Stay cool and fish on: Keeping your catch fresh

With temperatures ranging from the mid-20s all the way to the late-30s, New South Wales has a scorching climate. It is one of the reasons why so many residents continue to buy used boats; rather than struggle with heat, a boat can help you enjoy the temperature surrounded by the cool blue of the state's waterways and the Pacific Ocean.

Boat accessories can ensure your new or used craft is fitted for fishing.

While activities such as wakeboarding are on the rise, the quintessential Australian water activity is fishing. Whether it's spearfishing in Kingscliffe or throwing a line off Port Stephens, the desire for fishing is part of our blood. It makes us get up at five, prepare our lines in the dead of night and be on the water by sunrise. And all of the effort is worth it when you hook a strong catch, reel it in and marvel at its size. 

But, imagine the heartbreak of discovering your prized catch has become inedible and all your hard work has been in vain. With temperatures soaring, heat is your worst enemy when it comes to keeping your catch in good condition. 

Good catch, spoiled food

In the New South Wales' sun, it only takes a few hours of exposure for your fish to go bad. While many people think simply hiding it from the sun will fix everything, a couple of hours in the ambient summer temperatures can cause your catch to spoil. 

Spoiled fish pose more dangers than just their  abrasive smell. If consumed, an individual can be at risk of scombroid fish poisoning (histamine poisoning). If fish are caught in warm areas, and not kept properly, a chemical called histamine can develop, which causes symptoms such as nausea, headaches and vomiting. 

In today's world, there is no excuse for fishers to not use ice to refrigerate their catch. New boats tend to come with live bait tanks as well as refrigeration units, while used boats are easily outfitted with specifically designed refrigeration boxes that can keep your catch in good condition. Take the Quintrex 420 Busta, it can be fitted with a range of accessories that make keeping fish in a safe condition easy. 

However, keeping fish in good condition involves more than just ice and refrigeration. It also demands taking the right steps as soon as you pull the fish from the ocean. 

Kill them quick, chill them faster

There are a number of rules when it comes to fishing, but none are more important than: Kill your catch immediately. Most species can be killed quickly and humanely with a swift stab to the brain with a knife or other sharp tool. Interesting fact, the common Iki-spike comes from Japanese commercial fishers who would dispatch snapper for the Japanese market.

Killing fish swiftly has the added benefit of reducing the level of lactic acid build up, while reducing the negative impact that stress hormones can have on the flesh.

The next step involves the proper approach to ice. While that may sound pretty obvious, most of us are guilty of tossing a fish into a refrigerator box, next a bag of ice. A bag of ice will no doubt lower the temperature in the bin, but it won't chill the whole area. The fish will tend to sit on top of the ice, freezing one side, while the other is exposed to warm air. 

The best way to approach your fish is by mixing saltwater and ice, creating a superior slurry. The saltwater will cool quickly, and the fish will stay fresh - as water is a great thermal conductor.

If you are looking for a new or used boat for your next fishing trip, the experts at Hunts Marine can ensure you choose the right craft. With a huge range of accessories, we can fit your boat out with a range of fishing gear, including a rear casting platform, rod holders and refrigeration units. Talk to Hunts Marine today

January 27, 2017 by Jon Hunt
Tags: Tips