Getting the best quality out of your fish?

Discussion in 'Tuna Talk' started by 30-06guy, Apr 23, 2018.

  1. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    So I was wondering what everyones opinion was on getting the best quality out of their fish. Last year there was a post on Facebook about fighting and landing your fish on around 25- 30 pounds of drag. The theory is that the fish is less likely to burn if it's played out slowly rather than fought hard. Just curious what everyone's thoughts were on the subject. Also I am wondering what you like to do after you get a tail rope on them. Do you like to swim them and if so how long? And what about after you have killed and bleed them? I know some guys just hang them by the tail off the gunnel and leave them suspended in the water. Does that help cool them down or would it be better to get them in the boat and ice them down as quickly as possible? Obviously guys with bigger boats that can run multi day trips out to George's are going to have large fish holds and lots of ice. I'm wondering about the guys that are fishing inside and can run in in a couple of hours or less. What do you do to keep your fish the best quality when you put it on the truck ?

    Rob
     
  2. Downrigga

    Downrigga Captain

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    The longer they fight the hotter they get and the more fat they burn. Best thing you can do is strap the fish to the side of the hull and swim it slowly into the current while you clean up the deck. Like old mud says put a meat hook in the mouth. You wil see the color come back. The tail will wag. Swimming cools it down and removes the acid. As far is price goes? The old days are gone and wont return but there is always that chance for a home run even with all pen fish and other pressures killing the price. Wishfull thinking.
     
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  3. Parttime

    Parttime Senior Member

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  4. leaky

    leaky Captain

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    I'm not some heavy hitter but we always catch some. The only fish I've ever had come in "burnt" was one we swam after a mild sort of 30 minute fight. That's the first and last fish we swim - concept escapes me, mostly because you stand more a chance of beating them up messing around with them versus whipping them in the boat and getting them bled out and cold...

    Also on that note there was another fish we dragged around a bit more than we should've and managed to get it under the boat and we wrecked it with the prop, probably another half dozen we beat up a bit "cooling them down" in the water.. for whatever reason boat owners I fish with love hanging fish in the water, dragging them and banging them around until we get back to the anchor - usually I'm like, "it's dead enough - lets just whip this thing in :)".

    I say - the sure bet is as quickly and nicely as possible get the fish into the boat, cut it's head off, and get it iced down well. That means having a reasonable way to load the fish which does not result it it getting all banged up (ie reasonable means problem free and quick, tall enough to get them mostly over the gunnel), having enough ice on board (takes 200 lbs initially to get them going), having a bag or box, a sawsall, decent knives capable of cutting bits of gills and guts, and the basic skills/attention-to-detail to do a good job.

    Have gone 7 hours on 40+ lbs of drag, 12 minutes on 25 lbs of drag and in between, never heard anything about a burnt fish until we swam one. Personally I think aside from temperature and general appearance, with most fish the buyers can't tell the difference - tell them you swam the fish they say "oh that's great!", tell them you didn't swim it and they might tell you all about it, but you probably get the same $$.

    Jon
     
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  5. Downrigga

    Downrigga Captain

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    For me, that article is misleading. First, it admittedly eliminates I think, ( read it very quickly) consideration of fat content which is rather important.

    It also speaks to killing a fish to quickly. Getting it to the boat quickly and killing it quickly are to very different things. You cant swim a dead fish. You cant rid the lactic acid in a dead fish either. I swim mine for a while. I don't ever throw a harpoon so I wont hit vitals that will stop the heart beat. Depending on what they are eating the color will come back, given the chance to swim along side the boat. Its understandable that he would mention zapped fish which have no chance to heat up or build up toxin. Long line fish eventually cool down as well. Not saying you cant get decent money for a fish you fight on light drag. For me, it's a diminishing return on terminal gear with respect to fight time and a lost fish is worth zero dollars. I also want to get back in position A for the next fish sooner rather than later.

