How to Store Your Fish After Catching It 

Fishing can be an exciting sport or hobby. Many people worldwide catch various types of fish for food, especially larger or more exotic species. However, whether you ever caught a large saltwater fish or a few small fish, you may have wondered how to store them for later usage properly.

There are various ways you can preserve fish fresh longer, so your caught fish remain safe for consumption and tasty when cooking. 

This fishing blog post will review the most reliable ways to store your fish and improve your fishing experience.

Why Is It Essential to Properly Store Fish after Catching them?

best way to store fish

There are several tips and methods to store fish after catching them. Depending on the size of the species and on the number of fish caught, these storage techniques may vary.

Certain bacteria or other microorganisms may breed if you keep your fish for an extended period without providing adequate care and treatment. Your fresh-catch could end up spoiled or not edible if you store it incorrectly.

Fish spoilage occurs when bacteria, yeast, or fungus grow because fish's cells are rich in nutrients. The bacteria convert these nutrients into various harmful compounds that make up slime or slime-like substances. Fish spoilage also occurs when enzymes inside the fish cells activate, which turns them into mushy food for microorganisms. When this happens, your caught fish will first turn mushy and start to smell bad.

Learning more about the proper storage of fish is essential to avoid food poisoning and maintain fresh tasting.

Be Prepared

Preparation is vital when you go fishing. Here are some items that will help keep your catch fresh longer:

  • An insulated cooler with cold packs for storing fresh-caught fish.
  • Ice cubes or crushed ice.
  • Large plastic bags and zip lock bags.
best way to keep fish fresh after catching

.Option 1: Keep Them Alive

Keeping your fish alive is perhaps the most natural way to store fish, as you catch them and keep them alive until you're ready to cook.

If you decide to keep your catch alive until you're ready to cook them into a tasty meal, here are some precautions that should be taken:

  • Ensure there are not too many fish in a small volume of water – overcrowding will promote contagious diseases.
  • Limit activity by removing any cover or shelter from your tank to avoid jumping out and having only one exit point.
  • Keep an eye on your fish – they should always be kept in sight, and you should check to see if they're lying at the bottom of the tank (a sign of dead fish).

If your fish is lying on the bottom or not swimming around, as usual, consider putting them into a cooler with ice for transport.

Option 2: Put The Freshly Caught Fish Directly On Ice

Quickly put your fish on ice with iced water to keep them fresh. Keeping a fish in a ice slushy will chill and also firm up the meat, which will make it easier to filet. 

how to store fish

Transporting Fish From the Fishing Charter to Your Home

When your fishing trip is over, and you've caught your fish, and your fish has been filleted,  it's time to get them home.

Use Plastic Bags 

Sealed plastic zip-lock bags are great to transport fish filets. Ensure the bag is secure and that no water can enter and leak 

Invest in a Good Cooler Box

Consider investing in an ice chest with plenty of ice inside. Check out some cooler boxes.

Kitchen Processing and Frozen Fish Tips

How should you store your catch home, and how long will it stay fresh?

Fish in the refrigerator

You can keep your fresh fish in the fridge for up to five days.

We highly recommend wrapping the fish in foil, waxed paper, or plastic wrap when refrigerating fresh fish. For best results, wrap fillets with the skin down and ensure no air pockets inside the wrapping material. If you separate each fillet with a piece of waxed paper, they'll be easier to thaw.

Make sure you place all your fish bags on the same shelf; make sure each bag is tightly closed and won't leak.

Fish in the freezer

If you want to freeze gutted fish, place them on a tray or plate and cover them with plastic wrap before putting them into the freezer. Make sure there are no air pockets inside your wrapping material – this can lead to ice crystals forming inside the fish.

Another option is freezing individual portions of your catch. To do this, wrap each portion in plastic, foil, or waxed paper and place them on a tray before putting them into the freezer. When you're ready to eat one of these portions, leave it out on the counter so that it can thaw.

If you want to store your catch for several weeks, make sure the freezer has a -20 °C setting. Fish that's kept at this temperature will last up to four weeks without any major changes occurring (it will stay fresh, with no loss of texture or taste).


After reading this article about how to store fish after catching them, you should be able to go fishing without worrying about your catch spoiling on the way home! Eating the catch of the day is one of many benefits of fishing!

Remember that every type of fish will require specific storing methods, so take a few minutes to research online!

Fish with the best! Join us on your next St. Pete fishing charter!