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4673 Views 29 Replies 17 Participants Last post by  PDR
I hear two competing schools of thoughts on packing freshly caught tuna. Bleeding and decapitating are a given to start. I then pack the chest cavity with ice and surround the fish with more ice (depending on amount of fish in the box and ice). In the recent past i've read a few articles that suggest making an ice slurry (slushy mix of ice and saltwater) because it uses less ice and covers entire fish . However a fish wholesaler that crews with us says slurry reduces the meat quality (the water actually)

Any thoughts
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Blue Eyes,
that is possible,but I have always bled them and put them in that icey water and have no problem.

"Fishing with an Attitude"
Be certain that the slurry is saltwater based, not fresh water. The ice will naturally melt a little in the saltwater because the freezing temperature will be lowered, but you will still have a fairly saline solution. What you don't want is a freshwater bath. The tissue of the fish will absorb less saline water, necessarily effecting the quality of the meat.
I've always heard that salt (salt water) draws the blood out of fish. This would be a good thing with bluefin tuna especially!
Add kosher salt to the mix.
Tight lines, Jim
Why kosher salt? I have read about this many times but still don't know the whys.
Kosher Salt is non-iodized and won't turn the color of the flesh.

"Prolonged high temperature is the most important factor influencing quality and spoilage rates. Rapid chilling and freezing are crucial for maintaining high quality fish. Both enzymatic reaction rates and bacterial growth rates are greatly influenced by temperature. Both processes are very active above 30 F. Even minor changes in the temperature range of 30 F to 50 F have enormous effects on the growth of bacteria. Seafood spoilage is 4 times faster at 50 F than at 30 F and 2.2 times faster at 40 F than at 30 F. Even though bacteria and enzymatic activities have slow substantially at 30 F, they do not stop; thus tuna should be frozen quickly to below 10 F to halt these activities." That's why, if at all practical, the best manner of preserving fish is to pack it wrapped and placed in dry ice rather than plain ice.
Cut by the gills and the tail and blead well.Get that head is off and don't forget to sever the spinal cord to stop the heat.I use a length of stainless wire.Sea water and fish grade ice make a tuna o so cool. A 3'h x 4'w x 3'd will pack 6 preped 80lb yellows,500lbs ice and h2o nicely

Wet is best
Ice and Kosher Salt. We put about 1 box of salt per six fish. All the fish are collared and ice is added as the water drains down. And make sure that you add ice before heading for the dock.
Rough estimate, 200 qt. cooler. How much ice water kosher salt
Bleed them, wack off the head and tail, brine them with Ice and saltwater, That is how they keep the fish in Fulton Fish Market, if it works for them for a week it will work for you for a day.
You all are saying use salt water, do you mean take the water straight out of the ocean or make up the salt water with fresh water from the holding tanks and add the kosher salt to it.....???????
how big of a mess is it when you bleed the tuna? How long to bleed? how soon after bleeding do you de-head? what do you do with multiple hook-ups? thanks
Yes its a mess, it helps if you can tie the fishes tail down. How long? Until they stop bleeding. You take the head off anytime after they stop bleeding. Multiple hooks ups? Get busy. :)
Get READY!!!!!

Thats the best thing I like about tuna fishing,the multiblehook-ups.Three to five rods bent over screaming,guys running around at first like a chinese fire drill.I hold each one,one at a time by the tail with their heads in the cooler of ice and saltwater mixture,I make a cut in the gill area and they immediatly start pumping out blood.It only takes a minute or two for their death dance to end.
You must be catching really small fish if you can hold their tail down during the death dance :)
Capt. Mike

yeah,their on the small side,20-60 lbs.
I did all of my trolling inshore,no canyon fish.

Any tuna is a good tuna-even if you have or want to release it!
Not so. Those rats can become a real PITA if there is big fish around. You can spend more time playing with them than fishing for the big boys.

Sorry, just had to jerk your chain :)
Float them

Having Commercially fished Tuna we found the Crushed ice, Saltwater and Koshersalt the best way to keep them like Ironing boards. We always cut the heads right off and cut the anus then the side plate and stick a hose in the anuse and flush out the guts. Then we also cut the tails for room and stick them in a Brine of crushed ice ,Koshersalt, and Saltwater. We would let the fish Float in the Brine and never have them Brusie from the rough trip.We exported many Bigeye's and got top dollar for them this way .
We never had a comp[laint about the fat content. Water won't break down fat the improper temperature is the thing that cause the fat break down. Being in a brine lets the fish get even temperature
which is most important.
I wish they would put spell ck on this posting program?
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