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What Is The Best Way To Kill A Fish?

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If I'm not releasing the bass (or other kinds of fish) and about to clean them, what is the quickest and most humane way to kill the fish. I mostly filet them but kinda feel bad doing that when they are still alive.

What is the best/easiest way to just suddenly kill them before I filet them?

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Don't worry about feeling bad. Fish do not have nerve endings like we do. They do not feel the pain.

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Put them in a cooler on ice. This method also keeps them fresh.

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On my small pond they ussually don't make it to a cooler before they are fileted. Most of the time I fish from my back yard and filet them right when I catch them. I didn't know if popiong them on the head or something would kill them without torturing them.

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Why not just bring a cooler and then fillet them all at once when you are done with your outing?

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What is the best/easiest way to just suddenly kill them before I filet them?

For fish I'm going to keep, I bop them on the head with a sawed-off broom stick. I drilled a hole in one end and put a string through it, so it's easy to attach to my backpack tacklebox and it's always with me. I call it the "mercy stick", others have called it "the priest".

I've found that I have to hit them pretty hard though, otherwise they are just stunned, and after a few minutes they'll come too and continue flopping around. I usually will put the fish's chin on a large rock, then hit them on top of the head, just behind the eyes, hard enough to crush their skull. Then I throw them in an ice bucket and keep on fishing. When it's time to go home, the fish are still very fresh.

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To answer the question, gill them. Use a knife, and make a cut following the gill cover all the way to the bottom. Then put it on ice to bleed out.

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For fish I'm going to keep, I bop them on the head with a sawed-off broom stick. I drilled a hole in one end and put a string through it, so it's easy to attach to my backpack tacklebox and it's always with me. I call it the "mercy stick", others have called it "the priest".

I've found that I have to hit them pretty hard though, otherwise they are just stunned, and after a few minutes they'll come too and continue flopping around. I usually will put the fish's chin on a large rock, then hit them on top of the head, just behind the eyes, hard enough to crush their skull. Then I throw them in an ice bucket and keep on fishing. When it's time to go home, the fish are still very fresh.

thats what i do. a smack to head

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I smack them on top of and just behind the head. This is really more for having them still while I filet and for me on a personally basis, although I agree that they don't have the nerve perceptors to help them feel pain. Watch that you don't have a thumb under the fish. If you do you'll know why I mention this.

Although I rarely clean a fish at home I have fileted many while on week or longer fishing trips and the head works just fine. I think a piece of broom stick might be a little light so I'd probably use a piece of reinforcing rod or something heavier that the broom stick. Most of the lodges I have stayed with have a fish "banger" of some sort in their fish cleaning house. The heavier ones have always worked well for me.

This year in New Hampshire it is illegal to have a live fish in your boat unless you are in a registered and sanctioned bass tourney. This was done as an attempt to stop illegal planting. I think this is a bunch of bull. Those who would transplant and stock fish at their own accord will still do it, So the few make it difficult for the many.

How many times have you been checked by a warden. I think I have been checked 3 times in literaly thousands of fishing trips.

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Bang on the head.

If I'm going to bleed them, I cut the tail off while the fish is alive and let the heart pump the blood out of them.

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The best way I have found is, while the fish is laying on it's side, run the point of the fillet knife to about even with the top of the eye and back about half and inch. Push the blade quickly straight through and then rock it down and out the top of the back. If done right you should hit the brain/spine/spinal cord. I don't clean fish often but this is the technique I've used and minus some "dying shivers" that last a second or two at the most, I rarely even have a fish twitch, even if I don't immediately fillet it. Seems to work very well on most types of freshwater fish other than catfish or carp or other fish with heavy skulls. If you're filleting one of those go for the whack on the top of the head right above the eyes.

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Bass don't have the portion in their brain that induces pain, but if it still bothers you just take a sledge hammer to their head.

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I use my kids old T-Ball bat. Lay 'em on the fillet board and give 'em a good whack or two on the head. They may not feel being filleted alive, but I feel better about it if they're dead.

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I'm surprised I'm about the only one the bleeds them out? I was always told they taste better that way. Maybe because I'm keeping different fish, like trout, salmon, walleye, and pike?

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I've heard that before but never done it. I was always taught you need to remove the mudline when filleting. Large salmon and trout still taste like crap imo, same with bigger pike although I don't keep them anymore.

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For salmon and trout, they have to be dime bright and fresh from the lake, and yes, if you are making steaks, use a spoon to remove the mudline after gutting. I don't gut anymore, but use a technique a sushi chef taught me. And yeah, trout and salmon are gross to me, but not the rest of my family.

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Since I fish mostly from my back yard for 30 minutes at a time, I don't usually catch enough to warrant a cooler full of ice. I usually catch one and filet it, throw it in the freezer and call it a night. I may go back out the next evening and do the same if I catch something or I may not even go the next evening. For me having a cooler with ice all the time wouldn't make much sense.

Letting them bleed out seems like it would take a little time. Usually mine go from a hook to the filet board and I don't have the time to let them bleed out. Since I usually just fish for 30 min at a time (but very often) I need a quick way to kill them. Maybe I'll try to wack them in the head harder than I've tried before.

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When you cut the artery from the gills to the head, it bleeds out in about two minutes.

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When you cut the artery from the gills to the head, it bleeds out in about two minutes.

Oh...ok. I wish we had a schematic of exactly where this artery is so I'll know where to cut. Any ideas?

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You gill the fish with a fillet knife. Just follow the gill cover with the cut.you'll know when you hit it, LOL.

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Here you go, first 40 seconds shows it:

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I'm surprised I'm about the only one the bleeds them out? I was always told they taste better that way. Maybe because I'm keeping different fish, like trout, salmon, walleye, and pike?

We have been bleeding them out for a looooong time. Cut the throat just below where the gills attached at the V and throw them on ice. Does make for better tasting fish. We also remove the blood line or red meat section when cleaning by zippering them. Cut two small slits on either side of the lateral line at the tail & pull the red meat off . This is done after filleting.

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