How do you keep your catch fresh?

Discussion in 'Kayaker and Canoe Fishing' started by jeremiad, Feb 17, 2009.

  1. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    I have never had a problem keeping my catch so far...just throw them in a bucket until I can clean them, then place them on ice in my cooler. However, what if you catch a big one, several good-sized fish, or you need your bucket for other uses?

    Being that a kayak is rather cramped for space, what is the best thing to do to keep the catch fresh until you reach shore?

    I also have to keep in mind that state law requires me to keep the fish pretty much intact so that it can be identified and measured if necessary.
     
  2. centexcop

    centexcop New Member

    Messages:
    3,013
    State:
    Texas
    Take a picture of the big one, and let him swim free. That leaves you more room for eating sized catfish. If your bucket gets full, CPR the rest of the time you're fishing.
     

  3. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    I've pondered this, meself.

    A stringer seems to be an obvious choice, as long as you don't have far to go, and the water temp isn't too high.

    I don't keep fish over 2-3 pounds, and then only a few, so I think I'll be toting a small cooler, and just gut 'em and ice 'em as I catch them.

    I'm pretty obsessive when it comes to caring for fish and game. In the case of fish, I don't like to keep them on a stringer in hot water or haul them around in a bucket.
     
  4. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    Leave it to me to miss an obvious choice! :roll_eyes:

    I guess the stringer always stays ashore because I have never considered kayaking with a stringer full of fish an option. They can take you for quite a ride on the line, let alone a rope! I do know of yakkers that put the stringer in while they are stationary, and retrieve it when they move, but that sounds like a lot of unnecessary work to me.

    I figure I have enough stuff in the water around me to drop a stringer. How many others use stringers? Do they work for you?
     
  5. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Could you tie the stringer off to the anchor trolley, and run it back to the stern when you move? Seems like they might tow a little better from there.
     
  6. Yakdawg

    Yakdawg New Member

    Messages:
    146
    State:
    Cumming, GA
    I rarely keep fish, but hey, they are pretty tasty!

    Last time I kept a few for a fishing buddy, I used one of the metal type stringers, with individual hooks for each fish, at the end it had a carabiner attached which I hooked to a padeye on my ride.

    Ended up with a couple of nice stripers (each between 6-10pounds) and a nice hybrid hanging off the side of the yak! They did tug a bit, but I didn't have any problems paddling around and fishing for another hour or so with them on! A pic from the shore:
    [​IMG]

    You can also get a nice storage bag to put on the bow of your yak, I have used cheap freezer bags from wal-mart in the hot summer with some blue ice packs, they will keep the fish fresh in the hull for a few hours.
     
  7. Lucian

    Lucian New Member

    Messages:
    9
    State:
    Michigan
    I have used the stringer in the past and it really does not cause that much drag. Most of the time the fish will swim with you. The water temp where and when I fish ususlly does not get too warm to keep the fish in the water.

    I have also used a mesh laundry bad, but that causes too much drag.

    There are a few products (cooler bags) out there that you can place Ice or Icre packs and put them inside your hatch, etc. You would need to go to shore to place the fish inside or get a buddy to do it for you if you are on the water.

    Here is one fish bag ...

    http://www.nativewatercraft.com/accessory.cfm?id=76
     
  8. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    I purchased an Arctic Zone 38-can expandable hard-core cooler from Wal-Mart: http://www.arcticzone.com/products/az/coolers/38-can-hardcore-expandable-cooler-bag/.

    This may seem fairly large, but it is actually slightly smaller than a crate and fits perfectly in the crate position in the cargo area of my kayak (Heritage has both crate and 5-gal. bucket cutouts behind the seat).

    The nice thing I have found about this cooler is that it has an expandable waterproof pocket in the front in which I stuff all my tools and accessories that I need on the yak. It also has a mesh pocket in the back of the cooler. There is the velcro-sealed fast access lid in the top as well.

