Quandary: what am I going to do with all the fish I catch?

JTE

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Nov 20, 2017
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Jim
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18' Grizzly
I'm booked on my first long range trip, an 11 day on Independence which leaves day after Thanksgiving. I live in Florida, so will be flying to San Diego from Orlando.

My quandary is: what am I going to do with all the fish I'm going to catch on this trip? My wife and I love to eat fish and will eat it multiple times a week if we have it. Part of my problem is I have my own boat(s) here and fish regularly (atleast once a week) and regularly catch fish, which we eat fresh and freeze some (for a fish fry a couple of times a year).

I will pay to get the fish I catch and want to bring home processed, not sure how I'll get it back to Orlando yet (shipped?), but don't want to pay to process and ship hundred(s) of pounds back and have it end up freezer burned and only fit to feed somebody's cat.

Is there such a thing as "catch and release" on the LR boats? I regularly fish for catch & release species here in Florida (tarpon, redfish, etc.). I didn't pay big bucks to go on this long range trip to catch all I want to bring home on the first few days and then sit and watch for the last 7 or 8. I don't want to see fish killed needlessly and assume most of the anglers on the boat will want to catch their own.

What's the answer? Thanks for your input, Jim
 

back-breaker

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Sep 30, 2005
175
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Jim Simondet
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22 foot Boston Whaler Outrage
If you're fortunate to land more fish than you want to process and take home, you can donate the fish to other passngers less fortunate, you could donate them to the crew or galley, you could tag them and donate them at the dock, or you could inform the crew before they stick a gaff in it that you would like to release the fish and they will make an attempt to do so. Not all hooked fish stand a chance of succesful release and survival.
 

RichG

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Jan 20, 2007
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Jim, always a nice problem to have. First calculate how much and what you prefer to ship home. The processors have a rough percentage calculation of processed fish. A large box has up to about 50 pounds of filets.

1. Catch and release
2. Donate to the boat for a meal
3. Donate to the crew, they sometimes want a fish to take home
4. All the processor have a charity they work with
5 to another passenger who isn’t to lucky.

suggest you make a reservation with a processor. Personally I have the processor blast freeze my fish and ship it a week or two later. I just go to the airport and pick it up. The fish is frozen better than if I take it home and use my freezer. Have not had any real problem with freezer burn. Sometimes I will trim the edges off. Oh and get the 5 mm vacuum pack, holds up much better.

have fun.

PS the fleet does NOT want you giving fish to people at the dock.
 
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Bill W

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  • Jan 12, 2006
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    The Red Rooster has a cutter device on a pole that cuts line near your hook. Release is quick and fish still in water.
     
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    offshore6

    Where's the tuna?
    Aug 20, 2006
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    I, too, fly from Florida to San Diego for my long-range fishing fix. Five Star processing will take care of any fish that you want to bring back to Florida, including shipping on same day air via Southwest Airlines to Orlando. It is surprisingly affordable to ship it (about $1.50 a pound last time I went). That is, of course, in addition to the processing fee.
    Keep what you want and release or donate the rest.
     
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    Carl

    Bridesmaid,,,,,,,Again
    Nov 29, 2004
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    By posting a thread with the title you chose, I would guess you have already solved the problem.
     
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    Kman

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    Apr 7, 2003
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    Call me lol. I’m having a crappy tuna season so far (private boat) and my commercial freezer has tons of room in it.

    I can meet you at the dock and take your extra fish whole. I have a cleaning station at the house and can process a couple hundred pounds at a whack. We vacuum bag it, can it, smoke it. Extra goes to neighbors, fellow fishermen, the local fire station. My friend’s employees take the carcasses and have a block party with all the meat that is still on them. Nothing gets wasted.

    Im serious. I’ve done this several times in lean years. Message me if you are interested. This is not a commercial operation. This is for my family/friends/neighbors’ consumption.

    PS. My kids love canned YFT. TSA lets them check a whole case of pint jars as checked baggage.
     
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    jiggermyster

    Goin' out...
    Dec 12, 2003
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    If you're serious about c&r, plan ahead.

    Rig some iron with a single siwash and crimp the barb.
    You can shake the jig out once the fish is alongside, or if the DH is not busy he can flip the jig out with the gaff.

