Awesome Fish . . . Now, what are you going to do with it?
From the ocean to the cooler . . . then all the way home! That simple process makes all the difference in the world when it comes to quality.
Many of us have had some good lessons taught to us from experienced hunters and spearfishermen about how to best maintain your catch. This topic, although not the most exciting topic, is often talked about around the campfire or on the back of the boat because it REALLY matters! It is simply one of those ongoing pieces of education that will enhance your entire experience as a diver and chef.
The first step is to keep things as natural as possible. Well . . . what does that mean! Ocean fish live in salt water, so keep your ocean fish in salt water. Melting freshwater ice isn’t the best thing for your beautiful pelagic, therefore it is your job to provide some form of barrier between it and that melting fresh water. On long trips where you don’t have access to a freezer or the ability to cleanly fillet package and freeze, I was taught a great trick that I use often. Take a big thick beach towel with you and soak it with salt water, lay it over your ice and then place the fish on top and then fold the remaining towel back over the fish. This simple trick does wonderful things for your fish and helps to keep your ice frozen by reducing the amount of space in the cooler.
To ensure your fish are perfectly preserved for sushi, you have a little more work to do before you can bask in the glory of your towel wrapped prize which you have perfectly elevated above that pool of fresh water.
First off, gill and gut your fish using saltwater and clean it out as best you can. Take additional time to remove the spine blood vein with a spoon or knife. Scrape it all out and don’t leave anything behind if possible. Now, the final trick is how it lays in the cooler. Sure, you can just stuff it all in there and jump up and down on your cooler until it looks like it is shut, but there is a better way. Take a few extra minutes to cut the tale off, cut the fins off and if necessary, cut the head off and put the collars in separately.
Now that beautiful fish is perfectly cooling, with no pressure smashing on its’ beautiful sushi grade cuts.
Ahh, now you can relax and revel in the enjoyment of catching, caring for and eating your intended prey.
With this little extra effort, you will bring home the best quality you can and truly enjoy the spoils of your trips.