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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hi,
I'm looking to set sail next year and I'm calculating, calculating, calculating all my resources.

One of my main costs is food (as expected), but I'm having a hard time finding input on how often a sailer will catch and eat fish on a time basis. I'm wondering how often most people do it. Whether it's about legalities, fishing licenses, fishing zones, or just straight up getting sick of eating fish. What does it take to fish?

I'm starting my sailing in Central America and spending an unknown amount of time there, then South America. Any input is greatly appreciated!

Thanks for your time.
 

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X,

Can't help you with experience but there was a story in Sail Mag a couple of years ago, about a couple that did just that. The fish that they ate they thought was a certain species but it was actually another. Long story short, the wife will have neurological damage for the rest of her life, and nightmares of the hellish week on the water racing to the nearest port for help and the month or so that she spent in a foreign hospital. Many people do catch and eat, but KNOW YOUR FISH.

Bon Apetit!

Don
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Don,

Thanks for the input! I'm not sure if this is the post you're talking about: [nevermind I can't post links yet. The title is: Voice of Experience: When Ciguatera Strikes - SailerMagazine]
It's an interesting read and good information. I'll certainly be studying my fish before getting myself into a situation like that.

I would really like to be eating as much fish as possible to save on $$ but try not to get sick of it to a point.

Thanks again for the info.
 

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Barquito
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I don't have specific information about fishing either. However, maybe as an experiment, you can try getting all of your protein from fish while at home. I think the usual advice is, eat what the locals are eating (probably some version of beans and rice in most of the world).
 

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How much of your time will be coastal, how much blue water? Be aware of possible pollution and contamination situations.

If you're in a clean spot, don't forget the invertebrates! Crab, lobster, octopus, squid, shelled molluscs. Do you know the edible seaweeds?

Have fun.
 

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I don't live of the the sea but I do live near by. So far this year while under sail in the bay I have caught 3 rock fish out of four times out. That was the trophy spring season. Now that it is summer crabs are pretty much free, of course i think you could starve to death while eating them but they do go good with beer. There are also plenty of perch in the summer (again not much meat). Then when fall hits the rocks are back! There are many tricks to fishing same as sailing.
 

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Bristol 45.5 - AiniA
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We only fish offshore and certainly not all the time. Fishing success comes and goes. We had a crew in the Indian Ocean who was very keen and we had fish, mahi-mahi, every two to three days. Since the fish were quite large we had fish each day. When we were doing the fishing, our success rate was much lower. One problem was that we would lose our baits quite often and these were not cheap - our best success was with squid lures. Best if you can make these up yourself.

This book is quite useful.

The Cruiser's Handbook of Fishing: Amazon.ca: Scott Bannerot, Wendy Bannerot: [email protected]@[email protected]@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51EW%[email protected]@[email protected]@51EW%2BlzI2GL
 

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While most species of fish are edible, there are some that just shouldn't be consumed. Most reef species can cause ciguatera, which comes from a neurotoxic, dynoflagellate algae often found on dead and dying coral. Some species of fish, parrot-fish in particular, feed upon the algae, which does not pose a threat to them. Barracuda often predate upon the slow-moving parrot-fish, thus the toxin is passed on to the predator. For some strange reason, though, the barracuda are not effected by the toxin, but if you were to consume either the barracuda or the parrot-fish you would have a good chance of contracting the disease, which can be fatal. Most of the time, those that have contracted the disease experience some nasty stinging sensations, severe gastrointestinal pain, horrendous bouts of diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and in more severe cases, CNS paralysis that could lead to death if untreated.

In Chesapeake Bay, the waters are so polluted the state has published consumption advisories which can be found at http://www.mde.state.md.us/programs/Marylander/CitizensInfoCenterHome/Documents/www.mde.state.md.us/assets/document/Maryland%20Fish%20Advisories%202011.pdf

Most tunas are relatively safe to consume, but again, because of the high levels of mercury found in the fatty tissue of the fish, the portion size should be limited to about 8 ounces a week at most. Same holds true with king mackerel (also known as kingfish in tropical waters), bluefish, Atlantic croaker, Spanish mackerel, cero mackerel, and any other oily species of fish.

Tautog, often referred to as poor man's lobster, can be found from Virginia north to Maine, and once you learn how to catch them, you could just about live on them without any fear of contaminants. The taste is absolutely fantastic, and they're available year round at the inshore and offshore wrecks.

In tropical waters, French and Flannel Mouth grunts, some measuring to 15 inches, are a real treat. Again, pretty safe to eat, very tasty when dipped in beer batter and pan fried to a golden brown and served with tartar sauce.

Somewhere in my stacks of books I have a book called Dangerous Marine Animals, and it lists those species that are highly toxic and provides lots of photos. I'll try to dig up a link on the Internet for the book.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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I don't live of the the sea but I do live near by. So far this year while under sail in the bay I have caught 3 rock fish out of four times out. That was the trophy spring season. Now that it is summer crabs are pretty much free, of course i think you could starve to death while eating them but they do go good with beer. There are also plenty of perch in the summer (again not much meat). Then when fall hits the rocks are back! There are many tricks to fishing same as sailing.
I agree with the crab comment. Be careful about the Rockfish though.

