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How do you keep your fish fresh? #14091076 08/11/21 02:02 PM
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Flyingjoe Offline OP
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I have seen lots of guys put there fish directly on ice and some keep them in the livewell till they are done fishing, so what is your preferred way and why? Does it make any difference? Or do you keep them in the livewell and fillet them up as soon as you get to the dock? Next, after filleting them, do you soak them in milk, buttermilk, or just water?


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Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14091084 08/11/21 02:06 PM
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Cooler with ice so my live well doesn’t get so slimy.

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Minner Bucket] #14091094 08/11/21 02:15 PM
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Cold is key.

In the warmer months, directly on ice after catching. In the colder months, live well is fine since the lake water is cold. Colder also means the fish are easier to clean (at least in my opinion).
Upon cleaning, fillets directly in ice bath and into the freezer. I put in ziplock bags and label them with date caught to ensure that no bag stays in there for too long.

My 2 cents.

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14091146 08/11/21 02:50 PM
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This time of year, ice for sure!

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14091218 08/11/21 03:50 PM
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Cut the gills and throw them on ice, then there is no blood when filleting.

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14091253 08/11/21 04:17 PM
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I use my live wells for dry storage after plugging up the water drain. Ice fish down right away. I put the fish down deep in the ice and hold it there for a few seconds. Most of the time the cold shocks them and they don't even flop. When I go to clean them the next day they look like I just caught them.

Livewells are for tournaments.


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Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14091324 08/11/21 04:57 PM
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fishin'aholic2 Offline
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From June through Sept, I put them straight on ice. By the time you clean them, they are firm and there is no blood or mess. IMO, crappie do not need to be bled or soaked in anything. They are great without that and just cleaning them normally is good enough and is way easier.

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14091440 08/11/21 06:24 PM
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Hey Joe - I hate carrying a cooler on my boat just for fish. Now your boat has plenty of room for a cooler. I freeze some 32oz plastic bottles and put them in the livewell with the fish. Usually the fish are still alive when I'm done for the day. If it is a long drive home, I will throw a bag of ice on them for the ride home.


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Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: fishin'aholic2] #14091850 08/11/21 11:41 PM
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Originally Posted by fishin'aholic2
From June through Sept, I put them straight on ice. By the time you clean them, they are firm and there is no blood or mess. IMO, crappie do not need to be bled or soaked in anything. They are great without that and just cleaning them normally is good enough and is way easier.

fish this x2 if i fish till like 1pm in this heat i keep fish on plenty of ice& fillet late that eveing or maybe early next morning, If they have been on ice for say5 plus hours they will be firm & when you go to fillet very little mess /no blood.

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14091868 08/12/21 12:02 AM
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I keep em in the lake till I’m ready for em! Never get freezer burnt that way! Then straight on ice year round. Only time my livewell gets used is for a tournament and I clean it good afterwards! Or at least every couple tourneys.

Slew thumb

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Minner Bucket] #14091911 08/12/21 12:54 AM
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Originally Posted by Minner Bucket
Cooler with ice so my live well doesn’t get so slimy.


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Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14092150 08/12/21 04:10 AM
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I carry 3 coolers in the boat.

We throw them in the Livewell until it is full usually holds 25.

Take them out and put them in a cooler which has two full bags of ice and cover them really good in ice. Layer of Crappie and then a Layer of ice. Layer of Crappie and then a Layer of ice.

Then try to catch our second limit and do the same with the second cooler.

We load up on ice before we go to the lake.

If it has been a long day we will leave the coolers tipped in the shade and drain valve open and we like to leave them packed on ice all night long. Lots of ice.

Prefer to clean them the following day. Fillets are firm and almost no blood doing this method.

We get our pics and fillet the fish. We have a 5 gallon bucket topped FULL with ice and some water and throw the fillets in the bucket.

Then after we finish filleting we take the ribs out and throw the fillets in a turkey roaster pan. Fillets have been soaking in that ice water so they are nice, firm, and clean.

We then rinse them in the house one last time and we pack up quart size freezer ziploc bags with whatever we would eat with a meal. We do not fill it up. Just whatever we would thaw out for a meal.

Get all the air out and freeze.

Works like a champ.

Obviously, all really good ideas on here.

We will sometimes clean the same day, but if able we prefer to leave them on ice all night.

If needed we will always stop and get more ice on the way home.

Last edited by HOGON; 08/12/21 04:11 AM.

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Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14092170 08/12/21 07:32 AM
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Cooler is preferred but it really depends on how long I’ll be out. If only a few hours they’ll live in the livewell without issues, as soon as they get pulled out of the livewell they need to be iced down though, and really they need to be covered in ice. When done, the best way to preserved flavor I’ve learned is to use as little water as possible, I like to rinse the filets rather than soaking them. When you’re finished cleaning everything up, pat dry with a paper towel and vacuum seal them for freezing.

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Flyingjoe] #14095495 08/15/21 12:50 AM
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We never freeze without the fish being fully submerged in water. As Lin’s as they’re fully submerged they won’t get freezer burn. I knew an old guy, that has since passed away, that would freeze his fish whole with the scales on. When they got ready to cook fish they take out what they wanted, thaw, filet, and clean. He said they never got freezer burn like this but I’ve never wanted to try it. Also, he had an entire chest freezer dedicated exclusively for fish.

Re: How do you keep your fish fresh? [Re: Mckinneycrappiecatcher] #14095587 08/15/21 02:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Mckinneycrappiecatcher
Cooler is preferred but it really depends on how long I’ll be out. If only a few hours they’ll live in the livewell without issues, as soon as they get pulled out of the livewell they need to be iced down though, and really they need to be covered in ice. When done, the best way to preserved flavor I’ve learned is to use as little water as possible, I like to rinse the filets rather than soaking them. When you’re finished cleaning everything up, pat dry with a paper towel and vacuum seal them for freezing.




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Also do this on White Bass. cheers


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