Take Time Cleaning Fish
While backpacking in the Sierras this last summer, one of my group members was attempting to cut off the head of a decently sized brown trout with his knife. Sadly he had yet to actually kill it, and so when he hit the spine it jerked and caused his blade to slip into his finger. This member by the way is thirty years older than me, and has been doing this sort of trip for decades--it seemed weird that he would accidentally do something so careless.
So it came to my attention that it may not be very obvious on how to quickly kill a fish with any sort of knife. Also, when fishing with youngsters, or weak stomached group members, a fast kill is a mentally safe kill. Thus, this is my tip:
When cleaning a freshly caught fish, first take the time to actually kill it (and not just half way, for any life left can mean a slipping knife and subsequent dangers from there). This can easily and fluidly be done, however, with any clip point knife (though I prefer a fixed 6-inch bowie knife above any other styles) by placing the tip directly against the fishes eye, with the edge pointing to the fishes nose, and the blades spine parallel to the spine of the fish. Now simply press the blade down, and hold it through the fishes head (to avoid dulling the blade, press into something soft laid underneath the fish, like layered cloth) for about two to three full seconds, with your free hand holding the tail flat if possible. Once you finish counting, the fish will have lost all but a small fraction of its ability to fight back, and can easily be cleaned and flayed without worry or delay.
NOTE: Bigger fish do take longer to kill, but in my experience, even a nicely sized sea bass takes less than a 10 second count providing the knife had been positioned through its eye correctly.
Submitted by Gary Baker
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