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On Cleaning, Freezing and Vacuum Sealing Fish

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When we talk about our all-inclusive Alaskan fishing and lodging services at Pybus Point Lodge, we really mean all-inclusive. We provide our clients with absolutely everything they could need for their trip, from beautiful lodging and transportation through all the equipment, gear and other services you'll require for fishing or any of our wildlife adventures.

In fact, we even provide a major service for one important group: Those who want to take some or all of the fish they catch home with them! We provide professional-quality fish cleaning, packing and vacuum sealing for any fish you catch, plus free transportation of your fish to Juneau by float plane. If you're considering this service from us, or even thinking about similar processes for your other fishing trips, here are some basics on why cleaning and vacuum sealing are important, plus some simple tips on how to ensure your fish get home with you in perfect condition.

Importance of Cleaning Fish

In many ways, the importance of cleaning fish after catching them is self-apparent. Obviously, you want your fish to be as fresh and clean as possible for eating, cooking or freezing. But there's more to it than that. After being caught, fish begin to decompose quickly, especially in warm weather.

This process not only causes the fish meat to deteriorate in quality, but also produces bacteria that can make people sick if ingested. That's why it's so important to clean fish as soon after being caught as possible, ideally within a few hours.

Cleaning also helps preserve the quality of the fish meat. When done properly, it removes the blood and other organs that can cause the fish to spoil quickly. This makes vacuum sealing an even more effective way of preserving fish for longer periods of time.

Finally, cleaning fish helps remove any excess scales, slime or other debris that can clog vacuum sealer bags and cause them to break during the sealing process.

Importance of Freezing the Fish

Another vital part of this process, one often carried out even before vacuum sealing has taken place, is freezing the fish. This is important for two reasons.

First, when fish are fresh, their cell walls are strong and intact. However, as fish begin to decompose, these cell walls break down and release water. This not only causes the fish meat to deteriorate in quality, but also makes it more difficult to vacuum seal properly. Freezing the fish before vacuum sealing prevents this from happening and helps keep your fish meat fresh for much longer.

Second, if you plan on eating the fish immediately after arriving home, freezing them gives you time to do so without having to rush through a complex process of thawing and cooking. This can help ensure that your catch is as fresh and tasty as possible.

Importance of Vacuum Sealing the Fish

If the fish will not be eaten in the hours after being caught, then vacuum sealing is vital. This is because vacuum sealing not only helps prevent bacteria from growing and spoiling the fish meat, but also helps preserve its quality by replacing the oxygen inside the bag with nitrogen and carbon dioxide. The latter two gases do not cause fish to spoil as quickly as oxygen does.

Beyond this, vacuum sealing helps keep fish firm, thus preventing them from becoming too mushy or falling apart when cooked. This can help ensure that your catches retain the same quality and texture as they did before being vacuum sealed.

Finally, vacuum sealing is a big part of what allows you to transport your fish via plane without issues. Fish have a significant odor, but this is eliminated by the seal and does not become an issue before or after flying.

Other Tips and Considerations

Now that you have a basic grasp of how and why fish are cleaned, frozen and vacuum sealed for transportation and similar needs, here are some general tips and themes to consider if you're going down this path:

  • Know how long it's good for: When frozen and vacuum sealed properly, most fish can last in excess of three months, or even six months or more. This is a good thing to keep in mind when planning your trip and selecting the species you want to try fishing for.
  • Keep the bag dry: Both before and after the actual sealing process, it's important to ensure that the bag remains free of moisture, as this can clog and cause the vacuum sealer to break.
  • Avoid overfilling bags: One theme our professionals adhere closely to, and which you should consider if you're ever vacuum-sealing your own fish, is that you should not try to overfill the bag. This can not only cause it to break during the sealing process but also make it difficult for air to be fully removed from inside the bag.
  • Thawing and defrosting: When the time comes to defrost your fish, it's important to take a careful approach here. We recommend putting the fish in the fridge for a full day to begin the thawing process. After this, you can place it into a bowl or on a plate, cover it with cold water and let it sit for no more than 30 minutes. After this, cook the fish immediately.

Now that you know all the basics of cleaning, packing and even unpacking any fish you catch, you're ready to go! For more on this, or to learn about any of our Alaskan fishing trips and the numerous quality services we provide to clients during them, speak to the team at Pybus Point Lodge today.

Alaska Packing List PDF


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Chartered Floatplane Service

Pybus Point Lodge is located on an extremely remote island far away from the distractions of the city. This makes for incredible sightseeing, fishing, and an all around great opportunity to connect with friends, family, and m

Wide Selection of Fish Species

Alaska is one of the top dream destinations for anglers around the world, and it’s no surprise why! Our waters are home to a wide variety of fish species that are good to eat and a blast to catch.




Discover why people like you can’t stop talking about Pybus Point Lodge. More than 30 years ago, the lodge opened as a simple fishing camp, drawing a devoted following in spite of basic accommodations. With new owners and experienced captains and crew, our corner of Alaska has become an unbeatable fishing and eco-tourism resort.

Andrea Tate

Incredible Experience!

Pybus Point Lodge has some of the most stunning scenery I’ve ever seen. I mean absolutely breathtaking! In addition to the amazing fishing, I hiked to a beautiful secluded lake, soaked in some hot pots, saw several waterfalls, went whale watching, saw bears and all kinds of wildlife and marine life. As a photographer, photographing a wedding under a waterfall will remain a highlight of my life.

Shirley Johnson

Pybus Point Lodge - WOW!

We had the best time! This was our first visit to Pybus, but it definitely will not be our last. The stunning scenery, amazing fishing experience, and the joy of meeting new friends – all outstanding! We did not want to leave!!! If you are thinking about this trip – don’t think any more, just book it. You will not regret it!!!

Sharon Hedding

Trip of a Lifetime!

We had such an amazing time the staff was so wonderful and the lodge was fantastic! capt Joe was so helpful and always doing what ever he could do to make each day special. a special thank you to both Scott and Jody for taking the time to make us feel like family. can't wait to go back next year

Jason Nielsen

Wonderful and Magical Place

We had an amazing business retreat to Pybus Point Lodge.  Everything was top notch... the fishing, the staff, the boat captains, the food, the accommodations, and especially the scenery. I really liked that Pybus took care of everything from start to finish. Chef John is an amazing cook. We had delicious hot meals the entire trip.  The cabins were amazing and very comfortable.  The fishing was awesome and that’s coming from a guy that doesn’t fish that much.

Brandon Foote

We brought home 100lbs of fish!

My wife and I spent a week at Pybus Point this Summer. We had a beautiful, private room overlooking the bay and our own new, ensuite, private bathroom. What an amazing place for couples to get away together. We set our own breakfast time, met our boat captain after, fished the day along, and returned to clean up and enjoy a nice dinner at the restaurant. Next time Alaska is on the trip list, Sherrie and I will go together, and it will be to Pybus Point!

Kent Danjanovich

Fun in Alaska

This was my first trip to Pybus Point. I stayed in one of their new cabins. The accommodations were incredible, the view onto the bay in the mornings was stunning. I loved the staff and the food was really very good. All of this and they have new boats to take you out onto fairly calm waters to fish. The fishing guides were great. Overall a great experience. Definitely going back.


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