Nothing beats a great day of beach fishing, especially if the tides are on your side and you find yourself with a load of fish to take home.
However, a problem you might encounter is how to make sure the fish you’ve caught stay fresh during your session – however long that may be. While many fishermen decide to release the fish they catch, there are lots of sea fish that are great to eat and can be caught from the beach with ease.
The best method for keeping your fish fresh at the beach is storing them in a cooler box full of ice as quickly as possible; but don’t worry, there are other methods you can use to keep them fresh.
Join us as we take you through all the methods of keeping fish on the beach so that they stay fresh no matter how long your session.
Gut your Fish First
If you plan to eat the fish then you’ll need to gut them quickly after they are caught. This is because blood can contaminate the meat, and the longer you wait the greater this effect can be.
Once you’ve gutted the fish and let it bleed out you can move on to the next tips for storing the fish properly on the beach to maintain the quality of the meat.
Use a Cooler Box
As we said, a cooler box is the best option to keep your fish as fresh as possible at the beach. This is because you can keep it filled with ice, which is especially easy if you have an electric cooler, to make sure that the fish stays fresh.
As soon as your catch is off the hook then don’t waste any time and throw it directly into the cooler, you won’t regret it. Just make sure you always bring plenty of ice along with you, this really is the secret to keeping fish fresh when on the beach.
The only problem you might encounter is if you don’t have an electric cooler and you’ve been out all day. In this case, the ice will probably have melted depending on the outside temperature. As long as the water is still cool then you should be fine, but there are a few tips you can follow the keep your ice as cool as possible:
- Keep your cooler in the shade and out of the sun. This is pretty obvious, but it can be really easy to forget about this once you get into your fishing. You’ll thank yourself if you keep this in mind right at the start of your day.
- If you’ve got a car, you can still use this to your advantage even if you don’t have an electric cooler. You can keep your car idling and use the air conditioning to keep the cabin cool. Obviously, this will use fuel but if you are desperate then keep this tip in mind.
- The last tip is to bury your cooler in the sand. Although the surface of the sand will be quite hot if it’s warm outside it will still be cool if you dig down a foot or so. This will provide natural cooling and works especially well if you cover the top of your cooler with a blanket or something similar.
What if you don’t have any ice?
If you don’t have any ice then you’ll be taking a much bigger risk if you want to eat the fish you’ve caught. So, before we give you any tips be sure to smell your fish before you eat it to make sure it hasn’t spoiled. Spoiled fish has a strong unpleasant smell and the eyes of the fish will be sunken into the head.
Now you know that, let’s see what you can do if you’re out of ice. Just remember that you cant guarantee that the fish will be safe to eat, but these methods will certainly place the odds in your favour.
Bury the Fish
Keeping the fish underground can be a viable option even if you don’t have a cooler box to place in the ground full of ice. If you bury the fish as close to the waterline as possible, preferably a few feet underground, then the temperature will be low enough to at least chill the fish.
Obviously, this can cause some issues with sand but as long as you wash the fish properly at home then this shouldn’t be too much of a problem. This method is not advisable for long periods of time, and don’t forget to mark the spot so you don’t forget where to dig the fish back up from.
Use a Fish Stringer
If the conditions at the beach allow for a stringer to be used then you can stake the fish close to the sure to keep them alive for longer. This will only work if the conditions allow for it, so you need to make sure you know what you’re doing, but it is a viable option to keep your fish fresh in an unconventional way.
Insulated Fish Bag
If you have a quick browse online you’ll find loads of different fish bags that are designed for insulation and storage of fish.
Although these work best with ice packs, they can still work decently well if you have some cold water on hand. If you can keep the bag cold then you should be good to go for a couple of hours.
Always remember that ice is the key to keeping fish fresh at the beach.
If you have a cooler then you’re ready to go – fill it up with ice and cold water and place your fish into it as soon as possible after removing the blood from the meat. An electric cooler is even better but not essential.