Ike Jime Method

The Ikejime method has gotten more popular among sport fishing enthusiasts because the meat of trophy catches is so valuable. When you land one of these beasts of the ocean you want to make sure it is fully respected and appreciated. The Ikejime method can be used on any type of fish, fresh or saltwater but it’s especially useful when tackling large games like tuna or swordfish. What is the Ike Jime Method?

  1. Japanese Iki Jime Method is the fastest, most humane way of euthanizing fish, eliminating stress & lactic acid & maintaining quality by:
    inserting a spike into the brain
  2. Cutting gills to bleed out
  3. Inserting a thin piece of wire into the spike hole & down the spinal column
  4. Soaking fish in saltwater ice bath

The Ike Jime Method is a simple practice but can also be one that requires serious training and skill taught to chefs in order to meet the highest standards of seafood quality sought by the biggest and most popular restaurants in the world.


What is ike jime


Ikejime, which translates as “closing the fish”, was refined about 200 years ago during Japan’s Edo period. The development of innovative ways of killing and preparing fish had been encouraged by Japan’s 1,200-year-long ban on eating meat, which wasn’t lifted until 1872

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.

Ike-Jime & Shinkei-Jime: Delay Rigor Mortis and Dispatch Fish Humanely - Island Fisherman Magazine The Ike Jime method is a method for addressing these problems right in the field after catching them and also allowing the fish to suffer less. Ike Jime is a technique of killing and preparing fish by paralyzing them and then draining the fish of their blood. The fish should be gutted soon after or better yet immediately when possible, bled, and iced for total superb freshness.

The Japanese method for killing and preparing freshly caught fish is called  Ike Jime which is a technique that uses paralyzing them and then draining the fish of its blood, which first developed more than 350 years ago.  Japanese chefs continue to use this technique today. 

By suffering less there is less lactic acid and ammonia buildup along with less cortisol flooding in the meat of the fish upon death. Because of this, the fish’s meat is of higher quality and has a fresher improved taste with increased flavor. The texture is better preserved for better shelf life and when aged, an umami taste (a Japanese word that means a savory pleasant taste develops in food like meat or fish).

The Japanese technique called Ikejime involves severing the spinal cord and the two major dorsal blood vessels initiate the bleeding of smaller fish. You then sever those same vessels at the tail. Afterward, you put the fish in salted water to complete the bleeding.

This video is the very best explanation of what Ike Jime is and the reason it is used.



Is Ike Jime Humane


The Ike jime method is one of the humane methods for killing fish while preserving the freshness and taste of the fish. When the fish is spiked correctly, the fish fins flare and the fish will relax immediately ceasing all motion. Destroying the brain and the spinal cord function of the fish will prevent reflex action.

The Ikejime method has been used in saltwater tuna and yellowtail, sport, and game fishing, along with freshwater sport fishing as it provides a rapid slaughter technique. As an alternative to cutting their throats and leaving the fish to die by bleeding or suffocating on a deck or dock.

Killing your caught fish is fast and humane, especially when using Ikejime and spiking your fish. Once the spike enters the brain, the fish will die instantly. Other methods of killing a fish such as suffocation or using a knife to cut its throat, or hitting the fish on the head with a blunt object cause it much more trauma and pain.


Ike Jime Kit


 Ike jime Kits contain:

  • Fish Spike-the spike has a large handle that allows for a powerful thrust into the fish. They vary in length
  • Wire Stainless Steel Memory Magenta Iki Jime Handle Long -Wire diameters and lengths: Vary in length and are available in the short-medium and large sizes-1.2mm x 1000mm and 1.5mm x 1300mm

Ike Jime Brain Spike


An Ike Jime Spike is made to be the perfect tool to euthanize your catch before it experiences full suffocation. This prevents the brain from sending signals to the rest of the body, excreting cortisol and adrenaline. Both hormones have detrimental effects on the quality of the meat. The sooner your freshly caught fish can be spiked, the better its meat will be.