    I don't agree with the bend in the rod theory in his article. I guarantee you will get way more pulled hooks using a really stiff blank that only bends on the top third of the rod as opposed to a Calstar blank that bends from the back of the reel. Something as simple as a head shake, allowing the rod to stand up straight, greatly increases the chances of a popped hook. That sinking feeling is the worst after al that effort. Calstar blanks, even with a head shake still has plenty of bend in the rod. Taking my time ....nope!
     
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  6. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    This is the article that I mentioned in my original post.
     
  7. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    A question about your post. You said that you "never throw a harpoon ". Do you mean that you never use a poon to land a fish, or do you mean that the handle of the harpoon never leaves your hands? The reason I ask is that the same guy who wrote this article wrote another one last year on landing rod and reel fish without using a harpoon.

    Rob
     
  8. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    That's one of the things I was wondering about hanging a fish off the side of the boat. I would think that it would beat them up a bit and if the water is warm it wouldn't really cool them down much. I would also think that there would be some color loss hanging a fish suspended in the water for a while.

    Rob
     
  9. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    Burn Baby Burn
    Here's the article I mentioned in my question. You have to read down a bit to get to the part about darting fish .
     
  10. Downrigga

    Downrigga Captain

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    I use a harpoon but I do not throw it because if I hit it in the belly for example, it decreases the value of the fish. I also want to be able to keep the heart pumping so I don't want a misplaced dart shot. I Prefer to wind the fish up and stick it without the handle leaving my hands.

    There is a lot of merit in this article. Something not mentioned with respect to quality is diet. These fish reach Canada earlier and earlier than they ever did years ago. Is it because the forage species are managed better in Canada? Are they leaving a gene imprint that is putting them on a Guy Fieri road trip straight to Canada?

    Noticeable difference in shape between fish feeding on sand eels and fish feeding on herring. Shape considered part of quality? When we take 50 million metic tons of herring out of one area like nothing and turn that area into a barren waste land in a few days, allow the ones landing it to self police the quota, and have no repercussions for blowing thru quota, don't expect to compete with Canadian fish on a regular basis any time soon.
     
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  11. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    I thought that was what you meant when you said that you don't throw it. I just wanted to make sure I understood that. What are you aiming for on an ideal poon shot? I would think just behind the head and above the spine would be best to not kill the fish but still get the dart into an area that will hold it good.

    I agree with you about the herring. You don't have to be a biologist to understand that if the best forage is gone there is nothing to keep the fish from running North where they can find it.

    Rob
     
  12. leaky

    leaky Captain

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    Downrigga knows what he's doing so this is by no means an attempt to question or counter what he's saying, but we pretty much always throw the harpoon - it's not unusual to hear someone who never throws it or always throws it.

    The reason we always throw it is rule #1 - get the damn fish! Even with a little 100 lb rat, the longer you mess around with them, the better the odds they pop off boatside.

    One thing to mention is you have to force-ably put something into it if you do not let go of the harpoon - if you throw it, typically the weight of the harpoon makes it penetrate good even with a lazy sort of lob. A sharp tip on the dart of course helps with penetration and IMHO darts should be sharpened ideally *before* they even make it on the boat, and as a cardinal rule never attach the dart line to a dull dart as sooner or later you will forget to sharpen a dart and will end up bouncing a completely dull/round dart off a fish.

    The main thing we worry about no matter how you stick them IMHO is not cutting the line and waiting until you got a good shot - not just because you don't want to cut the line, but you don't want to get them in the belly and you definitely don't want to miss and end up with the harpoon/dart/line tangled up in the mainline, which is a big risk whenever you throw and miss. Like hunting - wait until you got a good shot, know when you got a good shot, and do not hesitate once you get that shot because you may not get another.

    There are benefits to hitting them in all sorts of different places - in the heart well that's game over, through the gill plate - sooner or later you will cut the mainline this way - but when it works you got an extremely solid dart shot, down through the meat of the back is very solid, into the tail and you got a way to lift the tail to put the tail rope on plus it's good for a borderline-sized fish as you might not mortally wound it that way if you find it's short... Pick your poison but usually shot #1 is wherever you can safely get 'em, if the fish goes ballistic instead of into shock then shot #2 go for the tail to help with getting a rope on it.

