The last thing you want to do is
bring home spoils of battle that are, well, spoiled. But that's
precisely what far too many anglers do.
Anglers have certain
habits in handling their just-caught fish that are really bad.
That's particularly true in where anglers pursue trout.
Trout are legendarily
delicious, but they're also exceptionally prone to spoilage.
We all love to eat trout, and
catching them is fun, but there are a few things that really
work against you.
When you catch trout,
they're aggressive. You've got to catch them when they're
there, and then they're gone.
So the tendency is to
unhook them, and quickly get the bait back in the water. The
tendency is not to take care of them. Unfortunately, trout is
one of the most delicate fish that swims.
The other problem with trout is
that the meat is so tender; it's very susceptible to naturally
occurring enzymes that deteriorate it.
Enzymatic action is
The fish's own body
enzymes actually work to break down the fish. If you've ever
purchased a quarter of beef, and had it hung for two weeks,
that's enzymatic action that's causing that beef to
self-tenderize when it's hanging in a cooler.
The same thing is
happening to fish in an ice chest, but it's a lot faster. Fish
has close to no connective tissue, its short grain, easy to
dissolve, easy to digest.
Those enzymes immediately
go to work, and the biggest source of them is the guts, the
People don't realize how
quickly the enzymes penetrate the body wall and get into the
Recreational anglers can't
necessarily follow suit. In the case of fee based trout ponds,
the caught trout may not legally be sliced, gutted or filleted
while on site.
Anglers have to keep the fish whole, but they can greatly
hinder the enzymatic breakdown by keeping the fish
Most will purchase a bag of ice, drop it in the chest
and assume it's keeping everything inside cold.
The first few fish you
drop on top of the bag will have one fillet that may be nice
and cold. Everything above that will be cool but far from cold,
and its downhill from there!
YOUR FISH ON ICE IMMEDIATELY AND CLEAN THEM AS SOON AS POSSIBLE
TO AVOID SPOILAGE,
ESPECIALLY IN HOT WEATHER!