Taking care of Tuna...minimum ice for prime meat

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
1
bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
The next time you catch a albie, cut it open as soon it hits the deck and put your hand in there to feel just how HOT tuna can get. The interior heat will deteriorate the fish if not taken out. If you want prime grade sashimi quality meat that doesn't fall apart, take a little time and effort to care for your catch.

Gutting out and hosing the inside cavity with just seawater takes the heat out the fastest. Once the heat is removed, it will take very little ice to keep it prime for the time that you are out on the water. NO need to buy hundreds of pounds of ice to take care of your catch.

I freeze one gallon milk jugs with just water. One jug will cool down enough saltwater in a 100 qt cooter for the entire day. Two jugs for a bigger 124 quart cooler. Determine the size of your fishboxes to decide how many jugs you need. The milk jugs will not dilute the seawater unlike just throwing in a bag of ice. A 7 pound bag of ice is equivlent to the milk jug.

As long as you gut and gill and cool the internal cavity down before putting it into the iced saltwater; you will get home with a firm chilled albie. Take off the heads to stack more in the coolers and you wont have a mess for the garbage cans too.

Once you get back to land, you can then buy whatever ice you need to keep them cold until you process them.

here is a pic of the fish in the cooler with a jug of ice.

and a pic of headless, gutless, bloodless tuna cores packed in ice once back on land.

and a pic of a homemade tuna pither

Now you can take your time to process the fish.
 

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Phat Boat

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Apr 18, 2004
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San Diego
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Jon
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Grady White Marlin 300
Thanks for the tips. Ice is really important and I use alot of it to ice my fish. I normally will take 160 pounds, which costs me a nominal $20. I do like the method of gutting the fish and removing the heat as you describe. I may have to try it on the water. For now pull a gil to bleed them out and bury them in ice. I like what the salmon guys have with the V shaped fish holder for gutting. Those are nice too.
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
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bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
iI only bring enough jugs for each fish box.

Doesn't work if you dont gut the fish... bleeding and putting a ton of ice on top doesn't do it either. It takes a long time for the heat to leave without gutting it even if you cover it in ice on top. The heat still does damage as it goes through the meat. Once the meat gets soft, it never comes goes back to its original firmness, no matter how much ice you use.
 

tuna head

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Aug 13, 2008
151
17
watsonville Ca. usa
Name
jason
Boat
17ft aquasport cc ksea
lerned that shit long time ago, can make a cut just infront of there bunghole to cut the intestine sac then cut head almost off and brake the rest of the head and the guts and gills come out with the head, then seawater then bottle waterfrozen/seawater stackem high icecold bloodfree
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
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bay area
Name
lambert Woo
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WombatV/185 Edgewater
yep. that will do. Good job. there are two oiley sacs of blood and grease just at the joint between the head and the vertebrae. It is the cause of the awful smell that albacore can give off. I use the salmon knife with the spoon to scoop it out and wash with saltwater hose. Don't want that in the saltwater brine tank.
 

scrubber

true story
Dec 5, 2009
501
2
san pedro
Name
will
Boat
1936 wilson xt
Yes Thar little smelly sack, it is best removed then cleaned up before putting in the cooler.
 

BAJA.DESERT.RAT

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Oct 29, 2009
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BAJA SUR
Name
DA RAT
Boat
NONE
Hola wombatV,

thanks for the tips.

one question, shouldn't the fish be bled first and then processed as you say ?

i thank you in advance.

BIEN SALUD, DA RAT
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
1
bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
I have a homemade tuna pither. Hit the right spot and the fins pop outward , the mouth opens up and the fish goes limp. to prevent excessive shuttering and heating up even more internal heat. then slit the gills at the heart. bloodydecks for sure...

do this within seconds of landing it as you take the hook out. then get the gear out asap. hopefully you are on a wide open area and keep pulling them in.

when the action settles, then gut and gill between stops.
 

bigFISHINyak

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Aug 9, 2009
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Ballard/Los Olivos, CA
Name
Justin
Boat
eventually.......
I have a homemade tuna pither. Hit the right spot and the fins pop outward , the mouth opens up and the fish goes limp. to prevent excessive shuttering and heating up even more internal heat. then slit the gills at the heart. bloodydecks for sure...

do this within seconds of landing it as you take the hook out. then get the gear out asap. hopefully you are on a wide open area and keep pulling them in.

when the action settles, then gut and gill between stops.
Where is the "right" spot so the fins and mouth opens???
Also, do you have any pictures of the blood and grease sac locations on the fish that should be cleaned out prior to going into the slurry???
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
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bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
Here is a pic of a homemade pither.

the spot is just lined up between the eyes and just back a couple of inches towards the tail on the top of the head. Experiment. When you hit it the pectoral fins go 90 degree and the mouth opens and the fish goes limp.

