Enjoying a warm, on-the-water getaway this winter? If you plan to bring home some delicious fish for dinner, following the right steps between landing the catch and firing up the grill can make all the difference.
Today, we’re sharing a few simple tips for keeping your catch as fresh as possible until it’s ready to be prepped in the kitchen. Take a look!
Handle your catch with care
Keeping your catch fresh begins the moment you pull it from your line. By taking care of your catch at this stage, you will be able to keep the fish alive (and fresh) longer as you wrap up your day on the water.
When handling the fish, try to keep its body horizontal, holding it from below and mimicking its natural position in the water, and avoid putting weight on its jaw or gills. Not only is this the perfect way to pose for a proud catch photo—it also alleviates stress on the fish until it’s ready to be stored, which is exactly what you’re aiming for. (While these tips apply to keeping your catch fresh, they also work for those who are practicing catch-and-release!)
Take advantage of your on-board ice box or livewell
When it comes time to store your fish on board, your Robalo comes with the convenience of an ice box, livewell, or both, depending on your unique ride. Each feature is built with space and convenience in mind, so that transporting fish from water to storage is as easy as can be.
For an ice box, you’ll want to place the fish on top of ice while also packing the ice around it. You don’t need excess water here—for maximum flavor and texture when you get back to shore, you’ll want to keep the fish from floating in still water. Getting rid of melted ice will allow you to store more fish inside, too, which is always helpful!
As its name suggests, a livewell is all about helping the fish live in an environment as close to its natural habitat as possible, once again reducing stress and keeping the catch fresher, longer. It works by bringing in water from outside the boat and aerating it, keeping things moving inside the tank. Since the water inside should be relatively cool, you might decide to manually add in some ice if the surrounding water is particularly warm (if you’re fishing warm Florida shallows, for example, or if it’s a deep-water catch more used to the cooler temps below).
Keep your containers clean
After you’ve returned to shore and prepared your catch for dinner, be sure to keep your ice box or livewell clean. You should be able to simply flush the container out with fresh water, and take care of any stains as they happen for the cleanest possible space. The result? Fresh, ready-to-eat fish and peace of mind every time you hit the water.
We hope that these tips help you cap off your angling adventure with a fresh, deliciously prepared dinner on shore!