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Fish Head

Bleed out your fish?

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I've been hearing more and more about bleeding out your catch for better fillets. I used to hear about it for salmon in Alaska, but after looking into it I see a lot of guys do it for walleye too. Do many of you guys cut between the gills to bleed out the fish? It seems like it would make an awful mess in the livewell, especially in the warm summer months.

I’ve read some guys let them bleed in the live well with the water recirculating. I’ve read other guys put them on a stringer and let them bleed out in the lake. It seems like it would be a good idea to bring a cooler with ice too. What do you do? Have you noticed better fillets when you bleed out your catch?

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I bleed out my fish,when taking them out of the livewell

I poke just under gills towards the rear, poke all the way thru

then put them in a five gallon bucket, they bleed out nicely.

I do this to panfish as well as northerns and walleyes

When cleaning the fish you have way less mess, fillets come clean

no bloody mess, it takes the mess out of cleaning fish.

Happy Fishing

Fins

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Both methods you mentioned work great (stinger/livewell) and yes, the best of the best way to treat the meat after the bleed out is on ice. That's why they do it that way around the rest of the world in salt water especially, why not fresh? Especially in the hot weather. While ice fishing I make the slit and throw them in the slush bucket (ice).

Maybe you can't taste it, maybe you can. Kind of like farm fresh eggs vs. store bought. But do me a favor and test yourself. Bleed one fish and not the other. Fillet them both on seperate news paper/board. Look at how clean and bright white the fillets are on one (without even rinsing) compared to the pile of bloody guts/bloody fillets on the other board and see for yourself if it matters or not. You can also get away with filleting many more fish per mess if they have been cut.

I've got Japanese customers in Alaska that would shoot me if their fillets touch water/wash off with water. They want the fish fillet to go straight to the vacuum bag without water to not lose any flavor/nutrients. So the only way I can give them a super clean fillet is to bleed them out. It's crazy how much blood is at the bottom of the fillet box when you bleed a few out. It just makes it easier in the long run for me for a lot of ways. I don't think it's a gimmick by any means.

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When I decide to bring a few fish home for the table I put them in the live well. Normally I am less then an hour away from home and this would let me clean fish alive and kicking so to speak. But with the transport no water law I still use the live well and keep the catch alive. After the boat is on the trailer I drain the live well and toss a bag of ice on the catch. Still a very fresh catch with out blood in the live well. I normally have a bag of ice with me as I keep a lunch in the truck instead of taking everything with me out on the water. The ice serves double duty for me.

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I don't bleed panfish, but I do bleed larger fish. I usually just make a cut in the belly just behind the gills. Cut the heart and major arteries. I think it makes a nicer fillet. Maybe I should bleed panfish too, I just never gave it much thought.

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I'm usually at my cabin and I just leave the fish in the recirculating livewell until I'm ready to clean them. But I think I'm going to try bleeding them out first. Much less mess, but I think the cleaner fillet would produce a less "fishy" taste also... Especially when freezing them for latter.

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What filleting method are you using to get that much of a mess that you need to bleed them out? I've never really had an issue with blood soaked fillets. I would still imagine there is some blood on the newspaper if you bleed them out. I still dont see the point.

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What filleting method are you using to get that much of a mess that you need to bleed them out? I've never really had an issue with blood soaked fillets. I would still imagine there is some blood on the newspaper if you bleed them out. I still dont see the point.

I bet they're filleted just like you and no, there's very little blood on the paper. If done right you don't even need to rinse them. I'll say it again for all you nay-sayers- "do me a favor and test yourself. Bleed one fish and not the other. Fillet them both on seperate news paper/board. Look at how clean and bright white the fillets are on one (without even rinsing) compared to the pile of bloody guts/bloody fillets on the other board and see for yourself if it matters or not."

