I'm a newby here, but I've been catching and eating bluegill for years. The way I have been killing them, is to whack them in the head several times with a club or the back of my Camillus four-blade knife.
I came across this in F. Philip Rice's book, "Panfishing."
"Bleed the fish by cutting their throats. This gives them a cleaner flavor. The fish, of course, will bleed more easily if still alive. (This is usually a more humane method of killing them than hitting them over the head several times.) The easiest way is to cut just behind the gills across the inverted V section. Cut deeply enough to sever the main arter behind the hear, or the heart itself, which is located just behind the gills."
Anyone care to comment?
I keep mine in a live basket untel I'm ready to go home, then I put them in a cooler with frozen bottel's of ice. By the time I get home there ready for the knife. All though I think I might like the back tire method, but I dont have a tire out in my boat while I'm fishin.
I agree, if you throw a fish in a cooler with ice in it, without first putting it in a plastic bag, the flavor is going to taste like the water that ice is made of.
I read somewhere that fishermen in Scandinavia put the fish in a plastic bag from long tubes of the stuff, tie both ends and throw them in ice, and leave them frozen whole until they're ready to use them, and that keeps them fresh. Don't know how accurate that is. But I do believe that the sooner you kill a fish, the better you'll be able to preserve it. And, of course, the sooner you get one in the pan the better it's going to taste. Most of the fish I catch go right from the creel/cooler to the pan to the table, and they're gone that night.
I just put a couple of frozen jugs in the cooler, then dip some lake or stream water in there with a coffee can, when I start to catch fish. I find that they stay alive for hours that way. If I make a poor showing and don't get enough to stink up a pan, I just toss them back to catch again another day.
I gotta say though, I don't get this concept of filleting panfish. I cook all of them whole, after scaling, heading and gutting. You guy are missing all the fun of watching that pile of nekkid bones piling up beside your plates! ;-D
Well this is one heckuva thread! I am like Walt though...I put em on ice and then fillet them when I get home. Haven't ever notice a flavor difference from 'live' fish to 'freshly dead' fish. I have noticed a flavor difference in fish from different bodies of water, though.