So I ran across this article. Lots of this will sound similar: killing a fish quickly to put it out of its misery and preserve the meat, bleeding oilier fish, etc. I'll nail a bigger fish on the head to kill it quickly and then bleed it. But this technique seems to take the process to a whole new level, and after doing some searches there's significant evidence it improves the quality of the meat and how long it keeps. Has anyone else ever tried it and noticed a difference? The whole spinal cord thing looks kind of nasty...
I've heard of it while watching a cooking show talking about sushi and what the difference between sushi-grade and not-sushi fish is. Since then for fish I keep, I sever the spine just behind the gills but leave the head still attached. Haven't tried reaming out the spine though
It is pretty common in some tuna fishing circles, especially for bluefin and big yellowfin which are endothermic. Some swear by the spinal coring thing to reduce the temperature of the meat as quickly as possible.
Never tried it but will give it a go now. I'd never seen anything else done after the head spike and that video did a great job of showing the differences. The spinal cord step will be the hardest part, especially out on the beach.
The blue poultry scissors work nicely for dispatching and bleeding your fish. Use the skinny blade of the scissors to quickly poke then twist blade in the area where the lateral line and the gill plate would for an x if the gill plate opening went up that far. It's usually an inch or so behind the eye. Then use the scissors to cut the throat all the way up to the spine. Put the fish upside down in a bucket or something if possible... bleeding fish helps but u still have to cut out any red colored meat if you want it to taste the best
Just an update on my experience using this technique the last several months. I have been genuinely surprised at how it changes a fish. I don't mess with the wire down the spine or other stuff, but a quick pop in the brain followed by slitting the arteries under the throat has produced much, much better meat. The fish never go into rigor mortis and stay oddly limber. I did some with this technique and others without--the meat on the ones I spiked was snow white, while the ones that suffocated in the cooler or even buried in ice were flecked with dark red and tasted much stronger. The bloodline was less pronounced and the the meat lasted significantly longer in the fridge before going fishy. Like a week, which I've never seen before.
There are plenty of fancy tools out there to do this but I bought a cheap scratch awl from Harbor Freight and put some shrink wrap griptape on the handle. Learn where to hit them in the brain. They shudder, open their mouths, and they are gone. It makes a very real difference in how good the meat is.