been fought hard. Winch em in and be done with it, Bleed them immediately. Best way to kill them, cool them down and blood is the first to spoil. Bleeding works best while thier heart is still pumping. Killing food is no big deal, it is part of life, get over it. All I am saying is don't play with your food.
    Well, if he is catching bluegills and small mouth bass, were talking ponds and small lakes, not huge rivers or the ocean, so he is not going to be popping any organs. And in my experience, lots of these little ponds dont have very big fish. Its not like a 2 pound salmon is going to get gobbled up by a 10 ponder. These little bluegill and bass, they dont put up a fight. You just pull them in. They dont have a chance to fight back and so dont have much of a chance to get super tired out.

  8. #28

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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
    Well, if he is catching bluegills and small mouth bass, were talking ponds and small lakes, not huge rivers or the ocean, so he is not going to be popping any organs. And in my experience, lots of these little ponds dont have very big fish. Its not like a 2 pound salmon is going to get gobbled up by a 10 ponder. These little bluegill and bass, they dont put up a fight. You just pull them in. They dont have a chance to fight back and so dont have much of a chance to get super tired out.
    As Crimescene was receptive to ethics I also included much useful information on proper fish care. I would not teach a gang banger to shoot and this is the last post of mine you will see that mentions fish.

  9. #29
    Administrator Rick's Avatar
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    AS - I'm curious about your comment that blood is the first to spoil. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that. Spoilage, to my way of thinking, occurs because of bacteria or some other contaminant, which would more often be found in the gut than in the blood.

  10. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by justin_baker View Post
    Well, if he is catching bluegills and small mouth bass, were talking ponds and small lakes, not huge rivers or the ocean, so he is not going to be popping any organs. And in my experience, lots of these little ponds dont have very big fish. Its not like a 2 pound salmon is going to get gobbled up by a 10 ponder. These little bluegill and bass, they dont put up a fight. You just pull them in. They dont have a chance to fight back and so dont have much of a chance to get super tired out.
    I agree. Google catch and release mortality rates and you will get all kinds of contradicting info. It seems if you filter through it though, fresh water mortality is between 6 and 11% and salt water is between 20 and 28%. Many of the sites say the high percentage is because the fish was not properly released. If you follow some basics, like keep the fish in water as much as possible. Cut the hook if it is hooked deep or in a vital area, and dont fight the fish for to long then the mortality rate will be much higher.

  11. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    AS - I'm curious about your comment that blood is the first to spoil. I'd be interested in hearing your thoughts on that. Spoilage, to my way of thinking, occurs because of bacteria or some other contaminant, which would more often be found in the gut than in the blood.
    The first one mentions the blood spoiling fast. Both offer good information on how to handle your catch.

    http://auburnjournal.com/detail/127676.html

    http://www.fao.org/wairdocs/tan/x5892e/x5892e01.htm

  12. #32

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    Ray Mears does a cool video on filleting the fish with the skin still on.
    Skip to 3:08
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QQc2kC5CpOo

  13. #33
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    I can certainly understand that bleeding a fish might improve the taste because of chemicals in the blood at the time of capture; adrenaline, etc. It might even improve the appearance by not letting blood coagulate within the meat of the fish. But I'm hard pressed to understand the spoilage issue.

    There should be no practical difference between catching a fish and catching a deer. Your precautions with the deer are related to gutting and avoiding fecal contamination. I would think the same would be true with fish. Bleeding would be for purely aesthetic purposes and taste.

    There is obviously some bacteria in any animal's blood so spoilage could occur but I'd think that would be a more long term issue and easily controlled by cooling.

    I'm not trying to be a hard act. I've just never ran into this before and I can't find any reliable information other than someone expressing their opinion on the subject. I've never done any ocean fishing either and that may be much different than fresh water fishing. I've taken a lot of fish in my day, some into the 20 pound range, and I've never bled a fish and I've never had one spoil. I am careful how I clean them and ice them as soon as possible.

    So please don't think I'm challenging or disputing. I'm not. I'm trying to understand and tossing out some thoughts just for talking points. I'm a little like YCC in that I like to know the why's, not just the how's. It okay to tell me the blood will cause spoilage but tell my why it causes it and I'll be a lot happier.

  14. #34
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    Not sure if this is what you are after or not,

    Contaminants accumulate in the skin and fatty tissues of fish. The older and larger the fish, thehigher the level of contaminant. You can decrease your intake of contaminants by proper fish cleaning; remove/discard belly meat, dorsal meat tissue and "zipper" the flesh along the lateral line on larger species. Some methods of cooking also lend to reduction of contaminants.
    http://ohioseagrant.osu.edu/discuss/...hp?topic=124.0

  15. #35

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    I don't eat the lateral line on any fish. It will ruin an other wise great tasting fish. Doesn't matter to me if it is raw, made into civiche, smoked, fried, grilled or baked. The lateral line ruins the flavor of the fish!

