How to Keep Fish Fresh While Fishing

Catching fresh fish to eat is one of the greatest enjoyments of fishing. If you want to ensure that your fish is safe to eat and has an optimum taste, it is crucial to handle it properly once you have caught it. There are steps you should follow on how to keep fish fresh while fishing. You should know how to keep the fish fresh as you fish so you can enjoy your meal with lots of flavor and health benefits. You have the option of keeping the fish fresh by keeping it alive or gut them at once when they die. It should be noted that you do not want to deteriorate their flesh and make it a breeding ground for bacteria. Otherwise, no one will want it. Thus, your main goal should be to keep your catch as fresh as possible.

Some options when you’ve caught a fish– how to keep fish fresh while fishing

How to Keep Fish Fresh While Fishing

Return your catch

A conservation technique often used by anglers is the catch and release. They may catch the fish, but they don’t want to eat it. This is often a policy in many private fishing areas to balance their stocks. Practicing catch and release is simple. First, reel the fish in, unhook it, and take a picture. Afterward, return the fish to the water but resuscitate it first and then release it. The following are tips to maximize the chances of survival of your catch after release:

  • Use hooks that are fish friendly such as circle self-release and barbless J hooks
  • Immediately land fish to avoid its exhaustion and keep your catch in a water bucket
  • If you need to remove the fish from the water, make sure that your hands are wet or utilize fish gloves when handling.
  • Keep the fish alive

How to keep fish fresh while fishing? If you intend to eat your fish, you have the option to kill and dress your catch at once. However, this process can interrupt your fishing activity, so you may want to try several methods of how to keep fish fresh while fishing:

  • Put the fish on the stringer and lower it in the water
  • Place your fish within a wire mesh basket and place it in the water 
  • Utilize a well that is large enough to accommodate all your fish
  • Put the fish in a cooler that has shaved ice to keep them cool. 

Keeping it COOL

How to Keep Fish Fresh While Fishing

How to keep fish fresh while fishing? Once you know how to keep fish fresh while fishing, you may have plans to bring home your fish to eat. You will also want to make sure you know how to correctly keep the fish fresh during your journey because fish can quickly decompose once they die. Whether you have to travel a short boat ride or a long walk from the pier, temperature control is crucial. The only way to keep fresh fish chilled is to put in ice. Once you are home, put the fish immediately in the fridge or freezer.

Accessories Needed to Keep the Fish Fresh While Fishing– how to keep fish fresh while fishing

You will want to know what you would need while you are going fishing. Professional anglers need a lot of specific tools, and below are just some of the essentials that are as basics for fishing. These basic tools can be easily purchased online and in retail tackle shops. Go for something with excellent quality.

Tackle Box

Tacklebox serves as a toolbox. It is the storage compartment for all the essentials that you will need to do your fishing. It is the space for all your essentials, such as hooks, bobbers sinkers, and lures.

Storage for live baits

The next thing you will need is something that will lure the fishes. Fishes cannot be attracted to simple plastic worms or traps. You will have more success when the bait used is live. The odor of raw and live worms serves as the optimum bait. 

Icebox or Bags

How to keep fish fresh while fishing? The essential accessories are ice back or bags. You cannot simply catch a fish and not store it well. You need to preserve it until the time you get back home. You need to utilize zip locks and iceboxes for preserving your catch.

Landing Net

Landing nets are crucial accessories and come very handy. Landing nets are utilized by anglers to help them get the fish hauled inside the boat speedily.

First Aid Kit

Safety is important, and in every fishing expedition. Although fishing seems like an innocent and safe sport, accidents happen and cause injuries if you get too carried away. Remember to carry a basic first-aid kit when you go on a fishing adventure. 

Safety comes first. While fishing is usually a harmless sport, it can cause you injuries if you get too reckless. Always bring an essential first aid kit with you when you go fishing.

Keeping fish alive- how to keep fish fresh while fishing

As mentioned earlier, it is a bit complex to keep fish alive, but you can keep them alive with the following methods below:

Make Them Dormant

How to keep fish fresh while fishing? Making fish dormant may not apply to larger species of fish. But for smaller fishes up to the medium size, you can immediately make them dormant by putting them in flaked ice in the cooler or bucket. It is crucial to give them plenty of space and position them in an upright manner to stay alive longer. 

Retain Them in the Basket

Baskets can be used similarly to stringers except for the invasiveness of the loop parts. You have the option of keeping them in a suitable size basket and lower it in the water. This will prevent them from getting free since the basket has closed latches. The drawback to this method is that the basket’s inner wire may cause bruises if the animal is resisting and moving about. 

