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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm just curious, and yes, this is a serious inquiry. I was wondering how all you fisherman who do not have live wells let the fish you keep (perch/walleye's, etc.) die? Even those who do have live wells, how do you actually let them die/kill them?

The reason I ask is this: I do most, if not all of my fishing from shore, and I don't always have a stringer with me. When I catch something worth keeping (only to eat, which = perch or walleye for me), I either string it up (if I'm staying in one spot), or put it in a garbage bag, basically letting them suffocate to death (out of water). In honestly, though, I feel REALLY bad letting the fish suffer that way, when I know he's ultimately gonna die and end up in my belly anyway. I've heard of breaking a fish's neck immediately, does anyone do this? Again, I'm looking for the most HUMANE way to kill the fish quick, so it doesn't have to suffer anything unnecessary. On my scale, suffocation would rank up there with the worst ways to go, so... I'm not a tree hugger or anything, I just appreciate all wildlife and it seems useless in my opinion to see them endure any undue suffering.

Thanks for your input.
 

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i have livewells. I keep em alive until I am ready to clean them and one quick blow to the head with the back of the fillet knife will usually kill or stun them long enough to clean. OR if I wont clean them immediately when I get home I put them on ice. Then clean them frozen or semi frozen, this method is actuall less messy.

Please do not equate human feelings to that of fish. They are not human and do not have the same senses as us (nor do we have the same as them). There have been plenty of studies about fish feeling pain done and most if not all point to the lack of fish feeling pain due to lack of brain power to process it.

I know there have been studies funded by animal rights organizations that will try to prove opposite to what I have said, but all of those studies were debunked by un-biased science.
 

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if I were you, like Laura says, bring a cooler. If you don't want to take her advice, at least fill it with ice. The fish will stay fresher on ice. The thing I would be grossed out by the garbage bag thing is not the death of the fish, but the heat in the bag. Fish go bad fast.

If you want to kill it, bleed the fish by cutting the gills. Then put the fish on ice in the cooler.
 

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I have livewells on my boat and when I`m keeping walleyes to eat, on my way back to the launch I`ll bleed them by slitting their gills with a sharp knife, putting them back in the livewell and running fresh water thru with the drain valve being open. I`ll usually dump the remaining ice from my cooler over them on the drive back home and clean them at home. This make for less mess when filleting fish. The fillets come out nice and white. As far as being on shore fishing, bleed them and keep them on ice in a cooler.
 

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First of all it is my belief that being an animal not nearly as complex as a human being, a fish has "feelings" that are far less complex than those of a human being. It is my belief that a fish does not feel "pain" nearly to the level as we as human can describe it.

If I were a shore fisherman, I would do one of 3 things to preserve my catch.

1. Take a basket.
2. Take a stringer
3. Take a cooler with ice. You can take an empty 1/2 or 1 gallon milk jug and fill it 2/3 with water and freeze overnight. A block of ice will last much longer than cubed ice or crushed ice.

Don't worry about the fish's "feelings". The best thing you can do for that animal is make the best use of it's flesh and that entails trying to keep the fish as fresh as possible - thus either keep it alive until ready to fillet, or put it on ice.
 

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If you use a cooler and use I cubes add just enough water to cover the ice and add about a half cup of salt. The salt/water will keep the ice from melting as fast as it would without the salt/water mixture.
Keeping the fish alive or as cold as possible before you clean them with improve the flavor, and reduce any "fishy" taste. I have a live well in my boat and use it to keep the fish alive until I'm ready to clean them. A good whack to the head usually stuns them enough to keep them fairly still while cleaning.
 

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K Ryan...when I go in the Spring and Fall, I toss them on shore and let them flop. Especially in the Fall, I find they will stay alive in the cold air much longer, sometimes still kicking after 2 hours. I like the cold because it keeps the meat cold and slows down the movement of any other fluids circulating the body. When I go for Walleye and I know I'm going to be eating the fish, I could care less about it's fate or suffering-->but that's me. C&R is another story and especially when culling.

During the Summer time, I MAKE sure I always have some rope in my fishing bag. I never use a stringer. Find yourself a good quantity of rope, cut off a 8-10' piece and tie a strong loop on one end, maybe with a 3in diameter. When I get a fish, I 'gently' place the looped end up the gill plate and out the mouth, then insert the other end of the rope into the loop and pull it through. Tie off the end on something and throw the fish out (gently place lol) until you get another fish, then just re-pull the line out of the loop, insert new fish, and yada yada.....it will obviously wear down the gill area of the fish, but it's better then keeping it out of water--giving the fish the maximum amount of time breathing, before it actually dies.

So, I just say, TRY to remember your stringer every single time, but ALWAYS have back up rope in the tackle box for a man-made stringer. Rope is more versatile in being able to tie it off anywhere, and from longer streches to the waters edge.
 

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I would say cooler with water/ice & salt. On top of cutting the gills. Done. nice & quick and the fish will taste better on the table.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Thanks for the tips, guys. Obviously, I knew to use ice/cooler/some sort of stringer, etc., it was just mainly letting the fish basically suffocate itself to death afterwards (even when brought home) in a slow fashion or doing something more...civil, for lack of better word. I'll take the common word for it that suffering to a fish isn't similar to what I would realize suffering. Clearly, I want the fish to be as fresh as possible, it was just more less an issue of not putting the fish through more suffering than necessary. Again, I'm an avid fisherman/outdoorsman, and I love all of nature, I just didn't really know if killing it instantly would be more, well, humane. I guess in the end it's really not that big a deal. Appreciate all the feedback nonetheless.

Good fishin'!
 

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I just slice the gills themselves from both sides. The head remains attached.
 
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