    I stuff several plastic shopping bags in the cooler into which I place the fish I catch. Since I use a large blue-ice block, I don't have to worry about water ruining the fish. The only drawback I have found is that water actually conducts cooling better throughout the cooler; having blue-ice alone can freeze one side of the fish (which is not what you want to do) but not the other.
     
  9. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Blue ice isn't perfect, but it's handy.

    Try using several of the smallest size, along with one large one...put the big one on the bottom, and the little ones on top of whatever you want to keep cold.

    Ice cubes in zip-loc bags is another way to go.
     
  10. kitsinni

    kitsinni New Member

    Messages:
    1,573
    State:
    Ohio
    The areas I fish stringers are no good. There is a forest under the lake I usually kayak at and the stringer is always wrapped around a tree. I don't keep fish but I tried to keep a nice size channel for a friend on a stringer once, it was a pain! So now if I am keeping anything they are going straight in to a cooler and I can deal with them when I get home. 99% of the time I just CPR, well really CR since taking pictures is a pain in the yak. If I am fishing with a friend that wants to keep soem crappy or something I make them come and get them from me once I catch a couple then they can do whatever they want with them. I think a cooler is probably best. I also have a yacht for a kayak though and with 14.5 ft and a canoe shape I can really load the thing up.
     
  11. RRRKKK

    RRRKKK New Member

    Messages:
    68
    State:
    Quincy IL
    We also like to skin and gut them and put them on ice as soon as we catch them, small eating size. It is against the law to throw the guts and skin in the river. I imagine it pollutes the river I guess. Kinda like carring a handgun while bowhunting then getting on the 4 wheeler to ride out of the timber and you are breaking the law, unless you case the pistol as you are now classified as being on a vehicle. Seems like they try to make you a criminal. I guess I should clarify I live in IL, and the Mississippi is the river I am talking about
     
  12. rush_60

    rush_60 New Member

    Messages:
    1,719
    State:
    Troy, KS
    I use a mesh bag to hold my fish. I dont keep very many so I dont need a big one. They are just the mesh laundry bags you can get at walmart. Its not as easy to pull around as a stringer but they dont fight you as much as a stringer either. I hook it to my anchor trolley.
     
  13. jeremiad

    jeremiad Well-Known Member

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    That's when you just have to turn the guts into bait. Stick 'em on hook and drop 'em in the river!

    Welcome to the BOC, Ron! :0a25:
     
  14. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    I tried a mesh holding bag once, and took the cure...like to have never got those cats unstuck.

    Casey, you must be using a different mesh than I did.
     
  15. rush_60

    rush_60 New Member

    Messages:
    1,719
    State:
    Troy, KS



    Did they get stuck in the holes? Whats the cure?
     
  16. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    Yeah...the dorsal and pectoral fins must have tiny barbs on them...it was like trying to get hooks out of the fabric (it was woven mesh, not netting).

    The cure was, I ain't doin' that again.:smile2:
     
  17. rush_60

    rush_60 New Member

    Messages:
    1,719
    State:
    Troy, KS
    Now that I think of it I did have that trouble with bluegill that I was catching for bait. But I didn't have any trouble getting them out. Just had to turn the bag inside out. Never had that problem with a catfish...yet. The only problem I've had with the mesh bags is that they are like dragging a small drift sock. You just have to plan out ahead of time to go against the wind or current before you start fishing and then drift back with all the fish.
     
  18. Kansas Tree Rat

    Kansas Tree Rat New Member

    Messages:
    486
    State:
    Waverly, Kansas
    I use a Canvas laundry bag. The fins do punch through some times but it is not that big of a problem most of the time. I do not leave the bag in the water all the time. I drop the fish in and dip the bag in the water and stow it up front. As long as you dip them every 30-40 min. Catfish will stay alive for hours.
    I have also carried a pair of side cutters and snipped the fins but they do not stay alive as long.
     
  19. Lucian

    Lucian New Member

    Messages:
    9
    State:
    Michigan
    I have kept catfish alive for the Cabela's King Kat tournaments in a laundry bag without any issues of removing the fish. However the bag was of a material that was coated with almost like a plastic rubber material.