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nboucher

Fish Eaters: How do you kill �em?

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Okay, a dumb question: We're taking some non-fishing teenagers camping next week, and I thought it might be a thrill for them to eat some of their catch. I've been practicing catch-and-release for a long time, so haven't actually dispatched a catch in a long time, and when I have I've just sort of whacked them. This may not be smartest way to do this, and I want to teach them right: so for those of you who don't always catch and release, what's your favorite, humane way to kill your catch?

Norman

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A good blow on the head against a hard object is a humane way of killing the animal.

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Soothingly brush the forehead in smooth, continuous strokes till the fish is asleep.  Gently slide the anesthesic mask over the gills...J/K

Off with the head, out with the innards.

A bigger issue on both a moral and freshness plane is "when"? I don't like to see live fish on stringers. It's like torture before death. If I plan to keep any fish, it's usually saltwater and the fish is gutted immediately. The key word was that I "planned" so there is ice available to keep the filets cool from the get go.

On the negative end of things, letting the blood stay in a dead fish "burns" the meat. If not going to fully filet immediately, gut and behead at the gunnel, ice them down, and filet later.

Remember when you're up in God's country that panfish and pickerel are much tastier than bass!

Have fun with your family, be safe and lets fish when you get back.

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according to the King James verson of the bible , the only wrong way to kill an animal is drowning ...

And there is something in there about not eating animals with cloven hoofs ....

So don't be a eatin at McDONALDS  .. LOL

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I have always used a big and very sharp meat cleaver to lop off the head in one swing. THWACK!! Done. Doesn't get any faster or more humane than that in my opinion.

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Yep - what's humane in killing anything?

However, be that as it may: In most states it is illegal to clean controlled game fish until you have gotten ashore.

Mass.Wildlife@state.ma.us You could get your answer there.

Don't worry about the how - you are talking about a fish.

Most of the fish that you will find in the waters of Mass. are going to taste better than bass, however if it's bass you are going to eat: if the fish is out of clear water take off the head, gut it, a light dusting of flour seasoned to taste and fry it up. If the water isn't clear, skin the bass before cooking.

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I have never eaten bass...never had any desire to do so. Catfish, crappie, and walleye on the other hand all make very tasty tablefare. Catfish are the main reason for the use of the cleaver. Their hides are tougher than nails sometimes.

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However, be that as it may: In most states it is illegal to clean controlled game fish until you have gotten ashore.

Beat me to it George. Chopping off heads while on the water is a sure way of getting busted. Not a good idea. Think about it. How can a Game Warden prove or disprove the fish's legality with no head?

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OK, maybe this is a dumb question (wouldn't be my first though, so why ruin a good record now), but if you cut off the head, doesn't it make it hard to fillet the fish?  I always held the head down & cut in below the gills, angled back w/the knife to almost the tail, flipped the cut piece over & slid the knife between the meat & skin to remove the skin.  Then, I'd repeat on the other side.  (Did that make sense?)  To those of you who cut off the head, which I agree would be the most humane way to kill it, how do you proceed from there?

PV

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I must be a barbarian.  I plug in the Mister Twister and go to town.  They don't flop so bad after one side is done. ;D

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I must be a barbarian.  I plug in the Mister Twister and go to town.  They don't flop so bad after one side is done. ;D

oooo ouch...

personally...if they're still flopping around when I take them home, I double bag one in plastic grocery shopping bags and I smack em against my bathroom tub once or twice, that usually gets em.

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I work at an aquarium fish store.  When we have to kill a fish, we put them in the freezer.  You probably dont have to freeze them solid.  but thats pretty humane IMO.  That's what most books recomend too.  

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Guest ouachitabassangler

Ever been around a commercial fishing boat? They have it down very effectively. Fish are poured into a fillet machine. Fillets pop out one chute and go through a flash freezer, and everything else is ground up for cat food or whatever, maybe your favorite brand of franks :o

I need the head (mostly the gills) on to fillet or scale a fish. In deference to the squeemish around me I sever the spinal cord at the head, which stops the fish from flopping. I've had a few folks scream "MY GOD" or something similar when a bass flopped around with one side sliced off. So I'm a little nicer about it now. Once the cord is cut I rip the electric knife from gill to tail along the backbone, leaving the skin hinged at the tail, flop the slab over, and slice flesh from skin, then flop the fish over and repeat. Takes about 10-20 seconds. If the reflexive gasping mouth thing bothers someone, grab the jaw and break it open as soon as the cord is cut.

Since apparently you'll be eating them at the lake, heed the warnings above. In the boat keep head and tail connected in all states if catching a species limited by length. Length is often determined by closing mouth and pinching tail to a point. You are better off not altering a fish until out of the boat. It isn't likely to damage taste letting a fish die with the blood in it. Icing them down while alive is a popular way to preserve fish with guts still in, until you can clean them. Some fisheries prohibit cleaning fish in lake water.

Someone mentioned drowning animals. The Bible condemns that. There was a particular biblical way to bleed an animal. They just go to sleep, little more pain than a hypo needle in your arm to draw blood. I bleed catfish and stripers a little while before cutting them up.

Jim

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I gave some bad info folks, my apologies.

I very rarely keep fish. If I do, It's for sale. Stripers are sold "head on" and gutted.  Tuna are sold bled and gutted,again, head on.

Still no excuse, I hold a commercial fishing license and should have known better.

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I must be a barbarian. I plug in the Mister Twister and go to town. They don't flop so bad after one side is done. ;D

Your not the only one, I pull them out of the livewell and get out the fillet knife. Then the work begins. I go for freshness over humane.

Like Jim said, those commercial fillet machines just basically clean the fish in a few seconds its still flopping around.

IMO anything you eat will have to be killed plant or animal. humane is not something that should really be thought about because there is no humane way its all an individual interpretation.

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Never really liked the taste of bass. I usually smack a catfish in the head with a rock or other blunt instrument. After that I nail the head to a board so it doesn't move around so much when I clean it.

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Guest bigtex

Just place them on a cutting board and fillet them.  There is really no quick way to do this unless you cut the head off, scale them, and fry them whole.  That is the quickest way but I always fillet mine.

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