I recently had a man bring me a Lg. pike wich he wrapped in damp towels, bagged and froze whole. I usually pattern and skin all my fish as they come in and the ones i can't get to are Sm. enough to soak in a wash basin with cold water to get them started. But i have never dealt with this, this fish is 49 in. and 30+ lbs. Is it safe to let it set overnight like you would a game head? I'm really worried about the fins starting to rot while the rest is still frozen. Any input would be great!
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I thaw my fish like that out in water. As the fish thaws, the water cools and keeps the fins moist at the same time.
I do numerous pike that size every year and I always fast thaw them in water.
for fish like that. So what I've done is I use a plastic snow sled. It's not deep enough to immerse the whole fish in water, nor do you have to. Put a couple of inches of water in the thawing "tub" and lay the bagged fish in it. After awhile you should be able to cut away the plastic bag. Then I make sure the towel is totally covering the fish and I simply flip it a few times to make sure the whole deal is good and wet. Then, if I'm leaving it overnight I'll cover the fish with a large enough garbage bag - tucking it under the fish so it's tight around the towel. (It probably would be fine w/o the bag, but I do that just in case the towel might dry out overnight.)
In the morning it should be thawed enough to get the towel, etc. off of it. You may need to flip it and cover it with the wet towel a few times until it is totally thawed. Just check it every hour or so and do what you need to to keep it moist.
(Actually, you don't even need to put it in water, but it'll thaw it quicker if you do. You can also just wrap it in wet towels and cover in plastic if you prefer NOT leaving it in standing water for extended periods of time. The key is to keep everything moist, particularly the tail and fins. I do this with smaller fish so that they take longer to thaw...)
if your single,or the wifes at work,,, you can thaw big fish out in your bathtub.....should only take 2-3 hours..the more water the faster they thaw,,have done it several times, just wash it out with some hilex after you are done...
or i have never really had problems just taking them out and leaving them baged and letting them thaw overnight..i do rotate them, just turn them over in about eight hours.. 30lbs fish you should be able to skin the next day. i like to skin them when they are still somewhat froze in the middle, makes it easy to draw a pattern.and handle..
seems as long as the fins are damp they seem to be ok