Tip of the Week: Prepping Your Catch for the Table

Bleeding a fish before you place it on ice improves the flavor. Photo/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.
Bleeding a fish before you place it on ice improves the flavor. Photo/New England Boating, Tom Richardson.

To ensure that your fish maintains its peak flavor, it’s best to bleed your catch right after it has been landed. This can be done by making a cut through the gills or just behind 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.

Once the fish has been bled, place it flat on a bed of chopped or crushed ice until it is time to fillet the fish. Do not stack heavy fish on top of one another, as this can bruise the flesh.

When filleting your fish, do not use fresh water to rinse the fillets, as the chlorine can taint the flavor. Instead, keep a bucket of cold seawater close by for rinsing.

Place the fillets in a sealable bag (removed as much air as possible) and keep them chilled until it’s time to cook, preferably within a day or two.