I am getting into fishing (I bought an entry-level spinner and plan on going to some nearby rivers/lakes) and have been reading a lot of conflicting information in regards to the sequence of events that transpire from the time you catch the fish, to the time you eat it.
Obviously, first you must catch the fish, which as a newbie will probably be a bit difficult for me. Once I catch my first fish and determine that it's of legal size and is a species I'd like to eat, then I need to immediately begin preparing it.
I've read that bleeding fish (cutting the gills) helps remove the gamey odor that a lot of fish have, as well as removing certain undesirable toxins.
But what do I do if I'm not done fishing yet? What if it's still early in the day and I want to keep fishing for a few more hours? Obviously then, I need a way of preserving the fish so that it doesn't taint before I even get home. The thing is, I don't like the idea of keeping a fish alive once I catch it. Not judging others, just personally would rather kill it as soon as I catch it and put it out of the stress/misery of being caught & wounded.
So, given everything I've read, I'm wondering if my following solution is viable, and if not, why:
- Catch the fish, and kill it immediately (probably a knife through its brain is what I've found to be the quickest/humane method)
- Bleed the fish, totally
- Throw it in a cooler full of ice, and continue fishing
- When I get home, clean/fillet it
The only thing I'm worried about here is that perhaps the fish will somehow spoil from the time I throw it on ice, to the time I get home (which should never be longer than 6 - 8 hours). Ideas?