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 How to Handle Live Fish Prior to Freezing

Fishing is the most popular hobby in the UK and this article aims to inform you how to handle caught fish and clean it up.

You then have the option of eating it fresh or freezing it for eating later. There is a link at the end of this article to the page that describes how to freeze fish.

Fish deteriorates much quicker compared to meat so you should try to eat or freeze the fish after catching as soon as possible.

First take a look at the caught fish and check that it looks healthy. Return any unhealthy fish to the water. Healthy fish have no skin damage, the flesh should be elastic and the eyes should be clear.

Rather than kill the fish immediately, try and keep it alive until you are ready to return home. A fish basket hung into the water is the best method although any container filled with clean water will do the job. Whatever method is used, ensure that the fish does not flop around the boat or bank. This will bruise the fish and make it unsuitable for eating.

If it's possible to gut the fish on site then kill it and gut it just before returning home. Either way, don't leave dead fish in water. If you do, the flesh will start to absorb water and spoil the quality. The best solution is to store the fish in an ice box packed with ice. Store the fish off the bottom of the ice box so that it does not lie in water as the ice melts.

Gutting the fish should be done as early as possible. First clean the fish skin by washing it in clean water. Remove any slime from the surface. Cut the fish open all the way along the belly and remove the gills and all internal organs. Inspect the inside surface of the fish and clean away any remaining slime and blood under running water.

If you want to skin the fish then do it now. Remove the fins and the tail, and the head.

You should now have a cleaned and gutted fish as if it had been bought fresh from a fish market. Click here to find out how to prepare the fish for freezing.
 

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