In the course of a typical year, Capt. Mike Gallo with Angling Adventures of Louisiana in Slidell estimates he cleans upwards of 3- to 4,000 speckled trout.
With that kind of practice, he’s definitely a whiz with a fillet knife, but a big key to his impeccable cutting skills doesn’t even happen on the cleaning table.
Gallo creates a slurry of ice and saltwater in the ice chest aboard his 24-foot Blue Wave, and finds the icy mix keeps the fish colder, straighter and much easier to clean.
“When you have that slurry and you put a redfish in there, what does he do?” Gallo said. “He swims to the bottom, and he’s got ice on all sides of him. He’s cold all the way around.”
Gallo typically fill his ice chest with about three-quarters ice, then pumps in brackish bayou water from right behind his lodge in Pirate’s Harbor.
In the middle of the summer, he says it’s important to add the water early in the morning before temps rise.
“The other thing I notice when I’m redfishing, when you put that redfish in the box and he goes down in the water, he’s quieter than sitting on the top kicking his tail making a bunch of racket,” he said.
In addition to staying straighter, the fish are cold throughout, Gallo said.
“I do think it makes them easier to clean because they’re very firm,” he said. “You try to clean a fish that’s limber, and he’s squeezing out of your hand and you can’t get a grip on him. I’d much rather clean a colder fish.”