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Old 02-10-2007, 11:11 AM   #1
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Default food at sea

Here at home (on the mainland) I'm a pretty frugal guy. I buy staples (rice, beans, lentils, corn meal, oats) in bulk and keep them in five gallon food grade buckets with screw down airtight lids. I usually keep two buckets of each. Eat out of one with the other as a stockpile. I figure if I keep up this routine when I get my boat, add to that what I can catch/harvest and I can eat for pretty cheap.

So what I was wondering is what have you all found to be the best fishing method? Nets? Rod and reel? What about harvesting seaweed? Any other subsistence food procurement methods I'm not thinking of?
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:52 PM   #2
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Jay,

We always drag one lure from a rod & reel and catch (mostly) tuna & mahi whenever we seem to start craving fresh fish.

Many people use a hand line with bungee cord... but I simply enjoy the thrill of having to stand up and fight a fish once in a while.

I used to have a nice, golden Penn International reel but have traded for a big ol' Penn 12, simply because I can hear it better.

The reel is loaded with 400 lb mono and we position a squid lure w/ double hook about two boat lengths behind us.

When we get a fish I'll reel it up to the transom, lift it to the rail with a gaff, cut it's throat (between the gills) and lower the prize back into the water to bleed it. This greatly improves the quality of the meat and reduces the blood & gore in the cockpit.

Next, I fillet the loins to sashimi grade and cut into portions for three meals. The remainder gets cut into thin strips which I marinate overnight and sun-dry on deck (laid flat on newspapers) the following day. Flip 'em at noon and they're ready by sunset. This preserves the remainder of the fish into a delicious, protein rich snack which doesn't require refrigeration. Kinda like fish jerkey.

Yum.

Enjoy,

Kirk
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Old 02-10-2007, 08:59 PM   #3
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We have another friend who sun dried his fish. What are you marinading them in, Kirk? Just a strong brine solution?

Fresh fish, yum! The hardest part of going into a restaurant stateside is finding that none of the fish is really fresh.
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Old 02-11-2007, 11:09 AM   #4
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Hi Jeanne,

Some friends from Tonga taught me the trick...

Filet the four loins and cut into thin strips, like beef jerkey.

Put strips into large zip lock bag (or sealable plactic container).

Add enough soy sauce, or seawater, or combination of both to completely saturate fish strips.

Add whatever spices you may have on board. Experiment. My favorites are wasabi, liquid smoke, cajun, pizza spices... heck, I've even used ramen noodle spice packets. It doesn't really take much... if any.

Zip the bag shut and store overnight in galley sink (in case the bag leaks) and massage fish periodically to distribute seasonings. The motion of the boat will do it, too.

In the morning - carefully lay each strip flat on newspaper, on deck in a sunny, dry place. Grind black pepper (if desired) onto moist fish strips.

Flip 'em at noon. They're finished by dusk.

Store in paper bag or UNSEALED zip lock bag as it takes a few more days to complete drying but there's no need to put back out in sun.

Simple as that!

I munched on a big yellow fin tuna for three weeks during a Pacific voyage. It requires no refrigeration, none of the fish goes to waste and helps make life easy for the cook!

Enjoy!

Kirk

PS - Don't forget to bleed the fish (as mentioned above) as it makes a HUGE difference in the quality of the meat.
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Old 02-11-2007, 12:37 PM   #5
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Hi,

Two small but imho important points:

Firstly, don't try fishing with nets. This can get you into a lot of trouble in many places as it is regarded as the prerogative of commercial fishermen and you can find yourself being charged with illegal fishing; the result of which could lead to the confiscation of your boat and a substantial fine.

Secondly, don't try bringing a big fish aboard until it is dead. It can seriusly mess up your boat. The quickest way to knock a fish out is to pour spirit over the gills. Don't use your best malt though - just the cheapest spirit you have.

Good fishing!

Stephen

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Old 02-11-2007, 02:42 PM   #6
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I vote for the hand line and a bungee cord method. Seems to work as well as anything - and I don't like to play with my food. (squid lure works for me, but have seen feathers and spoons work too...) Then leave the fish dragging until drowned ( as Nausikaa suggests.) I have tried the spirit in the gills trick - but that only ever seemed to make the fish angry (perhaps the fish wanted the better spirits, and not the cheap stuff?) Do watch for sharks and other big fish - I have been left with only the fish head on more than one occasion...
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Old 02-13-2007, 04:01 PM   #7
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Jeanne,

I agree with Kirk on the variety of things that can be in a brine; although I have never tried sea water. I guess I can't knock it until I tried it, but I question wanting to soak my food in it, considering what is and could be in it, and the fact that I swallowed enough to know it tastes heavingly repulsive.

A basic brine is:

1 Gal Water

1 Cups Kosher Salt

1 Cup Sugar (Brown sugar seems to work best)

To this you can add combinations of:

Molasses - Honey (reduce the sugar)

Fruit Juices

Cola - Ginger Ale

Wine - Beer - Bourbon - Whiskey etc.