    Have a couple iron without hooks for when the YT/YFT really get stoopid.
    You'd be surprised how much drag they pull before they let go.
    (It's all about the strike anyway... the rest is just work)

    If I was bait fishing, I'd crimp the barb on my bait hooks so they had a better chance of falling out after we busted the fish off.
     
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    ifish42na

    No Bad Days
    Oct 23, 2004
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    The Red Rooster has a cutter device on a pole that cuts line near your hook. Release is quick and fish still in water.
    Yes there is catch and release. You should be fishing with circle hooks if you want the option. The XL has gaffs with a 400lb mono loop served into the head instead of the hook; once your fish is boat-side the deckhand can reach down and grab the barb of the hook, pop it free and pull it up to the deck. Cut off the hook and the leader slides back down, fish swims free.
     

    baja_01

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    May 29, 2015
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    have it end up freezer burned and only fit to feed somebody's cat.

    The damage to taste/texture done to fish by freezing is usually way overblown. Get the 5mil bag and keep it hard frozen and its good for a year+, 6 months if you have a super sensitive palate. Make sure to take care defrosting it too.

    Even more true if you are talking about fish like tuna or yellowtail.
     
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    Bryantttt
    Bryantttt
    how do you care for it when defrosting? First season catching enough to freeze so I'm wondering for when I decide to thaw out a steak...
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    RockHopperNCKA

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    The damage to taste/texture done to fish by freezing is usually way overblown. Get the 5mil bag and keep it hard frozen and its good for a year+, 6 months if you have a super sensitive palate. Make sure to take care defrosting it too.

    Even more true if you are talking about fish like tuna or yellowtail.

    I've eaten tuna processed at Five Star with the 5 mil bags that is three years old. Tasted fine to me and everyone else that ate it.
     

    JTE

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    Nov 20, 2017
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    Have a processor reservation........getting prices on shipping now, if it's only ~$1.50/lb, no issue, I'll pay for it...........I have 2 freezers at home and can probably freeze atleast 200 lbs.

    Maybe I don't have that big of a "quandry".

    For you experienced long range guys, on a 10 day trip, how many pounds (range) of tuna, wahoo and yellowtail would you hope/expect to land? (considering you are a decent/average fisherman and the fishing on the trip is average).

    Thanks, Jim
     

    H20buffalo112

    El Bombero
    Feb 17, 2013
    381
    333
    San Pedro ca USA
    Name
    Sergio
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    SANCHA Bonita
    I'm booked on my first long range trip, an 11 day on Independence which leaves day after Thanksgiving. I live in Florida, so will be flying to San Diego from Orlando.

    My quandary is: what am I going to do with all the fish I'm going to catch on this trip? My wife and I love to eat fish and will eat it multiple times a week if we have it. Part of my problem is I have my own boat(s) here and fish regularly (atleast once a week) and regularly catch fish, which we eat fresh and freeze some (for a fish fry a couple of times a year).

    I will pay to get the fish I catch and want to bring home processed, not sure how I'll get it back to Orlando yet (shipped?), but don't want to pay to process and ship hundred(s) of pounds back and have it end up freezer burned and only fit to feed somebody's cat.

    Is there such a thing as "catch and release" on the LR boats? I regularly fish for catch & release species here in Florida (tarpon, redfish, etc.). I didn't pay big bucks to go on this long range trip to catch all I want to bring home on the first few days and then sit and watch for the last 7 or 8. I don't want to see fish killed needlessly and assume most of the anglers on the boat will want to catch their own.

    What's the answer? Thanks for your input, Jim
    Just saying. You must be one hell of a great fisherman.
     
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    nicodemus

    Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
    Apr 10, 2012
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    A lot of good options, including like Steve K and others suggested, donate it. I kept way too much fish last year (it's all been shared and consumed, but just awful pricey to process then give away, at least for me). This year, if I'm so lucky, I'll go the route of donating through 5-Star. For some people, the quandary is where the next meal is going to come from...
     
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    JTE

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    Just sayin......it "might" happen (says Jim with fingers crossed)........I like to be prepared and be able to understand & study my options. I'd say I'm an OK fisherman and have had my share of good days during the 65 years I've been fishing, 50 years of it owning/running/maintaining my own boats.

