How long can I keep fish on ice before fileting it?

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Lightman, Sep 9, 2008.

  1. Hey guys. I caught a limit of 30 yellow perch sunday and only got a chance to filet 20 of them. The remaining 10 have been on ice since, but I'm wondering now that it's tuesday - is it too late to filet them, will they taste bad etc - should I just toss em and catch some fresh ones?
  2. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    they should still be good as long as they have stayed well iced.

  3. Gju42486

    Gju42486 Banned

    yea- id say your about nearing the end. Get em cleaned before they get soft and mushy. I usually wont keep mine on ice more than 12 hours or so, but thats just me.
  4. I normally do them right away, just got really busy. I've been pouring the water out and putting in fresh ice consistently. Hopefully they'll be ok. Thanks for the replies.
  5. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    in that case they should be fine.but as mentioned,2 days is about as long as you want to keep them iced,and either eat or freeze as soon as not refrigerate.
  6. UFM82

    UFM82 The one others want to be

    If the eyes are clear and look like a normal eye, they should be fine. Don't ever eat a fish that has taken on that "cloudy" look as it is a sign of decay setting in. Remember, as soon as an animal dies, it begins to decay immediately unless the process is stopped through icing or other methods. Cells begin to break down and release chemicals that accelerate the process and when you ice them, that process is delayed or stopped. Those same chemicals break down the cells and result in mushy fillets. Also, discard any fish that doesn't smell "fishy" like they do when you first catch them. Any off-smell is a sign that decay has started.

    I've caught fish in Michigan before, iced them promptly and taken them home before cleaning them. I had 2 dozen 'eyes in the cooler for two days before even thinking about cleaning them. ( There were several people's fish in the cooler- I'm not a poacher.) I cleaned them as usual, washed them thoroughly after cleaning them and froze the fillets right away. They were great later on with Fry Magic and a little cocktail sauce. MMMMMMMM

  7. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    very good point i forgot to mention.
  8. thanks guys..I had been careful to replenish the ice twice a day, they have definitely been kept cold and look stiff/frozen almost. The majority of the catch I cleaned an hour after getting home from the lake, and all went in the freezer or tummy that night.. Looks like these will go straight to the frying pan..glad I don't have to toss em.
  9. Wannabitawerm

    Wannabitawerm Flatulent Entreprenuer

    Another rule of thumb... the nose knows. If they smell like dead fish, toss 'em.
  10. K gonefishin

    K gonefishin Bit by Musky bug

    I keep fish on ice for 2 days and never had a problem been doing it for years expecially nite bite walleye that I don't want to fillet after a late trip.

    My dad taught me many moons ago to use the gills as the indicator if they are still red they are good, if the gills are pink, pinkish/white toss them out.

    Think about the fish that you see in the grocery store, those fish are on ice for probably close to a week before they hit the shelves, as long as they are ice cold your good to go.
  11. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    the gills are another indicator,but it depends on the amount of color loss.i've eaten plenty that were less than optimum color with no problem.but not after several hours when the color is basically gone.
    also,fish in the store are a different thing altogether.they are gutted.that makes a huge diffence.uneviscerated fish will go bad a lot sooner than those that are immediately eviscerated.i've kept them that way for up to a week with no problem.when i know i won't clean for more than a couple days,i always gut and ice immediately.
    this is why a lot of commercial boats that are at sea for several days or more process them onboard or at least gut and ice them till they reach the processors.
  12. fishingguy

    fishingguy The Inferior Fisherman

    uneviscerated? misfit, sounds like you have been hanging around commodore.:D ;) Going for the ole funkenwagnel. lol
  13. well for the record i fileted them and they were buddy and I took down 11 perchies for a pretty serious
  14. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    You beat me to the gill part lol.
    The better commercial boats at sea have a general rule of thumb on their ice, it's a pound of ice for every pound of fish! That's a lot of ice.
  15. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    yep,takes lots of ice to maintain the low temp.another trick is adding salt to it.that will help keep it even colder,just like your grandma's ice cream maker;)
  16. how long can u keep ice?????
  17. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    My one son has a tropical fish business and when they move or recieve fish from transport they get "stressed". I learned from him that if you want to keep them alive, it's imperative to relieve the stress.

    I see all these bass guys buying the chemicals and such to try to do that.
    The secret is just plain ol salt. You need to know how much to add tho per amount of water and fish.

    A lot of people don't realize that freshwater fish require it too.
    I watch my son adapt fresh water fish to salt water aquariums and it totally amazes me how he does it.

    Whoops, sorry about the hi jack!
  18. Fishers of Men

    Fishers of Men Senior Member

    Commercial rigs that are out to sea for days make their own.
  19. A good week as long as you drain the water and keep fresh ice on them.Yes...eyes must be clear,not too cloudy..As for gills,for the most part after a few days they will look slimey.

    when I fish offshore,and I know it's gonna to be about a week before I get home.I ALWAYS gut and gill my fish.

    How long do you all think a fish sits in a net and/or on a boat before it hits the store or restaurant?? And sold as fresh??

    The movie Perfect Storm, Catch,Cut,Gill,Ice......Gone for weeks.

    27 years in seafood and meat business,You can trust me..

  20. misfit

    misfit MOD SQUAD

    till it melts:D;)
    sorry,that's the first answer that came to mind.
    put an ice cube on the kitchen counter and one in the freezer and you have two completely different answers;)
    in other words,the question is to open ended to give any specific answer:confused: