Gone Outdoors

How to Keep Fresh-Caught Fish from Spoiling

by Sports & Fitness Editor

There's nothing more fun to a fisherman than to catch a big haul and head back to start the grill or the fish-fryer. It makes for a delicious meal and puts the finishing touch on a sportsman's perfect day. But plan ahead so that you can keep fresh-caught fish from spoiling before you get them home. Read on to learn more.

Shop at your local sporting goods store for equipment to help keep the fish alive as long as possible after you catch them. The longer you can keep them alive, the better. A fish that's alive and swimming isn't going to start spoiling. Most sporting goods stores carry big buckets with built-in aerators. You can fill the bucket with water and have it ready. As soon as you catch a fish, put it in the bucket. The aerator keeps oxygen in the water and will keep your fresh-caught fish from spoiling.

Look in the sporting goods department for a basket to keep fish alive. These baskets are usually made of wire mesh, round in shape with an opening that you can close off. You can tie the basket from a rope at the basket's top. Hang the basket off the side of a dock or boat. Put each fish in the basket as it's caught and let it swim freely. Just make sure that you allow it to hang in water deep enough to submerge the basket and allow the fish to swim.

Buy an inexpensive cooler (foam is good) and a bag of ice. Take a large plastic container on your fishing trip and fill it with water. As you catch fish, put them in the container of water. Add a few ice cubes at a time from your foam cooler. The ice cubes will keep oxygen in the water and will keep the fish alive. Keep watching the water and adding ice cubes as necessary.

Transfer your fish quickly to a large cooler filled with ice as soon as they die or when you are done fishing for the day. Keeping them covered with ice will keep fresh-caught fish from spoiling.