This has been an issue several times in the past month, so I want to address it.
Many of yall know that I am happy to clean fish for my clients – in fact I enjoy it. I’ll even toot my own horn and say that I am pretty darn good at it. It is very important for me, personally, to know that the fish you harvest are going to be taken care of properly and eaten. Many folks simply don’t know how, or have the equipment or facilities to clean a pile of fish – I know this and I am very sympathetic to this. I always do my best to make sure that I can help you – but remember that when I clean fish I do it as a courtesy and it is a not something that I consider part of the day you paid for. Many guides simply do not clean any fish – period. Many marinas have deals where any fish cleaned at the end of trips cannot be done by the captain and must be done by the fish cleaning station – where you pay by the pound. I do it for free – as a courtesy. After our long days of fishing (and yall know that I fish HARD), I still have to do maintenance and clean my rig – and when Im cleaning fish, that is time that I am taking from my wife and family. That’s how dedicated I am to my occupation and the belief that we need to take care of our resource by appreciating every ounce of fish we harvest.
However, it is simply not always possible for me to clean your fish immediately or in entirety. I often do multiple trips in a day, or when I’m fishing out of my flats boat out of a boat ramp – I simply don’t have the facilities. However, I have still gone out of my way to make it happen – even by cleaning fish later in the evening and leaving it in a cooler at my boat for my folks to pick up later that evening or the next day. If it’s important to you – I WILL TAKE CARE OF IT.
I have always, and will always, clean “reasonable catches” at the end of the day if you so desire. Therein lies the problem – what is a a reasonable catch? I like to think it’s 6-10 big fish or something that I can knock out in less than an hour. There is a big difference between spending an 30 mins to an hour filleting 30 spanish mackerel, loin-ing up 3 or 4 cobia or filleting a dozen dolphin….than spending 3hrs cleaning a massive pile of fish. I am always happy to knock out as much as I can, show you how to do it yourself and even point you in the direction of where you can accomplish this yourself.
So if you want to keep a massive catch – be prepared to to take care some of it yourself. That’s part of fishing – if you want to fill the freezer you need be prepared.
Please be courteous of our resource, of conservation and the extra time that I give you.
For all of you who have been so kind and appreciative over the years for me taking the time to process your catch – I am so thankful for your wonderful words.