Before you insert the spike in a fish’s brain you need to make sure the fish is secure. You want to be able to spike the fish in the right location and get it done the first time spiking it through its brain and relieving any pain and stress the fish is experiencing from that point on.

  1. Secure fish
  2. Open a gill cover and sever the gill with scissors or a knife. At this time, the fish’s heart is still beating and it makes the bleeding smooth.
  3. The first step is to locate the brain. It’s usually located near the top of the head, in between two bones called parietals. People mistakenly think that the brain is located near the spinal cord at the base of the fish’s skull. In actuality, this area contains only nerves and blood vessels. Stick the spike into the brain between the eyes* and search for the nerve position.  You will know if the stick hit the nerve since the fish will respond to It. Once you spiked the brain properly you will see that the fish will lose color and their eyes go dull.  The fish will convulse for a very short period. At this point, the fish is completely brain-dead and can no longer feel a thing.




Ike Jime Wire


4. Insert the wire-Put the wire through the hole in the spike handle and penetrate the spinal cord straight on. During this process, the fish will convulse- insert the wire slowly so as not to miss the spinal cord.

5. Bleed the Fish-Now that your catch is completely dead you need to quickly bleed it. The Japanese call this step Chinuki, bleeding the fish is crucial in order to maximize the flavor and prevent tainting of the delicate flesh from blood. I hang my fish vertically in a bucket of water to drain the blood out for a short time.

6. Chill the Fish-The faster you can chill the fish, the colder you get it the better quality the meat will be,  this will give it a firmer texture, and better flavor and the fish will stay fresher for longer. The best way to quickly chill your fresh-caught catch is to get the fish into a salt slurry ice bath. The salt makes the ice colder which is why it is best to use a slurry rather than just ice, but if you don’t have salt, then plain ice will be fine too.

Ike Jime Federation


The Ikejime Federation is a commercial and recreational angler engaged in the practice of a considered kill.  They believe that they can improve the value proposition of an individual fish, which is guided by the principles of ike jime and disciplined by science.

Accordingly, we practice and promote the adoption of realistic, responsible, and measurable fish-harvesting methods in the service of protecting America’s grand seafood inheritance for the next generation and beyond.

According to Andrew Choi who is the CEO of  The Ike Jime Federation is the first organization dedicated to teaching and empowering the American fishing experience with the tools necessary to fish through the water column and eat through the water column in the most meaningful and new way possible.

The Federation offers training seminars and even certification to Any individual that is involved with seafood from charter boat captains to first mates to recreational anglers interested in taking their catch and cook fishing experiences to the next level.

Any individual trained, tested, and certified by the Federation standards is among the most knowledgeable and skilled seafood handlers in the world. All three professional training programs include mandatory and interactive classroom learning, live handling training, a written examination, and re-certification requirements every three years.


Minimum 8 hours of classroom instruction
6 hours of live fish

  • Minimum 16 hours of classroom instruction
  • 12 hours of live fish
  • 8 hours of comparative fish fabrication



The Federation uses & teaches the principals Ikejime:

  • Euthanizing a fresh caught fish before it suffocates
  • It does this by plunging a spike into the brain of the fish
  • This limits the accumalation of lactic acid and stress hormone
  • Limits the increase of core body tempreture
  • Defends against a host of natural consequences that are going to occur when a fish is stressed to death
  • Drain the blood from the fish as fast as possible-limiting the bacterial load to the fish
  • Dissconnecting any muscle tissue from the spinal chord
  • This is done by the use of a Shinke Jime wire that is inserted and run down the spinal canal
  • Tricking the fish’s mucsles into not knowing their dead
  • Delaying rigor mortis
  • Submerging the fish carcass in an ice slurry


The Ike Jime Federation believes using this formula and principles, fishermen can create the difference between freshness and a superior product that transcends any other biochemically product taking this type of food to another level.



How To Bleed Out a Fish

For the best informative articles on fresh or saltwater fishing stay here on MyWaterEarth&Sky-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……………. Continue reading



JimGalloway Author/Editor



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