How To Bleed Out a Fish

If you decide to harvest a freshly caught fish you landed then bleeding it out before it spoils is a very important part of the experience, otherwise, the meat starts to spoil and won’t be good for eating just allowing a few extra minutes and following this procedure will keep the fish from suffering and improve the taste greatly. How do you bleed out a fish? 

After killing fish by Humanely-clubbing the head or Spiking the brain
Sever main artery inside the gills
Make a cut at the fish’s tail
Let muscles & heart pump out the blood
Hang upside down in a bucket of water to drain blood
Use current from the stream to wash out blood
Massage fish to squeeze out blood


All freshwater and saltwater fish that are freshly caught within minutes will start to deteriorate. They will ruin rapidly especially if it is roughly handled at the Gill Plate and stressed from a fight reeling it in.

How to Bleed a Fish Humanely


Dispatching a fish as fast as possible is always a good thing to remember. The longer you fight the fish and are dragging it into your boat or shoreline the more stress the fish experiences. if you make the decision to harvest the fish or catch and release it you want to be as humane and ethical as possible.

This will improve the odds of the fish making it through the experience of being hooked and landed and if you are harvesting it will decrease the stress and suffering that the fish may have and improve the overall taste of the fish.

The way to bleed the fish humanely is to render it unconscious by quickly whacking it over the head or using the Japanese Ike Jeme method which both methods will keep the fish from suffering and prepare it properly. These ethical methods will bleed the fish out completely without any unnecessary trauma.



Methods to Bleeding a Fish

Method #1 Bonk & Bleed

  • Club the fish over the top of its head between its eyes and render it unconscious
  • Take a big enough bucket to hold a few fish and fill it halfway with water from wherever you are fishing from
  • Then using your filet knife run the blade inside the gill plate to cut the main artery that runs from the fish’s heart
  • Let the fish drain blood into the bucket
  • As it drains slowly turn the fish head first into the bucket or place it in the water if there is a current use the current to wash out the blood
  • Massage the fish from its tail up so you get as much blood out as possible
  • Make a cut on the fish’s tail if you need to drain blood in the current



Use the Ike Jeme method

  • Insert the spike in the Ike Jeme kit between the fish’s eyes directly into its brain
  • The fish is rendered brain-dead and will not suffer or experience stress
  • The fish will shake and quiver which is muscle memory and is not feeling anything
  • Run the wire that also comes with the kit through the spike handle and down the spine of the fish
  • Then just as in method #1 run a knife inside the gill plate and cut the main artery
  • Use a bucket or the stream and massage the body to remove the fish’s blood
  • Also, make a cut at the tail for another exit so that the blood can be removed if using the current


Can You Bleed a Fish After its Dead


It is better to use the fish’s muscles and heart to bleed out the fish as long as the fish is brain-dead or unconscious as we show in this article it won’t feel pain or stress which will not only cause unnecessary suffering the fish but will keep the meat that is harvested clean a better-tasting table fare.

If you bleed the fish before onsite where you catch them right away before you filet them, it will make cleaning up easier. When you bleed a fish, the more blood you remove the more it will help to remove some of the ‘fishy’ taste keeping it much fresher and better tasting.

Once a fish dies, the flesh will start to deteriorate very soon after, and fish flesh deteriorates quickly if the fish isn’t handled correctly. Once they die, Sour, bacteria will start to fill a fish’s stomach and intestinal juices touch the flesh. Digestive enzymes inside the gut start to travel through the rest of the fish. The result is a gamey foul tasting fish.



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