To clean or not to clean

Discussion in 'All Catfishing' started by jedimanhunter, Jun 29, 2008.

  1. jedimanhunter

    jedimanhunter New Member

    Messages:
    121
    State:
    Texas
    When do you cull your catfish from the freezer. How dead can a catfish from the livewell and still be safe to eat. I have heard if the gills are pink or other than red its too late. That is a huge gray area in my book.

    I know it is unfortunate that you have to throw away a fish from the livewell as it seems wasted but nothing is worth making someone sick over a fish.

    I have pretty much now limited myself to red gills and limber. At this time I do not plan on cleaning anymore dead stiff fish.

    What do yall do? I know I am not the only one that has chunked a fish other than back in the lake from the livewell due to safety concerns..

    My next post will be about livewell maintainence
     
  2. bobby-catfishing

    bobby-catfishing New Member

    Messages:
    404
    State:
    Highland Villag
    In Texas it is illegal to cull a dead fish from the livewell and throw it back in the lake. That is considered wasting. During the summer, I put my fish straight on ice if I plan to keep them. If not, they go right back in the lake. Catfish can survive fairly well in a livewell if the water is cool, the aerator is kept on and the fish isn't hooked too deep.

    From TPWD:
    Waste of Game: A reasonable effort must be made to retrieve all wounded game birds and game animals and they must be killed immediately and become a part of the legal bag limit. It is a violation to fail to keep all edible portions of a game bird, game animal, or fish in an edible condition.
     

  3. Katmandeux

    Katmandeux New Member

    Messages:
    1,618
    State:
    Checotah, Oklahoma
    I agree with Bobby...gut 'em, and put 'em on ice (not ice water!).

    That doesn't answer the question, though, and it's a good one.

    I've never been comfortable with cleaning dead fish, period. Certainly, if I can't convince myself that fish died in the past 5 minutes or so, it's cutbait.
     
  4. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    If you have to cull fish from your freezer, you are taking more than you need. I try to never keep more than I can eat in a reasonable time frame. You may as well have hit them in the head with a hammer when you caught them and threw them overboard the same day.
     
  5. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    i was thinking the same thing.... no need to cull unless you are overharvesting... BTW....how did I know I would find you here J.W?:smile2::wink: rollo
     
  6. 223reload

    223reload New Member

    Messages:
    10,798
    State:
    Oklahoma
    Thats a very good question,Jeff. I have done this since a very early age,IF the gills are still very dark red its kept,if they are pale it is used for bait,or dogfood. I bank fish so the only questionable fish I might keep would be deep hooked ones,I usually clip the line and place in the live basket a while,if they survive ans I choose to ,they can be turned loose. if they bleed out ,they are dressed an chunked in the cooler.There is the possibility of one being lost ,dying in the basket now an then,it happens.
     
  7. Redneck1

    Redneck1 Guest

    I won't clean a dead catfish unless I know how long he's been dead, and then my limit is around 5 minutes, unless he was on ice, but he had to be on ice while he was still alive. I don't know about other states but in Ok. you can clean your fish out on the water while you are fishing, and throw the carcass back in the water, you can't throw it on the land. This comes in very handy, especially when night fishing.
     
  8. jedimanhunter

    jedimanhunter New Member

    Messages:
    121
    State:
    Texas
    all good points however some clarification is needed as Dreadnaught mis-understood what i am saying. When I said cull from the freezer did not mean that I had so many in the freezer i needed to throw some away or had caught so many i did not have room for them etc etc. My point in saying that is When they were caught and placed in the livewell the intent was to clean and put in the freezer because I needed the fish. When I discovered that the fish had died in the livewell then the next question is it safe to clean and if not what do you do. I am not going to clean a questionable fish and hope no one gets sick in the name of being ethical and I hope you dont either. In response to the post relating toTPWD:
    Waste of Game: A reasonable effort must be made to retrieve all wounded game birds and game animals and they must be killed immediately and become a part of the legal bag limit. It is a violation to fail to keep all edible portions of a game bird, game animal, or fish in an edible condition.
    __________________
    Exactly however putting a fish that you plan to harvest and eat in a livewell that has sufficent water in it that is also circulating the water from the lake for oxygen and fresh water is a resonable effort to keep edible portions in edible condition until it reaches it final destination.

    I was relying on my livewell, I believe the problen is the temp of the water. The surface water coming in is too hot. My aerator is exchange and it runs faster that it drains out is it is overflowing alot of times.


    I make every effort to be ethical and as legal as i can be. I do not overharvest or go over the limit. I truely do not understand why people harvet trophy class fish. That is what the little ones are for. That puts a terrible taste in my mouth. If someone needs fish that bad they can have mine or I will help them catch them to save a trophy class fish however back to the point.

    In regards to icing the fish down when you catch them, that seems to be a good solution because I can not rely on my livewell this time of the year.

    I knew this post would put me under the gun but it is a genuine problem that i ran into and i was looking for some help.To not seek help would be a sign of unethical behavior. There is something to be said for " I didnt know that I didnt know". I would like to make a livewell modification but i may not be able to do that.

