Coping with Abundance: 3 Ways to Preserve Your Fishing Catch

Jul 3, 2015

Fishing is a seasonal pursuit. And as any vegetable gardener can tell you, it's important to have a strategy for how to preserve each season's abundance, to enjoy it in later times when the season is past.

So you hooked into plenty of bluefish? You brought home a small haul of sea bass? What are your options when you've caught enough fish that you want to save some for another day?

I put the question to a man who knows fishing and good eating, Andy Nebreski of On The Water magazine. He outlined three strategies.

Freezing. This depends a lot on the type of fish you've got. Oilier fish, like bluefish, and even striped bass, don't freeze particularly well. But flounder, sea bass, and many types of tuna do well in the freezer. Nebreski recommends buying a vacuum-sealing machine as a way to keep your fish fresh longer in the freezer.

Smoking. This is the classic way to preserve oily fish like bluefish. You'll want to brine the fish overnight in some variety of salt-and-sugar solution, then smoke it for anywhere from 2 - 6 hours at something less that 200 degrees. Smoking is not a science, but more of learn-by-trying affair. Here's an earlier post we did on smoking bluefish.

Confit. I didn't know about this until Nebreski showed me an article he's preparing about this method. It's an old French method, more popularly used with meats and poultry - but it can be done with fish, too. It involves cooking the fish slowly in fat or oil at a low temperature (less than 200 degrees). The fish can than be jarred and sealed beneath a layer of oil or fat and kept on a shelf. Here's an explanation of confit. And here is a recipe for tuna confit

So where should you go to catch your fish to try these preserving methods? Listen to the The Fishing News audio above. Nebreski runs down the local fishing action for the week, including the hot spot for big stripers.