Put Them In A Stringer

How to keep fish fresh while fishing? The goal here is to keep a stringer lowered to keep your catch submerged in the water. Once again, this method is ideal only if the water temperature is cold since warm water can cause your fish to expire immediately.

Preserve the fish in live well

Live wells are containers that you can easily lower in the waters and can hold your catch effortlessly. This method is most efficient above all others. Choose live wells according to their size, although they may tend to get expensive.

Top methods to keep your fish fresh — how to keep fish fresh while fishing

How to Keep Fish Fresh While Fishing

Keeping the Fish Fresh

Fishing requires time and patience. But once you’ve caught a fish, waiting for another catch may take a long time. Even if you plan to go home right after the first catch, the fish can rot by the time you reach home. Because of this,s you need to have proper equipment that can keep the fish fresh. Some are essential tips and methods on how to keep fish fresh while fishing. 

Kill the fish at once

How to keep fish fresh while fishing? A majority of people put the fish in a cooler and allow it to die slowly. You have other options. Keeping a cooler may just ruin the quality of the fish. Once you caught a fish, kill it at once. It is more favorable to kill the fish with force to the head using a pointed tool. If you allow the fish to die slowly, it will undergo so much stress and affect the fish’s quality, and it is something you do not want to happen.

Wash It Thoroughly

After you have killed the fish, you need to wash it thoroughly. Clean it under running water. Make sure that all the blood has been drained before storing it. Storing the fish without washing it or cleaning it will impact the quality of the fish. If you want to keep your fish fresh for the long-term, you must wash it thoroughly until it is completely clean. 

Keep the fish Cool

This is a crucial step. The only way to keep your fish fresh is to keep it under cold conditions. There are several ways to achieve this end, and there are several steps you can follow. Once the fish is cold and stored in a freezing environment, it can be used up to five days, depending on whether any factors have deteriorated the fish’s quality. The following are just some of the methods that can keep your fish cool. 


Putting ice is the optimum way to keep it fresh. It can keep your fish fresh for the long term depending on the arrangements. The typical way to ice your fish is to use a cooler. The cooler should have insulation. Fill the cooler with tons of ice. It is a fact that crushed ice works a lot better compared to cubed ice. Make sure that the fish is covered with loads of ice. It is recommended to open the cooler’s drain plug, so that melting ice water is drained out. Water is a substance that destroys the taste of the fish.


You may opt to refrigerate the fish instead of freezing it. Refrigeration also keeps the fish fresh for the long-term. To refrigerate the fish, you must first clean it thoroughly. The next step would be to dry the fish using a paper towel. Finally, wrap the fish in paper with wax and place it on ice. It will keep the fish fresh for a couple of days. Refrigeration is the best option for larger fishes. You may also utilize aluminum foil or plastic wrap instead of wax paper.


Freezing fish is a popular method. It is also the best way to keep the fish fresh for the long term. The fish can last up to 12 months, which is one whole year. The first step to freezing the fish is to clean it thoroughly. Next, you must put the fish in a Ziploc. You must make sure that as you place the fish in the bag, all the air is removed from the bag. A good option would be to wrap the fish in aluminum wrap prior to freezing.

You may want to utilize the following methods on how to keep fish fresh while fishing:

Keeping Up with The Bin

Assuming you have chosen the option of keeping the fish cool in an insulated cooler, you will need to maintain the cooler bin. If the ice melts, you should add more. When water accumulates, you should drain it. Caring and maintaining the cooler ensures that nothing important is missed. Keep track of any changes in the cooler.

Do Not Overstay

Although you can store the fish for as long as you like in a cooler or freeze it inside a Ziploc, it is recommended that you do not overstay the fish for long periods. You don’t want to have the risk of your fish deteriorating. After arriving home, there may be indications that the quality has been compromised. If this happens, throw it away. Avoid consuming fish that might have gone bad since it can lead to serious illnesses and health issues.

Final thoughts

Fishing is an exciting activity that bonds people with mother nature. The fun and enjoyment of fishing increases when you bring family and friends. Fishing is a rewarding activity because you will have plenty of catch that you can serve and enjoy by the end of the day. But you must know how to keep fish fresh while fishing. Freshly caught fish has a supreme taste than fish bought in the grocery or market. You must preserve the flavors and quality of freshly caught fish; otherwise, you will not get full gastronomic enjoyment. Keeping fish fresh is super easy, so make sure you follow the steps.