  16. #36

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    Quote Originally Posted by crimescene450 View Post
    when you bake them, you still have to remove the guts right? sorryif thats a stupid question lol.
    I do, and the head too. LOL! And when fileting fish I don't worry too much about spilling the gut contents as I do with deer and such. It doesn't seem to be a problem if they are cleaned quickly. And the way I filet they usually don't even get cut. I just lightly rinse all my filets once processed.

    Also you can freeze them in ziplocs with a good amount of water and airspace to cover and they will last indefinitely with zero freezer burn. They also will thaw real slow in a pan of water which is what you want to do when unthawing fish. The meat will not degrade from thawing as much.

    I don't like scaling because the scales get everywhere, but if I'm baking or grilling a fish it's nice to have the skin on to help seal in the juices...uh, and toxins too I guess.

    I like grilling northern pike with the skin on. They have a mudvein of sorts that runs along the inside along the spine. It's enclosed by a thin membrane. I tear it open and flush and scrape the dark matter out. I really have no idea what it is, if it imparts a bad flavor, is loaded with toxins or what. I just don't like it and it appears to be something I'd want to get rid of before eating it. It looks like a long bloodclot. I'm sure other fish have something similar. I just look a new fish over and if something looks weird I get rid of it.

    That's my anecdotal, scientifically unfounded story and I'm stickin to it.

    I saw AS's post about bleeding fish and although I haven't done it I will say if a fish ever tasted bad it's because it was either too old, sick, spoiled, or had bloody veins in the flesh when cooked.

    I've noticed some fish I clean, all freshwater btw, have blood in their veins and others don't. It's not species specific, but I believe it has more to do with the way or amount of time it took them to die, or not die. But, sometimes they do taste fishy or muddy because of it.

    I know the same is true for deer and squirrel, pheasant, goose, pigs, etc. But my deer usually don't have much blood left in em by the time I find em.

  17. #37

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rick View Post
    The lateral line is a sense organ in fish. The brown streak is part of it.

    Toxins will vary depending on the type of toxin but generally are concentrated in the liver, intestines, head, and roe of the fish. Otherwise, you'll find it throughout the muscles.

    If you have a source indicating toxins are concentrated in the lateral line I'd be interested in seeing because I've never read that.
    It's not actually the lateral line, but the layer of flesh just under the skin. It is more concentrated at the lateral line though, but covers the entire body of the fish. If you filet the fish's skin off and leave no flesh you will see the flesh is brown. That's what I get rid of and every good fish prep thingee I've read or seen says to ditch it. I do believe the toxins that get stored there are fairly specific, but it's been a while since I referenced exactly what they are.

    According to our DNR mercury is found occuring naturally in our waters in levels high enough to concentrate in fish and be problematic for humans. It has something to do with all the glacial activity we've had. They also state that it is stored throughout the flesh and can not be removed by process of cleaning. I don't know if that's true and the DNR no longer publishes it in the maual. For quite a few years we, as in Michigan, actually had a fish consumption advisory manual that delt specifically with toxins in fish according to watershed, size, persons eating, etc. I think they did away with it when they made a poor attempt at drawing in tourism. That way they didn't need a disclaimer at the bottom of all their ads. Anyhoo, the book explained best practices for cleaning to prevent the most toxins. Since many toxins are absorbed thru the skin and a fishes skin is in contact with toxic water 100% of the time it seems plausible that the area next to skin would have the highest concentration of toxins as opposed to flesh that isn't brown. I do notice fish from cleaner waters and younger fish have less brown and taste better.

  18. #38

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    RWC, studies have come out recently that state you would have to consume high risk fish for centuries to be at risk of mercury problems from eating fish flesh. The mercury is mostly stored in the organs.

  19. #39

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    Speakign of anactodatl evidence. I swa a fishing show the other day where they was catchin fish down deep and the guy blew in their mouth. Said it re-inflated the swim bladder and reduced fish mortality big time. Surprisingly every fish he blew swam right off upright and apparently ok. The ones that didn't get blown went belly up in spirals. So, if you want to reduce deep water fish mortality....pucker up.

    When I'm icefishing for crappies mainly they come up from 30+ fow and usually are all messed up because of it. I think they get the benz. Lotsa times those are the fish with the bloody veins. If I bring up slower it seems to help with the bloody veins, but I rarely catch and release sdo it don't matter too much on them living or dying.

    What surprises me is how a fish that's been frozen solid for hours comes back to life when thawed. Die already will ya?

  20. #40

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    Quote Originally Posted by Batch View Post
    RWC, studies have come out recently that state you would have to consume high risk fish for centuries to be at risk of mercury problems from eating fish flesh. The mercury is mostly stored in the organs.
    Gotcha, I honestly don't recall which toxin the DNR was talking about with the brown flesh and it has been 5 or so years since they had that manual I believe.


    I do leave the skin and belly meat on certain fish depending on the fish and how I'm gonna cook it. Salmon is one eventhough they are full of toxins because they feed on other fish big time. The rules I follow are genral and I don't always follow them 100%. Some fish actually have a good amount of belly meat, but it's rare I think.

    That was a good point about removing the belly meat whomever posted it.

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