I'm sure a lot of people wouldn't notice the difference. Just like when some people clean their venison and throw silver skin, snot, tallow, hair and everything else in and throw it in the grinder and make sausage. I'm the type who likes to look at my venison scrap and hardly see any white anything what so ever. Maybe you really can't tell, but I'll tell you what- it matters to me, and makes me confident I'm presenting the best game that I possibly can to my family and friends who share it with me. If it doesn't matter to you- than don't. And feed your buddies venison hair sticks :-)

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Sounds like the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. I have never bled a fish out and have never had any issues with blood soaked fillets.

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I quite literally sever a number of gills on one side of the fish, takes all of a half second with a knife.

It makes for less blood when you finally do fillet them and does help with the quality.

However, I do keep fish alive as long as possible. I bleed fish I throw on the ice but I don't bleed fish I put on a stringer and toss in the water over the side of my canoe.

I bleed salmon and leave them on shore immediately because I generally have no way to keep them in the water.

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Sounds like the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. I have never bled a fish out and have never had any issues with blood soaked fillets.

And you don't have a flasher because you could catch fish before they were invented and use to walk up hill both ways to school before cars and still don't have one of those and don't shower because you never stink and................lol

I'm certain that all of the saltwater boats bleed and ice fish for a reason- because nobody would buy them on the dock if they didn't.

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I'm certain that all of the saltwater boats bleed and ice fish for a reason- because nobody would buy them on the dock if they didn't.

Are we talking about all of the saltwater around your area of Lakeville or just the other oceans we live so near to in the Upper Midwest where one might bleed a fish so he can commercially sell it?

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Do you freeze your fillet's in water? That helps with the fishy taste.

If I am eating fish I am liking the way the fish taste. If you are talking about mid-late summer weedy taste then after you are done skinning soak your fillets in milk for like 5 mins, then rinse well and vacuum bag. Water takes the good taste out.

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I'm talking about common sense and facts combined with my experience guiding fishing trips and filleting my customers' catch in Alaska for 14 of the last 15 seasons. Have you ever been out of the county? Enjoy your venison hair sticks.

It takes seconds to bleed a fish. I'll bet my life it will not make it taste worse. What do you have to lose? Those precious seconds taken away that you could be talking smack on line?

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I bleed out all my bigger game fish ,,,Last year for opener we had a fish fry and the other 2 boats don't bleed out their fish ,,,The other guys couldn't believe the difference in the fillets (I think one guys chin is still on the fillet board when his jaw dropped) You don't have to bleed out your fish but the OP has a very wise suggestion the rest is up to YOU!!!

LAS

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Never used to bleed em till I started fishing with Alagnak. grin

Now I always bleed em

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Sounds like the solution to a problem that doesn't exist. I have never bled a fish out and have never had any issues with blood soaked fillets.

My reason for starting this thread isn't neccessarily that there is a problem... it's just that if there is a better way to do things, why wouldn't I want to try it. Just because I've allways done something one way, doesn't mean there isn't a better way.

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I have not noticed a taste difference.

However, when you do clean the fish, your fillet table will be noticeably cleaner with the bleed fish.

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Back in the old "stringer" days when I'd fish with my father he always would slit them, drag them around with us and bleed them out. Cleaning was not as messy and the fillets were very clean and perfectly white...taste was excellent. Personally I don't bleed out in a livewell these days or in a bucket when ice fishing...bloody mess when cleaning but taste is the same IMO.

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Like Alagnak says try it once and compare (there is no comparison). The fillet you bleed out will be white as snow with no red in the fillet. We have been doing this for over 20 years in canada and it works great....

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I can't say I've noticed a taste difference, but the bright white color of the filets is amazing when you bleed them. Just started doing it last summer in the boat and now I bleed them all.

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I've bled trout and salmon for years, but not walleyes. But I just got back from a trip with a friend who's always bled everything, so I said why not? We bled the eyes and into a bucket with snow they went.

No question they look 100% better after filleting. Just to test, I showed the bag of fillets to my wife when I got home and asked her if she noticed anything different...she immediatly said yup, they're much whiter, so it was certainly noticeable.

As for taste...we'll see. I'll tell you after lunch!

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