I will take a pic of the oiley , greasy , smelly lumps next time for you. It is right at the joint where the head comes off of the vertebrae on the inside...kind of at the base where the gills attach. Takes quite a bit of flushing to get it all out.
 

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kwonsoo

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Jun 18, 2008
167
18
San Jose, CA USA
Name
Jack
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20' SeaCraft Master Angler
for me, its always been gut, gill and get rid of all blood before cooling. I mean all the blood, the sack, run a spoon across, all the blood for yummy sashimi.
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
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lambert Woo
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WombatV/185 Edgewater
yep,, doesn''t take very long yet, most do not get the blood and guts out of tuna until they get it home. Much nicer to come back with clean , bloodless, firm cores that just take minutes to loin out.
 

kwonsoo

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Jun 18, 2008
167
18
San Jose, CA USA
Name
Jack
Boat
20' SeaCraft Master Angler
Here is a pic of a homemade pither.

the spot is just lined up between the eyes and just back a couple of inches towards the tail on the top of the head. Experiment. When you hit it the pectoral fins go 90 degree and the mouth opens and the fish goes limp.

I will take a pic of the oiley , greasy , smelly lumps next time for you. It is right at the joint where the head comes off of the vertebrae on the inside...kind of at the base where the gills attach. Takes quite a bit of flushing to get it all out.
that's a cool tool. what did you start out with?
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
1
bay area
Name
lambert Woo
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WombatV/185 Edgewater
made from stainless steel round stock and seaboard. have some made with exotic cocobola wood too for having some pretty tools to look at but the seaboard handles are made for using on the boat. One poke is all it takes to pith the brain and spinal cord.
quick and merciful for the fish.
 

JHH

Member
Apr 6, 2008
36
1
norcal
Name
jim
Boat
sold
rip a gill, bleed em out, throw them in ice. colder the better, add rock salt to your ice is better yet.
 

Garrison

Garrison
May 21, 2008
338
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Temecula
Name
Garrison
Boat
Whaler 315 Conquest
Or you could get one of these, preferably with a head unit that makes crushed.

 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
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Name
lambert Woo
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WombatV/185 Edgewater
sure would be nice to be able to make flaked ice!
 

Garrison

Garrison
May 21, 2008
338
115
Temecula
Name
Garrison
Boat
Whaler 315 Conquest
sure would be nice to be able to make flaked ice!

We have a 250qt Yetti on the swim step, if we get too much liquid in the box we get some slack tank roll. I was going to make dividers with star board but if you pack it with snow no issues. They use a ton of electricity so it is only plugged in a day before trips.
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
1
bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
gotta pay one way or the other if you want ice. how much would a smaller ice machine cost? or how much would a used unit go for?

I bought a small chest freezer from costco for 170. Intended to use it primarily to freeze up a bunch gallon jugs for using in my fishbox and icechest. Takes about 6 hours to freeze a gallon. Worked great. except now this 2nd freezer is plugged with tuna loins, seabass and salmon. might have to go buy a third freezer.
 

Garrison

Garrison
May 21, 2008
338
115
Temecula
Name
Garrison
Boat
Whaler 315 Conquest
Used at auction

Cuber $500-$600

Flaker $800-$1000

Cubers are more reliable and cheaper for repair, not as many moving parts.
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
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1
bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
will keep my eye out for one of those...would be nice to have all the flaked ice you need at home.

good idea.
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
1
bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
for saltwater slush. people add rocksalt when using freshwater ice cubes added to the seawater. In general, freshwater is not good for saltwater fish. I usually avoid using freshwater when processing fish. just wipe with clean paper towels.
 

c-goat

HELL BENT FOR FEATHER
May 4, 2004
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santee ca.
Name
Bill
Boat
08 DEFIANCE 220 ex Sheri-Moon
I use frozen water bottles and the bigger gatorade bottles.I keep them in the deep freeze and every trip I throw a whole bunch of them in the kill bag.I will actually take the smaller water bottles and insert them into the gut cavity of tuna and yellowtail.

A side note here.I beleive that a lot of fisherman dont like cuda because they have had a bad experience with this fish.Cuda meat easily gets mushy if not taken good care of. Best fish tacos ever imo.
 

wombatV

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Jul 13, 2005
423
1
bay area
Name
lambert Woo
Boat
WombatV/185 Edgewater
I agree. cuda is great if properly cared for.