Zattarains Crab Boil

Tabasco

Worcestershire

Soy Sauce (unsalted or decrease your salt a little if you use very much)

Teriyaki Sauce (also has a salt content)

Chicken or Beef Broth or Base (Salty)

Liquid Smoke (I smoke most of mine instead)

Onion or powder

Garlic or powder

Herbs/Spices (rosemary, cloves, cinnamon, mustard, mustard seed, corriander, chili powder, cayenne pepper, etc.)

Note: Tabasco, Chili and Cayenne - a little goes a long way, ease into your taste tolerence or hot zone, or risk making the whole batch to hot to enjoy.

I like to simmer my brine to extract the full effect of the spices or herbs and blend the flavors. If you do simmer it, cool it before adding fish so you do not cook the fish. I put the spices in a tea ball. If you don't have one you could tie them in a sasschete of cloth, or stain it with a coffee filter or fine sieve to remove the spices, or deal with them when you eat the fish.

The brine must be kept below 40 F degrees during the entire time the meat is in the brine to keep it free of bacteria. But Kirk keeps his in the sink overnight and is still kicking. People have been drying and smoking food for enons. Refridgeration is a modern invention. US Dept of Agriculture says between 32 and 40 F. Do what you want with the advice. Freezing during the brining time slows down the process and is not recommended.

Using Ziploc bags helps reduce the amount of brine you need. You may want to double bag it, or place the bag in a tray, tub or bowl in case a fish bone pokes a hole, or it leaks other wise. It could make a terrible mess in your fridge or cooler.

A bit more advanced brine (than the basic one above), that I like:

Recipe Size - Ingredient

1 Quart - 1 Gallon - Potable Water - Non Chlorinated (*)

1/4 Cup - 1 Cup - Salt Non-Iodized (**), or Kosher or Sea Salt

1/8 Cup - 1/2 Cup - Brown Sugar (best)

1/2 tbsp - 2 TBSP - Pickling Spice (***)

1 each - 4 each - Small Bay Leaf

2 each - 8 Each - Whole Cloves

1/4 tsp - 1 tsp - Lemon Juice

1/4 tsp - 1 tsp - Minced Garlic

1/8 tsp - 1/2 tsp - White Ground Pepper (Black works to)

* Should you have chlorinated water, let it set uncovered for 24 hours and it will disapate. It won't wreck you brine but could alter the taste. Likely not a problem at sea, unless you loaded up at the dock.

** I am not certain of the reason or the science why brine recipes seem to always state Non-Iodized Salt.

*** Pickling Spice - The ingredients in the store blend I have are:

Coriander (which are the seeds of the cilantro plant), mustard seed, dill seed, Allspice, Red Chiles, Bay Leaves and Cinnamon.

~ ~ ~

This past weekend I smoked two 2 lb catfish split along side the backbone, using a modified version of the above recipe. I only made a quart.

I:

Reduced the kosher salt to 3 tablespoons because of

Adding a 1/4 cup of Teriyaki Sauce (Salt Content)

Doubled the Lemon juice, minced garlic, and white pepper.

I happened to have a fresh peeled orange peeling handy, and wondered "What if?", so I cut the peel in thin slices and boiled it too.

I was in a bit of a hurry to cool it down, so I added two cups of ice cubes, which diluted my one quart brine mix.

The jury is still out, I haven't tasted them yet. My haste was because I wanted to get done smoking before dark and certainly before bedtime. I didn't taste the fish yet because I made prime rib for Sunday Evening. I love to cook, and like doing it outdoors. I tend to cook a lot on the weekends, especially the time intensive entrees'. During the week dinners are much easier and faster, using the prepared food.
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Old 02-19-2007, 09:27 PM   #8
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I am lucky where I currently live and sail that fish and shellfish are still relatively plentiful. It is reasonably easy to catch a decent feed of fish with a cheap rod & reel... at the moment squid are plentiful, but various fish such as flathead, barracouta, australian salmon etc are also fairly common (not to mention atlantic salmon escaped from the numerous fish farms). There are also plenty of places to get a god feed of shellfish... mussels or oysters (although it pays to only take these from the bays where the water is cleanest, just to be on the safe side). I also often put on the mask & snorkel to jump in and get a feed of abalone. This year I got a license for a lobster pot, so, hopefully, crayfish will be on the menu occasionally too!
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Old 02-20-2007, 08:57 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Weyalan View Post
I am lucky where I currently live and sail that fish and shellfish are still relatively plentiful. It is reasonably easy to catch a decent feed of fish with a cheap rod & reel... at the moment squid are plentiful, but various fish such as flathead, barracouta, australian salmon etc are also fairly common (not to mention atlantic salmon escaped from the numerous fish farms). There are also plenty of places to get a god feed of shellfish... mussels or oysters (although it pays to only take these from the bays where the water is cleanest, just to be on the safe side). I also often put on the mask & snorkel to jump in and get a feed of abalone. This year I got a license for a lobster pot, so, hopefully, crayfish will be on the menu occasionally too!
Mussels are pretty good at cleaning themselves almost irrigardless of the source if you can keep them in fresh seawater for 72 hours. A wire bucket hung over the side will do the trick - although it will attract the interest of the local fish!!

Cheers

JOHN
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