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Florida East Coast Spearfishing Let's talk here about spearing on Florida's Atlantic coast. Reports and other issues about this region belong here.

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Old 08-03-2017, 09:17 AM   #1
321_Spearing
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Question How to handle your fish during a shore dive

To all the Florida East Coast shore divers,

How long can we keep our fish in the water or on a board before the Florida heat starts to spoil the meat?

When I first started doing shore dives, I built a DIY board which was a bucket sunk into a boogie board. The idea was that I could keep a frozen gallon of water in the bucket thus keeping the fish cold. The method only works for smaller fish like mangos and some muttons due to the size of the bucket and it becoming too top heavy.

I see most guys don't even bother trying to put the fish on ice. They will just throw the fish into a mesh pocket on the board or leave the fish hanging in the water. Which is convenient but how well does that really work?

Also, I would rather have my fish on the board so it doesn't bring in sharks. What do you guys do? I don't necessarily mind sharks but it is nice to not see any, lol.

Can a dead fish laying on top of a board last an hour? 2 hours? 3 hours!? in the summer heat of Florida?

Can a dead fish hanging in 84 degree water last an hour? 2 hours? 3 hours!?

Whats your shore dive set up? How do you handle your fish?

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Old 08-03-2017, 10:43 AM   #2
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

I would say there is no set time. The processes that make a fish "spoil" start the second The fish dies and blood stops pumping. Most of the breakdown is temperature dependent and speeds up with increased temperature. This is why you try to cool your kill be it a fish, deer, etc. How "fresh" do you like your fish? That's how much you need to ice it down.
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Old 08-03-2017, 11:08 AM   #3
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

When I go from "shore", it is usually several miles out via SUP or kayak, but either way the process is the same. I always have a cooler or fish bag to keep ice and fish. The advantage of a good fish bag is that it's relatively light. I usually fold a large bag in half and fill one side with ice... this way I can throw the usual fish in and keep it compact, but unfold it to have a very large bag when I run into Cobia, etc...
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Old 08-03-2017, 12:56 PM   #4
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

Yeah, good advice Dr.P.

It doesn't sounds like you should expose a dead fish to the heat for any amount of time. I guess a fish bag would be the only way to do it

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Horde-...lated+fish+bag
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Old 08-03-2017, 01:43 PM   #5
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

Gut and rinse those fish as soon as they are in the boat or on the beach. Then keep as cold as possible. Ice is best sun is worst. It is legal and recommended to gut fish anytime.
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Old 08-03-2017, 03:39 PM   #6
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

Insulated cooler bag that is yhe way to do it. I use frozen water bottles to keep it cool and also give me a water source once they thaw out a bit. Invest in a good cooler bag and fresh water rinse it after each use, will last you a long time. I have one built for kayaks so it has a slight taper and is 3-4ft long. Strap it down and your good to go, also can store small knick knacks as well. Bleed and gut fish immediatly, then breath up and drop to the bottom and look down current.

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Old 08-03-2017, 07:08 PM   #7
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

for dives of an hour or two, we leave the fish hanging off the kayak in the water on a stringer. We have not yet had shark problems, but I'm sure we will someday. We always carry a cooler of ice in the car so the fish is iced very well ASAP.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:15 PM   #8
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

Dr.p You really go out several miles out on a SUP? Wow. Hope you have a PLB. A change in wind direction could ruin your day. I use a small insulated fish bag with the frozen bottles also. It's the best solution I have found outside of some bad shots so they are still alive on the stringer.
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Old 08-03-2017, 09:44 PM   #9
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

Quote:
Originally Posted by 321_Spearing View Post
Yeah, good advice Dr.P.

It doesn't sounds like you should expose a dead fish to the heat for any amount of time. I guess a fish bag would be the only way to do it

https://www.amazon.com/Silver-Horde-...lated+fish+bag
Is this bag comparable to the other fish bags out there? Anyone have one?

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Old 08-04-2017, 05:54 AM   #10
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reef Hunter View Post
Dr.p You really go out several miles out on a SUP? Wow. Hope you have a PLB. A change in wind direction could ruin your day. I use a small insulated fish bag with the frozen bottles also. It's the best solution I have found outside of some bad shots so they are still alive on the stringer.
Yes. I take VHS with DSC, EPIRB, GPS, and basically everything I need to keep myself alive until help arrives, if needed. ...a change in the wind has ruined my day more than once, but I've always made it back thus far. ...paddle sports are a hobby of mine. I have a few buddies down here who make the Molokai to Oahu crossing regularly that paddle out with me. ...the gulf is really nothing compared to that.

Not sure about the bag linked above, I use the Canyon Wahoo bag.
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Old 08-04-2017, 11:36 AM   #11
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

You can use a cooler as a float. Sounds awkward/strange but it works. I shore dive a lot in Broward and have lost hanging fish to turtles and sharks. If I'm going light and leave the cooler in the truck, I just wait for a nice fish then call it a day. If you're staying out for hours shooting multiple fish you need a cooler or bag.
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Old 08-04-2017, 12:24 PM   #12
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

I've always heard to gut them as soon as possible and keep them cool on ice but try not to clean them with fresh water until right before you cook them as the chemicals in our fresh water start to spoil the meat as soon as it touches it. We leave our ice in the bags and set the fish on top of them.
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Old 08-07-2017, 03:59 PM   #13
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Re: How to handle your fish during a shore dive

Cheap solution would be a fabric (old jeans) bag over a bodyboard. If you keep it wet (and it will), fish will stay fresh for 2-3 hours as water evaporation cools it down.
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