    What do yall think about some livewell ice packs of some sort. I need to do the research on what the lethal water temp to a catfish is and put a thermometer in the liewell and monitor the temps If I dont go the put directly on ice route.

    Now after clarification, if anyone thinks it is an over-harvest or waste of game issue you did not understand or I am not communicating my problem very well.

    Thanks for your thought, input and reply as I believe this might help more that just me and a few catfish.
     
  9. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    I guess we had a misscumunication on that one, LOL!!! Sorry bout the mix up!!!
    I commend you on your selective harvest choices.
    As for the livewell problem, warm water won't hold oxygen nor will oxygen be able to mix with it. If you plan on keeping the fish you put in it, I would sugjest a cooling system made from a water cooler. This can be done by drilling a hole on the side at the bottom and one at the top on the same side. Depending on how big you intake hose is to you livewell. now with those holes drilled run the hose out of the bottom hole just long enough to make a connection to your livewellinlet, then coil the remaining hose around the inside of the cooler till you reach the hole at the top. Now bring the hose through the hole at the top and connect the pump side of the inlet hose to this end. You have now created a cooling system for you livewell. Here is the tricky part: you will have to experiment with different amounts of ice till you can get the water at an optimum temp (75 to 80) and keep it steady, if you don't they will go into shock and die anyway. The fish that you put in this system will be hard to release without killing them unless you let the water warm up slowly so they can acclimatize to the water in the lake or river they came from.

    Hope this helps!!!
     
  10. catfishrollo

    catfishrollo New Member

    Messages:
    6,894
    State:
    Ohio
    me as well bro... however, you could have worded it better than ....how do you cull from the freezer? thats enough there to send most cpr guys into a stroke! I dealt with another issue a few months ago involving gafting catfish... This dude claimed it was the only way to land big ones, but said he cpred all over 10 pounds... Gaft fish that you are gonna release? get the point? LOL>>> what an idiot! and yes, he's getting some name calling from the neg. reps he sent.... Still P.Oed!!!!!:smile2: rollo
     
  11. jedimanhunter

    jedimanhunter New Member

    Messages:
    121
    State:
    Texas
    Looking back I set my self up for that as well as the ones who replied.
    My-Bad. I'm glad everyone is is one the same page now and that I could clarify my original post. :embarassed::eek:oooh:
     
  12. Dreadnaught

    Dreadnaught New Member

    Messages:
    5,444
    State:
    Henderson,Ky
    Oh By the way!!!
    Welcome to the BOC Jeff!!!
    I am glad we got that cleared up as well, LOL!!!!
     
  13. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    i make sure as soon as spring arrives i clean out all fish from freezors bottom and make it a point to get it cooked and ate. even if i have to call a buddie or two. i dont ever let it go more than a season. it will burn. i dont like freezing two fish in 5 gallons of water,lol. i use vaccum sealers. so after the winter and season is back i rotate all out to stock some fresh.

    as far as dead fish. depends on temp. ive cleaned fish after they have been dead an hour. in cool weather. and put them on ice. if one dies soon and i just got out ill fillet it right on water and sitck in a bag and toss in the cooler with the refreshments.

    its none of my buisness how many you have in the freezor but ill share my ways with ya.:wink:


    like when deer are feild dressed. its better to wipe out the inside with a dry cloth. not a hose. water introduces bacteria. keep on ice after cleaned in a bag if ya gut them on water.
     
  14. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    ill admit. gaffing a fish you intend to release. thats completly out of the smart line of though IMO>
     
  15. jagdoctor1

    jagdoctor1 New Member

    Messages:
    708
    State:
    CA/AZ
    Ever been out on a fishing trip boat on the ocean? They just chuck the fish in a sack and don't clean them till they get back to shore could be hours. I personally hate cleaning fish when I'm tired and been out all night. I throw them on ice and clean them the next day. I've never had a problem.
     
  16. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    yep. same here. as long as there not sitting in the sun it doesnt bother me much either.
     
  17. Redneck1

    Redneck1 Guest

    If fish have been dead in a livewell for several hours they won't be nearly as good to eat, that is if they haven't already spoiled. Putting fish on ice is an option, but I'd much rather clean them alive, they bleed out a lot better that way. I personally want my fish to taste as good as possible, if not then I don't need to waste my time fishing for them. Same goes for the deer I shoot, I'm not gonna let them lie in the woods for several hours before I decide to go and gut 'em they get gutted immediately.
     
  18. JERMSQUIRM

    JERMSQUIRM New Member

    Messages:
    13,145
    State:
    il-waynesv
    my deer. i love fresh. not aged. most of my deer are in the freezor within 6-10 hours of being shot.

    my cuz shot one in 06. i had it dressed cut and froze within 6 hours.
     
  19. CATFISHERMAN001

    CATFISHERMAN001 New Member

    Messages:
    259
    State:
    ALABAMA
    You can tell by the color of the meat if it is still good to eat. If the meat begins to discolor then it has gone bad.
     
  20. Redneck1

    Redneck1 Guest

    That's good but if you ever want to try something different once your deer is quartered leave it in the icebox/refrigerator for at least 24 hours before you cut it up and freeze it. This will make the deer meat much more tender because the muscles will have a chance to relax, this is only a suggestion.
    :big_smile: