Advantage of Fish Processing?

Deekay

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Apr 18, 2019
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Hey fellas! I am hoping to hop on a 1.5 day this week for some bluefin action (hopefully). My first and only tuna was 130lb (awful experience, was not prepared) last year on the old glory and i was breaking my bank on this trip so ended up having the crew slice her up for me to avoid the fortune at processing. Got 4 massive fillets out of it no complaint but still had to spend a good 2 hours at home separating the good meat from blood and packaging, etc. The fish really did not stay good quality as im sure my prep was missing crucial steps or overall the care of the fish should have been better. I ended up with a lot of grilled bluefin and poke but without some marinade the fish was....well...fishy..lol.

Lots of questions below, sorry Im not sure where to look this info up.

If i catch anything over 40 lbs what are the advantages of bringing the fish to processing? What can i expect for the fortune im paying and does anyone have an idea of what the current rate is? Finally, if a trip returns at 6am and I have a fish will the landing direct me to where I should call or am i supposed to make some arrangement before hand? What is the turn around if they take the fish early?
 
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solid72

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First of all, if you want same day service, it’s always good to notify ahead of time. If it’s busy that is one way to hopefully assure same day service 2-4 hrs. Marios’s is $1 a pound 3 mil bags. Fisherman’s and Five Star are $1.25 for 3 mil and I believe 1.35 for 5 mil. So worth it to have them do it and it’s already bagged and clean cut. Hope you get some. I just returned last week from a 3 and I’m glad I did not bring my catch to fillet up and seal.
 
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Deekay

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Apr 18, 2019
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Do these companies flash freeze the fillets or do i just get a ton of sealed bags in ice? Also I would love to save many if I can so is there a difference between the service Mario offers and the rest?
 
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Phil mckracken

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    Do these companies flash freeze the fillets or do i just get a ton of sealed bags in ice? Also I would love to save many if I can so is there a difference between the service Mario offers and the rest?
    I’ve used Fishermans and Mario’s. They’re both good, but I will say Fishermans, well, I didn’t have any bags loose the seal where I’ve had that happen with a few bags from Mario’s. I will say, Mario’s did two large fish for me and so it took a while to eat all the fish. Maybe that was the reason?? I don’t know. You’ll receive your fish bagged, and they’ll give you ice for the trip home.
    Will I use one over the other? Depends on what landing I’m at personally. If I’m at Seaforth, Mario’s. Fishermans or H&M, Point Loma, Fishermans processing. That’s just me.
    I will say, as stated above, plan ahead, call and make a reservation, and it’ll be 2-4 hours as stated. For me, the time saved on processing it myself, it’s worth it.
    Fingers crossed you load up on fish, and maybe the boat does your yellowtail and process the bluefin?? That’d save you some money. If it were me though, anything under 100 lbs, I usually do myself at home after the deckies break it down. Anything over 100lbs I get processed.
    Hope that help.
    As well, when I plan a trip, I always budget that trip with plans to process at least 300 lbs.
    good luck on your trip.
     
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    Wandering Blues

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    I’ve used 5 Star for about a decade, and occasionally Fisherman’s. Before that, I used to bring home sacks of filets and whole fish to process myself. While there was a certain satisfaction in doing it myself, I don’t miss it.

    Yeah, it’s a bit costly on the front side. But, when you get back beautiful filets, vacuum sealed, and flash frozen (or not frozen-your choice), that stay perfect through the next season, it’s worth it. And the yield is higher because it’s what they do.

    Typically, you’ll find the processors at the landing for the morning returns. If you’re coming in after hours, they offer a drop-off and will have a bin and ice ready for you. Or, if you coordinate enough guys, they’ll meet you at the landing.

    When they’re filling out your sheet, they’ll ask how you’d like it processed, when you need it by, whether you want it frozen or not, 3/5ml bags, special requests.. Their reputation is in doing it right the first time.

    I’d say try it once. You’ll be a fan.
     
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    Shimano Penn

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    It really comes down to how you view the overall hobby of sportfishing :D For some it's all inclusive, everything form servicing your own reels to making your own wind-ons and
    re-rigging all factory rigged tackle, so yea for those guys processing fish is part of the fun. For others the processors are the only way to go ;) I use whoever is at the dock, not particular about which one. I've have always had (so far) positive experiences with all. There are numerous threads and opinions you can read here on the differences. I will say that if you are going to pay for processing you should invest in a few things to really take advantage of it. First off a quality chest freezer is pretty much a requirement. Next I would say buy a quality smoker and learn how to use it, you're going to have a LOT of fish and some parts are just better smoked than anything else. A big advantage to this is you will no longer be disappointed when you catch bonita or skipjack, they are yummy !
    Also consider canning, I've never done it but my buddy does and it's pretty awesome.
    With fishing as it is right now you probably don't have to make any prior arrangements, they will be at the dock when you come in or at least open for drop off.
    About 4 weeks ago I paid $1.15 per pound at Five Star.
    You can take your fish fresh or have them freeze it, I don't know if they will do half and half but I'm going to ask next time.
    You already know what it's like to do it yourself, try having them do it at least once and decide for yourself 8-)
    Edit note: people often ask if there is a minimum size to take to the processors, the boat crew might lie to you about this if they want you you to pay them to do it. According to Mario's there is no minimum, I don't know about the others.
     
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    streetnfish

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    Jun 7, 2009
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    Lots of questions below, sorry Im not sure where to look this info up.

    If i catch anything over 40 lbs what are the advantages of bringing the fish to processing? What can i expect for the fortune im paying and does anyone have an idea of what the current rate is? Finally, if a trip returns at 6am and I have a fish will the landing direct me to where I should call or am i supposed to make some arrangement before hand? What is the turn around if they take the fish early?
    To answer your exact questions:

    1) You don't have to have to try and Lug a fish over 40lbs or multiple fish home and clean it yourself. You don't have to dispose of the carcasses of mess. You don't have to spend hours vaccuum sealing yourself and will probably get better quality sealed bags than you have if any.

    2) For the money you pay. You will get nice, clean and labeled cuts of fish. Professionally sealed which will last in your freezer and taste great even after a year.

    3) For rates you will have to check the websites for each processor.

    4) For arrangements you should call the landing and make a reservation to have your fish picked up at the docks. They usually are already there for all the .5 day and long range trips but a call will make sure especially early on in the season.

    5) Turn around time can be as little as an hour or 2 or up to 1/2 a day depending on how busy they are, if you have a reservation, ect.

    I have used all 3 in the last 8 months and they are all comparable. Some will be a little cheaper but may not provide free ice, so there goes your 10-20 cents savings possibly. They will all flash freeze your fish for later pickup, at your convenience or you can take them home in ice to eat immediately or stick in the freezer. (or any combination of above) All 3 will provide quality vac sealing. I advise you to use the 5mil bags if you are planning on a large amount of fish for a long time in the freezer (>1-2 months). I'm sure you will have a bunch of people telling you their favorite or which one they won't ever use again for reason XYZ but you will find the same thing for opinions on landings/sportboats. Like I said, I've used all 3 recently and they all did a quality job.
    If you are trying to save money, give up fishing now before it's too late. 😉

    Good Luck
     
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    Blind Luck

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  • Feb 14, 2015
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    Flash freezing is the #1 reason I process my fish. My last trip ...just the bft filets were over 125lbs...+ yt & yft. It would take over a week for your home freezer to freeze 200lbs of fish. Flash freezing keeps the fish FRESH.
    Read threads on freezers too...auto defrost (bad)...upright vs chest freezer..
     
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    azbaseball

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    Oh what a problem to have. I do it myself. Instead of spending the hundreds of dollars on the processing. I spent that money a a better grade vacuum sealer and I purchase my bags from Cabelas. I personally prefer to do it my self as the waste you see when the boat or the processor prepare your fish. I use it all. The belly, collars and head meat. I scrape the ribs with a spoon for the most tender of the meat. To tell you the truth I probably eat more tuna when I am cleaning the ribs than at any other time. A little ginger and wasabi and I am good to go. All kidding aside the fish you process your self will yield many more pounds of meat. With that i mind remember you have o have the tools. Sharp knives, vacuum sealer, bags, freezer space, large coolers or fish bags and ice to keep your fish cool during the processing time. I also use a lot of kosher salt and cold water in a 5 gallon pail. I use ths to rinse the fish than pat it dry before i pout it in the vacuum bags. Cheer i hope you have a great trip
     
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    dwaynesda

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    There is no comparison in fish quality to processed home frozen. We can eat bluefin a year old from 5 star and it tastes like we caught it yesterday. Can't say that about home processed fish. We all struggle with the price at first but when you have to throw fish away because it is inedible 6 months later, year after year, the decision becomes easier.
     
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    nicodemus

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    Apr 10, 2012
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    Processing time for fresh, as noted above, can be pretty quick. If you want to get your fish fresh asap, definitely make a reservation in advance and let them know that.
    Frozen product isn't ready till the next day (at least not for me at 5-Star).
    I usually take some fish fresh, a variety and all the bellies, and have the rest frozen. Just let them know when you fill out your ticket at the dock, they are happy to do whatever you need.
    The key to high-quality, long lasting product is getting it frozen quickly. Most home freezers can't come close to freezing even 5 or 10 lbs. of fish quickly enough for it to be primo once thawed. Home freezers aren't designed to freeze things, but to keep frozen things frozen.
    I've eaten a variety of fish processed from 5-Star 2 years later, some even longer, and it was still delicious. Yeah, it's a hit in the wallet... but winding up with a bunch of crappy fish compared to the sashimi quality from the processors really, really sucks.
     
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    CrazyDonkey

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    I absolutely despise cleaning and packing fish at home, I went on a 1.5 2 weeks ago and got a 20lb BFT, dropped it off to Mario at the landing on Sunday and picked it up Monday at lunch, think it was $20 tip included and I couldn't be happier. Going to try to go out next week and I will try 5 Star for that trip.

    For Fisherman's...I was less than impressed, people on the boat had reservations for fish drop off and they were no where to be found at the landing, Five Star and Mario's were both there waiting, that was an easy way to decide who I won't use in the future.
     
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    jer dog

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    I absolutely despise cleaning and packing fish at home, I went on a 1.5 2 weeks ago and got a 20lb BFT, dropped it off to Mario at the landing on Sunday and picked it up Monday at lunch, think it was $20 tip included and I couldn't be happier. Going to try to go out next week and I will try 5 Star for that trip.

    For Fisherman's...I was less than impressed, people on the boat had reservations for fish drop off and they were no where to be found at the landing, Five Star and Mario's were both there waiting, that was an easy way to decide who I won't use in the future.
    on Trips out of Fisherman's Landing, like the Shogun,
    Fisherman's processing comes down on the Boat and weights each Fish ,
    and you don't have to deal with Sorting your fish on the Dock,
    if you have any Physicals problems , then this is the way to go.,
    and in the last 3 years I have used them , and called Ahead ,
    I used to do all my own for over 30 Years ,
    it makes it A lot easier .once you get home.
     
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    CrazyDonkey

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    on Trips out of Fisherman's Landing, like the Shogun,
    Fisherman's processing comes down on the Boat and weights each Fish ,
    and you don't have to deal with Sorting your fish on the Dock,
    if you have any Physicals problems , then this is the way to go.,
    and in the last 3 years I have used them , and called Ahead ,
    I used to do all my own for over 30 Years ,
    it makes it A lot easier .once you get home.
    I was on the Tomahawk out of Fisherman's Landing and they did not come on the boat, granted we did not have a lot of fish but I would have used them if they did that like I was told when I checked in for my trip, and like I said before, there were people on the trip who had called ahead and there was still no one there.
     
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    ExBacklasher

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    I use 5 star exclusively now, have had nothing but great results with them. A trick a fellow fisherman taught me last year was to buy some Dry Ice at San Diego ice company while waiting for your fish to be processed. They put the fillets in my cooler, I placed a layer of cardboard over the fillets and then the dry ice. When I got home 2.5 hours later my fillets were frozen.. San Diego Ice Company is two blocks from 5 star.
     
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    jer dog

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    I was on the Tomahawk out of Fisherman's Landing and they did not come on the boat, granted we did not have a lot of fish but I would have used them if they did that like I was told when I checked in for my trip, and like I said before, there were people on the trip who had called ahead and there was still no one there.
    did any one of them call them ,to see what happened .
     
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    *FishyGirl*

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    on Trips out of Fisherman's Landing, like the Shogun,
    Fisherman's processing comes down on the Boat and weights each Fish ,
    and you don't have to deal with Sorting your fish on the Dock,
    if you have any Physicals problems , then this is the way to go.,
    and in the last 3 years I have used them , and called Ahead ,
    I used to do all my own for over 30 Years ,
    it makes it A lot easier .once you get home.
    To be clear:

    FishPros does dockside for the Shogun, Royal Star, and Royal Polaris; we will also arrange with charters if requested by the Charter Master and agreed upon with the boat captains.
     
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    *FishyGirl*

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    I was on the Tomahawk out of Fisherman's Landing and they did not come on the boat, granted we did not have a lot of fish but I would have used them if they did that like I was told when I checked in for my trip, and like I said before, there were people on the trip who had called ahead and there was still no one there.

    Just want to clarify, that FishPro's doesn't do dockside unloading of the Tomahawk. Just don't want any confusion regarding our services. The OP was referring to the dockside unloading for the Shogun.
     
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    CrazyDonkey

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    Just want to clarify, that FishPro's doesn't do dockside unloading of the Tomahawk. Just don't want any confusion regarding our services. The OP was referring to the dockside unloading for the Shogun.
    Interesting, so the only way to get fish to FishPros is to take it there in person?
     
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