4 Steps to Better-Tasting Fish

Lay fish whole on a bed of ice immediately after bleeding
Lay fish whole on a bed of ice immediately after bleeding. Photos/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

To ensure that the fish you keep for the table maintains its peak flavor, follow these 4 simple steps.

ONE:

Bleed the fish immediately after landing to preserve its flavor
Bleed the fish immediately after landing to preserve its flavor.

Bleed: Whether you’ve caught a tuna or a fluke, it’s a good idea to bleed the fish right after it has been landed. This can be done by making a cut through the gills or the ithmus connecting the head and body. With smaller species you can place the fish in a bucket of water to reduce the mess. Larger fish can be held overboard while they bleed out.

TWO:

Ice: Once the fish has been bled, immediately lay it on a bed of ice. Do not stack heavy fish on top of one another, as this can bruise the flesh. If dealing with tuna, remove the fish’s entrails and pack the body cavity with ice.

THREE:

Rinse: After filleting or steaking your fish, do not use fresh water to rinse the meat, as the chlorine can taint the flavor. Instead, dip the fish in a bucket of seawater.

FOUR:

Protect: Place your fillets in a sealable bag (removed as much air as possible) and keep them well-chilled until it’s time to cook, preferably within a day or two. If you intend to freeze your catch, dry the meat with paper towels and bag it with a vacuum sealer, which will remove the air and moisture that can cause freezer burn.