There’s nothing better than fresh-caught fish. But fish don’t stay fresh for long. The clock starts ticking the second you pull them out of the water.
Everything from how they die to how they’re stored on the boat impacts their final quality and the taste. So check your fish in minute detail at the end of the trip. Here’s what to look for:
3 Signs Your Fish Are in Good Eating Condition
Put on your fishing sunglasses, especially if they have magnifying lenses. While some of the cues that a fish is in good are bad shape are easy to spot, some require a closer look. If your fishing sunglasses double as readers like Costa’s C-Mates Readers, then you can get up to 250% magnification of the details in a single glance.
1. What do the eyes look like?
At the end of the trip, check your catch’s eyes. If they’re bright and clear, that usually means the fish died quickly and it’s not starting to decompose. But if the eyes are cloudy, it won’t make a high-quality meal. Cut it up for bait instead.
2. Is it a legal fish?
As soon as you pull a fish out of the water, check it against the area’s fishing restrictions. Nail a ruler to the side of the boat and immediately measure the length so you know you aren’t violating the size requirements. Also verify the species of fish. Most state and national parks put caps or outright ban the fishing of certain types. This is when the details really matter, so make sure you have your magnifiers on.
3. Was it quickly prepped?
The longer a fish sits whole in a boat, the more likely it is to start decomposing. Whenever there’s a slow moment, go ahead and remove the fish’s stomach. You can even fillet it if you have the time. But keep your glasses on so you can switch between watching the water and cutting the fish quickly.
Go to VS Eyewear before your next fishing trip and find the right sunglasses to keep your eyes protected.