    Thanks, Jim
     
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    RichG

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    Jan 20, 2007
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    Have a processor reservation........getting prices on shipping now, if it's only ~$1.50/lb, no issue, I'll pay for it...........I have 2 freezers at home and can probably freeze atleast 200 lbs.

    Maybe I don't have that big of a "quandry".

    For you experienced long range guys, on a 10 day trip, how many pounds (range) of tuna, wahoo and yellowtail would you hope/expect to land? (considering you are a decent/average fisherman and the fishing on the trip is average).

    Thanks, Jim
    Hard to say, I’d ask Soda since he does a lot of fishing But 500 pound is possible. Remember you have a 30 fish limit and no more than 15 of one species, except Dorado and Bluefin, which is 6 fish equals 15 toward the limit. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, Wahoo average 20 to 40, yellowtail 20 to 40 pounds. Yellowfin is a big variable that time of year. If the Cows are biting, game on.

    So estimate how much you want to take home, even keep a ledger handy. Oh once you tag a fish with your number and it goes in the RSW, it’s yours, kind of hard to give it to another passenger later, so after you’ve tagged a few, think twice if you want to tag it, release it or donate it to the boat.
     
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    TanstaaflSD

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  • Dec 3, 2013
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    All great advice above.
    I offer a shipping tip and some fishing suggestions.
    the TIP
    Be careful about shipping addresses. Cargo to cargo is cheaper than door to door.
    I worked with Fisherman's, waited 3 or 4 days after the boat came in. Went down and paid, packed a new box for shipment, and took the balance home. Fisherman's kept the shipment overnight and then had the hard frozen fish delivered to Southwest's CARGO terminal, then shiiped to Dallas, where my daughter picked-up the "Cargo" from the SW cargo terminal. If you do this be sure to use email or text to get address etc precisely correct.
    WAAAAY cheaper than the also available shipping to a home address. (( BUT maybe not so good a tip, if no nearby airport.))
    the Suggestions:
    Perhaps have a plan (after you get the fish you want) to go for a specific type of fish -- keeping the other fishers in mind ---
    a) Maybe target getting a big Grouper vs flylining to hungry Yellowtail or schoolie tuna;
    b) Focus on really big near-bottom Yellowtail and not the near surface smaller fis, for a personal best;
    c) Focus on variety ...... how many species in one trip;
    Or
    d) Make-up some personal lures or novel rigs and experiment ..... some won't work but some may work.
    Or
    e) simply kick back and enjoy the Nat Geo settings you will experience as you fish.
    Enjoy .... Tight LInes !!
     

    Scold

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    Dec 1, 2009
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    The damage to taste/texture done to fish by freezing is usually way overblown. Get the 5mil bag and keep it hard frozen and its good for a year+, 6 months if you have a super sensitive palate. Make sure to take care defrosting it too.

    Even more true if you are talking about fish like tuna or yellowtail.
    @Bryantttt
    Always defrost in the refrigerator if possible. If you want it quick, put it in a bowl with cold tap water, put it in your sink and turn the sink on so that it’s dripping into the bowl (overfilling and draining down the sink). This will defrost the meat in less than 30 mins.
     
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    Joe-in-MN

    Fishing from 40 below to 120 above..
    Sep 10, 2017
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    I always have the same issue and I do a 10 day and 14 day 3 weeks apart. I live in Minnesota fish weekly always have lots of fish. I use sportsmans/marios but they all do a good job. Have it sent air freight to the airport and pick it up much cheaper.

    The more I have brought into work the more I have to bring home. The guys at my work took 250lbs of fillets last year.

    But many times I ask the deck hand to release the fish or if the crew or someone else wants it. Some trips they release it. Some trips everyone on the boat wants the fish and its given away.

    I never really thought that the crew would want fish so bad but I have had some crew super excited when I offered him a 70lb yellowfin.
     

    CMYSIX

    Member
  • Aug 22, 2020
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    Quinn L Chenelle
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    A lot of good options, including like Steve K and others suggested, donate it. I kept way too much fish last year (it's all been shared and consumed, but just awful pricey to process then give away, at least for me). This year, if I'm so lucky, I'll go the route of donating through 5-Star. For some people, the quandary is where the next meal is going to come from...
    if your hungry in the USA, with 83 different "food programs" and every church with a pantry and the 100,000's of soup kitchens your not looking for food.
     
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