So what’s the goss fishing wise? Offshore, big seas over the weekend stopped anglers getting out chasing marlin, mahi mahi and reef fish. It’s timely to remind fishos that it is not worth risking your life whether it’s in a boat or off the rocks to catch a fish when the weather is not good.
If the weather is bad, don’t go out. Instead look for another option go for a fish in a river, lake or basin. When the sea drops there should be some good snapper fishing inshore and there are plenty of sand flathead around. There are plenty of marlin still around, they are being caught on both lives baits and trolling skirt lures. In the Shoalhaven River we are still getting good numbers of Estuary Perch, Bream and Whiting using surface lures.
We love to wet a line for a lot of reasons, such as relaxation, spending time outdoors, enjoying the company of family or friends on the water and of course to catch a feed. I’m a firm supporter of catching a feed, but this needs to be done sustainably.
Sustainable fishing is not only about taking what you need for a feed, but releasing fish, particularly those which are breeding size so we have fish for the future. Sustainability is also about practising best fishing methods, including protecting and restoring fish habitat, complying with size and bag limits and being humane when killing fish that we intend eating. Humanely dispatching fish maintains their eating quality.
Time is of the essence when humanely killing fish. Allowing your catch to thrash around and die slowly in air, a bucket of water or even in a keeper net causes unnecessary stress to the fish and reduces their eating quality. Simply put, stress causes fish muscle tissue to break down and this affects the eating quality of fish.
Now I’m going to go a bit scientific on you now so bear with me because you’ll soon understand why we need to humanely kill fish that we are going to eat. Landed fish have a lower pH level due to lactic acid production in the muscle caused through the fight of being caught. That lower pH level enhances the action of enzymes present in the muscle that break down protein. Higher stress also leads to more stress-related compounds in the blood, which some studies show degrade the fresh of fish. Killing fish immediately stops this and as a result improves the eating quality of the fish.
If you are going to keep a fish for a feed it should be dispatched preferably within a minute of it being caught. Dragging fish around in a keeper net is not only bad in terms of maintaining their eating quality, it’s actually inhumane.
So how do you humanely dispatch a fish? The Australia’s National Code of Practice for Recreational and Sport Fishing endorsing two preferred killing methods to kill a fish immediately, these are a firm knock on the head or spiking of the brain (called iki jime or ike jime – pronounced iki jimi). To knock a fish on the head, use a wooden club or ‘priest’ with sufficient weight to render the fish immediately unconscious, I use a small baseball bat, which does the job very effectively. The iki jime procedure can be done using either a sharp knife, a sharpened screwdriver, or by using specially designed iki jime tools that are becoming available at all good tackle shops. The iki jime process requires more precision, but results in the lowest levels of stress to the fish and improves eating quality. The iki jime procedure can be done using either a sharp knife, a sharpened screwdriver, or by using specially designed iki jime tools which can be purchased from tackle shops.
The iki jime method involves quickly and firmly insert the spiking tool into the brain of the fish, then wriggling the tool around to destroy the brain. When performed correctly, the fish will be killed immediately and its body will go limp. Go to http://www.ikijime.com to find out where the location of the fish’s brain is for freshwater, estuary and saltwater species.
To improve the eating quality of fish it is also advised to bleed the fish and then placing it on ice or preferably in an ice slurry (minimum two parts ice to one part water).
We spend a lot of time and also money to catch a few fish for a feed so it’s important we look after the fish we catch so that they remain yummy to eat.