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
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 tough.
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
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 meat.
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
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!
PUT YOUR FISH ON ICE IMMEDIATELY AND CLEAN THEM AS SOON AS
POSSIBLE TO AVOID SPOILAGE,
ESPECIALLY IN HOT WEATHER!