How to Store Fish on a Boat

How to Store Fish on a Boat
Catching fish as food can be cost-effective over time, as well as recreational. But if you plan to bring home fish worth eating, you've got to make sure it's stored properly. Once a fish dies, its body starts to decay, and by the time you make it to shore your meat can spoil if left out in the heat. Most anglers use a cooler or fish box loaded with ice to store their fish. The low temperatures slows down decay and preserves your fish so it's safe to eat.


Difficulty: Moderate

Things You’ll Need:
  • Cooler/Fish box
  • Ice
  • Plastic bags (optional)
Step 1
Pack a large cooler with ice and load it onto your boat. Fill the cooler to maximum capacity--it will help refrigerate the cooler, and you can dump the excess ice as you start replacing it with fish.
Step 2
Place a caught fish in a plastic bag, if desired. This will keep the ice clean and reduce the cooler's smell over time, provided you pack it properly so that blood and other fluids don't ooze out of the bag. This isn't a required step, but it's some anglers' preference.
Step 3
Lay the fish on top of the ice or set it deep into the ice so that it's covered all around. Toss any leftover ice into the water.
Step 4
Keep the cooler closed at all times and preferably in a shaded area, to keep its internal temperature low.

Tips & Warnings

Avoid opening the cooler to admire your fish. This lets the cold air out and warm air in.
Packing a fish in ice can keep the fish properly chilled for several days, if necessary.

Article Written By Jonathan Croswell

Jonathan Croswell has spent more than five years writing and editing for a number of newspapers and online publications, including the "Omaha World-Herald" and "New York Newsday." Croswell received a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of Nebraska and is currently pursuing a Master's of Health and Exercise Science at Portland State University.

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