Do you love big bluegill?
I've been browsing through some new catalogs that I have been getting in the mail...searching for presents that I can buy myself for Christmas....anyway I'm wondering how all of you keep your catch?
I kind of like the fishbasket that hangs off my boat but also own clip stringers and the good old rope stringer...and for sure own a couple of five gallon plastic buckets. And for sure I have just tossed them in the cooler as the cans disappear. I have used all of these on more than one trip and realize that I am no stuck on one or the other.
I have had more than one turtle get really interested in my stringer as it sits off the bank or back of the boat...which move the basket way up the list. I also like the basket because I can leave it hanging off a dock or my boat leaving fish to clean the next morning if I come in late.
So let's hear your ideas...maybe there is even some other trick I am missing
I'm a fan of going straight on ice with my fish Bill.....This way the flesh firms up nicely and the blood coagulates for easier cleaning...This method allows me to plan my fish cleaning around other chores as the newer extreme model coolers hold ice longer...When water temperatures warm fish get stressed out in live captivity so I prefer to go right in the ice.....In colder water I will use the baskets sometimes, waiting to see if I assemble a nice mess or keep the fish in good shape for release...
I also am a fan of straight on to the ice and as a few gills or crappies start to accumulate I add a small amount of water and the fish generally find their way under the ice and so always have ice above them. Also this lets me clean em the next morning if too tired after fishing. Depending on how hot it is I usually don't drain the water unless cooler is full and then just drain enough water and fill with more ice if I need to..........
I always use a basket. If I decide not to keep any fish, they can go back in the water still kicking....provided I don't crowd them too much in the basket.
I use the live well in the boat. The cooler it is outside the longer they will keep. When it gets warmer I 'll run the aerator which is on a timer. The warmer it gets the more frequent I'll have to run it. If I'm keeping them alive for transport I'll take them out of the boat and put them in the truck which I have a 100 gallon tub. Made a lid for tub with a pump to circulate the water seems to work great. It holds lots more fish and they don't get crowded and do stay alive for a long time.
When bank fishing I almost always use a basket, and keep a cooler in the truck to ice them down for the ride home. Trout fishing and wading a swift river I use a chain stringer, as a rope stringer will sometimes "saw" through their lower jaw in the current. We use to drift a river for catfish in a 12 ft jon boat, and fished a lot of dip bait. Since they often inhaled the treble hook on a dip worm, we carried a cooler with ice, and iced them down right away. If I am my boat with a live well, I use it. If it is hot outside, I throw ice in the live well for the ride home.I feel taking the extra step of icing my fish down for the ride home makes them taste better, and they are easier to fillet as the flesh is firm.
Any fish that I am going to keep goes on ice. I have several sizes of "fish coolers" that I use depending on where I will be fishing and what I intend to catch and keep. I use empty plastic juice bottles for making ice blocks. I prefer those with about a quart to 2 quart capacity and a square or rectangular "footprint" (helps reduce freezer space).
During this cold water period, if I am fishing from shore, which is 90% of the time, I simply put a small amount of lake water in a bucket and toss the keepers in the water. During warm weather or summer, I ice fish down as soon as possible in a cooler and clean them soon after the trip. I have kept fish on ice, in coolers, during the summer overnight if I can't get to them until the next day. But almost all fish that I do keep are from the late fall through the ice fishing season...they just seem to taste better when the water is cold.
I carry a canvas creel when bank fishing and put a frozen plastic water bottle in the creel to keep the fish cool.
Since I use a U-Tube kickboat I always use clip stringers!!!!!1 As soon as I get back to shore and am finished up for the evening straight to the TABLE!!!!!
I have a fish basket, somewhere. I think it's in my van. It has the floating lid on it. I usually use them when I'm Crappie fishing at my local lake.
I have a couple stringers with metal clips. One is chain, the other a 15' long rope. I use the chain stringer on my kayak when I'm not trolling. I've been using the rope clip stringer when I'm wading, as I usually have my gear on a rock bar about 20' from where I actually stand in the river. I also use that one when I'm fishing heavy current for big cats.
I just replaced an old stringer a couple weeks ago. It's a 12' long thin nylon rope stringer. I use it for wading. I tie a small loop knot near the metal spike. When I catch keeper fish #1, I get the stringer out, and poke the spike through the skin of the lower jaw, right where the it's thin. The loop knot will easily pass through as well. Let the fish slide down the string, then loop the stringer though the metal hoop. Using the loop I've tied in my stringer, I'll attach the stringer to a carabiner clip on my waders. Fish #2 gets the same treatment as fish #1, except that I don't loop the stringer through the hoop. I've found it's extremely fast and efficient to stringer fish, especially in a hot bite.
If I'm trolling in my kayak, I keep a small Igloo cooler in the tankwell. I use gel ice packs in that. If I'm bank fishing in the summer heat, I've been known to use my cooler on wheels, loaded with ice, for fish storage. However, I typically stringer them, carry the stringer back to my vehicle, dump the whole thing into the cooler, and make a stop at the closest gas station to get a bag of ice. Then, I remove the clips from the fish, and cut their gills. Ice over top. By the time I get home, the fish are exsanguinated, and nice and firm for cleaning. Although, I have been known to leave the fish until the next day. My Coleman Extreme cooler does a good job of it.
This was a worthwhile thread, and I appreciate everyone contributing!
The water here in Ohio is starting to get pretty hard ...so this is a time when you just fling those little fish around as they come out and pick them up later!