Carp Diem - Learning to Fish

I’ve recently taken up fishing, and inadvertently derailed the food thread with my new hobby. This thread is to stop doing that, but hopefully keep the conversation going - we can ask questions, get/give advice, and share experiences.


@DukeTrout and @FloridaManJefe - I started a new thread because I didn’t want to keep derailing Ken’s food thread, but hoped you might continue sharing your wisdom with me. And maybe others will chime in!

We’re going out again this weekend, and Mr. Linkey asked me to ask you about how/when you recommend killing the fish. (We split duties, at his suggestion! I catch, he kills, cleans and cooks. I’ve made correct life choices!)
Anyway - last weekend, we just had a bucket in the canoe, filled it with water from the stream, and put fish in there as I caught them. They were “bonked” and cleaned on shore.
But we’ve been overwhelmed with all the advice online - some say to kill them immediately in the boat, some say to leave on a stringer in the water, others say that stresses them out more :woman_shrugging:t2:
What do you do?


For best flavor and firm texture, bonk immediately, bleed, and put on ice. The quicker the fish is on ice, the better.

To bleed, for smaller fish you can usually just put a finger through the gills and pull away from the head. That separates the primary artery quite close to the heart. For larger fish, cut the isthmus of tissue between the lower jaw and the belly to accomplish the same thing.

Oh, and good call to separate this topic. I wouldn’t want to expose vegetarians or some of our more squeamish Mutants to the details involuntarily.

Two last things: never let dogs get exposed to trout or salmon blood. They can die from even tiny exposure. Two: your ice will get bloody and also your cooler. It can help to line the cooler with a plastic bag to reduce cleanup and avoid dripping blood all over the place when you get home.



What kind of fishing are you doing? What kind of fish are you targeting? I can’t really add anything that DukeTrout didn’t already add, I just like talking about fishing.

One question for @DukeTrout do you find killing immediately preferable over something like a live well (or bucket)? I almost never use them (live wells aren’t legal here), but I’ve never noticed much of a different over using one versus not.


Then the fishing workshops move on to teaching the answers to awkward questions, like “why do we need the shareholders?” and “why don’t we just get rid of the fishing bosses?”, and the government bans the workshops for being terrorist organisations (after a large campaign donation).

Maybe we should move this to the Commie Library of Memes (I don’t know why it wasn’t called the Memes of Production)


We go out paddling the canoe on lakes, reservoirs and sometimes rivers around here (Maine) all season, so I just started fishing as a fun add-on to our existing habits. So freshwater fishing, mainly lakes. I’m so new to this, not targeting anything in particular yet, just trying to learn the ins and outs. Though we do supposedly have a lot of perch around here, and I do like perch, so I might try to target them.
And we have salmon in our closest lake here in town, so might have a go at that. And trout are pretty common. So far I’ve been looking at what fish are in the body of water and just going for that. Last weekend, my first time out, I went for the large mouthed bass and caught them both times we went out, so now I’m hooked.


@ClutchLinkey not sure how much of my advice is relevant to your fishing, I am exclusively a salt water fisherman. some basics apply, like bleeding and icing your catch right away, cleaning, fileting and preparing. tackle and technique are very different of course. my days of trout and/ or bass fishing are long behind me and I had a fair share of success in freshwater. nowadays, it’s all about tuna, mahi-mahi, snapper and grouper for me (with occasional spiny lobster or lionfish caught on scuba or snorkeling - lionfish don’t take angled baits, they have to be speared).
thank you for starting this thread. I just bought another boat and will have some stuff to share here very soon! we love to fish - my near 80yo mum is my fishing mate and she is always up for a trip out to the patch reefs for some snapper!
good fishing to you and Mr.Linkey! be sure to share some “trophy” catches, I love 'em all!


Great question! Scientifically, fish produce chemicals in response to stress that make the meat taste bad. But is it enough to notice the difference?

I recently went on a trip where we unintentionally did a randomized experiment on this topic. We caught eight fish (Kokanee salmon) over the course of ten hours. The first seven were kept in a basket over the side of the boat and were able to swim around in their little prison in their natural lake water. We were averaging about one fish an hour, with no fish coming within 30 minutes of each other. The last one was thrown straight onto ice when we caught it and never went into the basket.

At the end of the day, two fish from the basket were dead, three more were close to it, and the last two were swimming strongly. There was enough variation in size to tell which fish were which.

The last fish was the one with the firmest meat, had the best color, and was the least fishy. The first fish caught was like filleting a tube of toothpaste and the meat was grayish. The fish in between were in between in quality. My friend and I immediately saw the implications: get rid of the basket and put the fish straight on ice.




a couple of useful apps for fishing that I like to use are fish angler , fishbrain and Fish Rules .
these can help you locate hot-spots, see forecasts for wind and weather, check the fish and game regs to be certain that your catch is in season, of proper size, etc and then there is the instagram of fish to share your prizes with others in your area. I find these to be fun and informative. see what you discover when you input you location, bodies of water to watch and types of fish you want to target.


Cool! My wife grew up very close to Maine. Every time I get fishing out around there I have a blast, especially when bass are present. I do most of my fishing out of a canoe. They’re perfect for sneaking up on fish :slight_smile:

That’s really interesting.

Could water temps have anything to do with that? I know here (which can’t be far from where you are if there’s kokanee) the fish are deep because of the heat and aren’t do well on the surface (not that kokanee thrive in C&R setting as it is).


Definitely! Surface temps were 71 deg F vs temps at 30 to 60 feet down. But a live well pulls surface water, so that should be similar.

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Yeah. That’s what I wondered.

Interesting to hear the difference between the meat like that. I’ve only tried live wells for fish like bass and walleye, things that are much hardier than trout/salmon.

There’s always a huge debate around the best way to deal with fish after you catch them in the various fishing groups I hang out in. Most folks are bleed them out immediately, but I seem to recall them also not recommending ice (which is odd since they all basically freeze the fish in the winter time on the ice).


Fishing forums can also be great for that kind of information, although there can be a lot of gate-keeping when it comes to new anglers.

This is a great point. Searching the various hashtags like lake name, state, type of fish, etc., can be a really productive way to learn a lot about what’s happening locally.

The Instagram of Fish is basically my happy place when I’m not able to get out on the water.


Fishing can be a wonderful way to relax. It’s important, though, to remember something my father told me many years ago:
“It’s called fishing, not catching.”

My wife reminds me of this anytime I come home complaining of a poor trip (probably never should have told her that :grin:)


We can, surely? What TL does someone need to amend a title? I mean, it’d be polite to ask the instigator of the thread to change it, but apposite to all band together and demand it.
(Sorry, no more derail fisherfolks! Promise!)


No apologies necessary - you traded one new vocabulary word (apposite, TIL) for the tiny derail. A very fair trade, I’d say :wink:


I agree. Done.



Here’s a question for the more experienced fisher folks: as a beginner, I don’t want to go overboard (see what I did there :face_with_monocle:), but what would you recommend as a basic starter kind of toolkit for this stuff?
Right now I’m happy with my cheapo rod and reel, and my tackle box has a Swiss Army knife (needs to be sharpened), a sharpened screwdriver for poking, a fish ID chart and knot tying guide, and some hooks and bait.
Is there anything else that I should be looking for?
And for the prepping to eat - Should we get a special scaler, or does that back of the knife trick really work?