    Jon
     
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  13. Downrigga

    Downrigga Captain

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    No offense taken leaky. As i said earlier, lots of opinions and none will be wrong. Many fisherman throw the harpoon. My leaders wind onto the reel so i like to get them close enough to avoid a throw. I agree with you that in todays shitty fishery your likely to get tbe same money even with a well cared for fish. A lot has changed. I also agree with you that once the fish is dead i like to get them out of the water. They dont cool down hanging in tbe water dead. Kind of in the way too.
     
    Last edited: Apr 25, 2018
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  14. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    Never considered a shot at the tail, but you make a good point about it giving you something to lift with. As far as sharpening the dart I have been told everything from just the very point to sharpen all the way down the leading edge. The guys that says just the point consider it less likely to cut the leader if you hit it. Plus a completely sharp dart can cut a hole back out.

    Rob
     
  15. 30-06guy

    30-06guy Senior Member

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    When you reel them in close are you keeping the boat in gear and moving forward, keeping the fish out of his spiral? Or do you just let them circle and and keep the line away from the boat with push stick until they are close enough for a shot? I understand that the prices aren't what they used to be. I'm just trying to keep a fish that might be worth 3-5 dollars a pound from being .10 cent a pound cat food. I would hate to reck a decent fish for something that might have easily been avoided.

    Rob
     
  16. bluefin650

    bluefin650 Senior Member

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    I don't know the right answer either. I implemented the light drag method and no harpoon halfway through the season last year. I would just gaff the head to get control and then throw in a hook so I could swim them. I didn't notice any significant change in returns. I know people that just bull them in and tie them to a cleat and go back to the ball for another and still make out alright. I am just as confused as the rest of you.
     
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  17. leaky

    leaky Captain

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    We argue about this point on the boat I usually fish on - I say the tip, some sharpen the whole thing, some just the tippity tip - typically when you dart a fish they are not active for very long so having it work out is gonna be rare if it is set right in the first place, a lot of times they go into shock which allows you to pull them right up and put a tail rope on. 1 out of 10 fish is going to run like mad when you dart it and you are going to need to try to stop it (on a short dart line) or you are going to be letting out 100 yards of dart line or more possibly even clipping a ball on there and letting it bounce around on it's own (on a long/correct dart line)..

    When you stick them in the tail it can be pretty dramatic with a green fish but if you rip the dart out it's also not going to tend to cause any problems either. Ups and downs no matter where you hit them - key thing hit them someplace good & solid.
     
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  18. Duke

    Duke Senior Member

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    How long of a push stick are you guys using and what's on the end of it?
     
    Duke,
  19. Downrigga

    Downrigga Captain

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    Boat is in gear, not always going forward. Sometimes your in reverse or turning. When its rough you might use the gear to keep you pointed down sea. Not every fish will be in a spiral. Wire the fish to get better control of the head and steer the leader in a direction for a good poon shot. I don't use push sticks I guess because I fight out of the corner. Every fish you catch you will learn something new and every fish you loose you will also learn something new. The learning curve is half the fun.

    I'm not a fan of putting a dart in the tail. Not saying it's wrong. It's a very active part of the body at boat side and the smallest part of the body for me to hit. Secondly they can go nuts when they get stuck and that usually results in a lot of tail movement. It is a lot easer for me to hang onto a gaff handle when lifting a slapping tail out of the water than a harpoon line.
     
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  20. Old Mud

    Old Mud Captain

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    Duke are you talking Push sticks or poons ? I use both when fishing solo.

    Ok now lots of good info. in this thread. If i may, one more very important factor on what you get for your fish is something you have No control over. Japanese market, American market. The buyers you deal with and the association you have with them. All these things matter !!. In the past i have dealt with buyers that were lets say "less than ethical" . Or down right dishonest may be another way to say it. I have heard every excuse in the world for getting a discouraging price. Yake, Not enough fat in the minors, To big !! / "They like the smaller fish so one buyer can afford the whole thing", Their economy is down, Our economy is down. The market is flooded, We won't pay as much in our domestic market as the Japanese.

    I can go on but have to get to DR.
     
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