I had a friend catch a Rockfish in Dunn Cove San Domingo Creek behind St Michaels. He filleted it on the boat and grilled it. 1/2 hour later the DNR pulled along side and fined him because he couldn't prove it was legal size. $250 fine. They have to be brought ashore whole.

The main factors you mudt watch in fresh fish are stromboid poisoning snd cigueterra.

Stromboid
Scombroid Fish Poisoning - Minnesota Department of Health
How do people get scombroid fish poisoning?

Fish in the Scombridae family (tuna, mackerel, skipjack, and bonito) are the most common sources of illness. Other fish, such as mahi mahi, bluefish, marlin, and escolar can also cause scombroid fish poisoning.

When these types of fish are not properly refrigerated, bacteria begin to break down the flesh of the fish and histamines are formed. Histamines are heat-resistant; therefore, illness can occur even with fish that is properly canned or cooked. While some contaminated fish will not show any outward signs of spoilage, others will have a bad odor or a "honey-combed" appearance when cooked. Fish that looks spoiled should not be consumed. Histamine levels may be unevenly distributed throughout the fish, and the amount of histamine needed to cause symptoms may vary from person to person. Therefore, people who share a single contaminated portion of fish may show a wide range of symptoms.
Cigueterra is mainly from predatory fin fish around reefs with eat algae infected with parasites.

BBB - Ciguatera

Two things to note about fresh fish. Ice as soon as possible. Look for worms in the fish flesh. If present throw away. Secondly neither Stromboid or Cigueterra can be killed by cooking.

You have a better chance of getting neither if you re he ource of the fresh fish. I would also say vary your det of the.

Dave
 

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Adding to what Dave said, if a fish smells fishy - it' usually not fit to eat and in the process of decomposing. This is true with ALL species of fish. Fresh caught, properly stored and filleted will not have any fishy odor at all. Often, commercially caught fish, those caught in gill nets that have been in the water for a day or two before the fish are removed, have already began to decompose. A gill net slices through the gill, thus the fish quickly bleeds to death. If removed from the net immediately after catching, these fish are quite fresh, but that's rarely the case. Same holds true with shrimp, which I've personally seen harvested in NC and FL on dozens of occasions. The nets are dragged through the water for hours on end, and when the net gets heavy, it's hauled in, the purse string at the bottom of the net is opened and the contents falls on the boat's deck. While most everything is still alive at that point, this is prior to the sorting process, which often takes several hours. By-kill fish are sorted out of the shrimp catch with a short-handled hoe, the fish are tossed overboard, and the shrimp are bagged, then placed in a brine solution that is well below freezing. After a short time in the brine, the shrimp are then flash-frozen and stored in a large reefer. Believe me, those shrimp were dead for a long time prior to entering the brine solution, and just about every fish tossed over the side either sunk to the bottom, or floated away on the surface - dead! There's a reason that the fishing is great when you're downtide of a shrimp boat. There's a lot of food there for the jacks, sharks, cuda, blackfin tuna and other species to consume. It's a smorgasbord drifting with the tide.

Good Luck,

Gary :cool:
 

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Ciguatera !!!!! .... especially for reef fish. Potentially fatal malady.

"dipsticks" are becoming available, but not 100% effective for assaying if the reef fish you are eating are free of ciguatera. When traveling in such areas its usually best to BUY your fish from the local population who know which fish and when these fish are free from ciguatera
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ciguatera‎
 

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I am in my 11th year as a full time liveaboard cruiser and would have died of starvation had I been relying on the fish I caught while trolling on passage. Sure we catch some but not enough.

However in the 90s when I was on a tight budget and underwater hunting with a spear gun was less regulated, myself and the cats ate pretty well. I would have been able to eat fish every day.

Nowadays spear fishing is much more regulated, i.e. basically banned for cruisers in the Eastern Caribbean except for the French islands so you might have to go with line fishing.

This will still be pretty successful but it will take longer, a lot longer! Best bait will be small live fish which you catch with a trap or cast net.

The local fisherman are your best guide as to which areas and fish are safe. Cultivate them.

There is an exception to the ban on spearfishing in the Eastern Caribbean, lionfish are not native to this area but have spread throughout the area. Most islands seem to be in the process of getting more aware of the problem and relaxing the rules to allow lionfish to be taken by any means including spearfishing.

They are supposed to be good eating!
 

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Lionfish are excellent table fare, however, handling them can be extremely dangerous. The tip of each spine is a small hypodermic needle filled with toxin. While an adult is unlikely to die from an inflicted wound, the pain can be absolutely excruciating.

Hook and line fishing is the best advice I have. Use strips of cleaned, washed squid, whole shrimp, live or dead, chunks of cut fish, etc..., rigged on a 1/0 wide-gap hook and a top & bottom rig. Fish the open patches of sand between the reefs and you'll find lots of fish.

Outside tropical areas, fish the shallow drop-offs, depths ranging 12 to 10 feet are usually the most productive, locations where baitfish and shrimp are prevalent and dissolved oxygen levels are highest. Schooling species, striped bass, bluefish, croaker, spot, etc..., tend to migrate through these areas during tidal changes. Shallow water areas tend to be best during incoming tide, while the outer edges of shallow drop-offs are often highly productive during the ebb.

Trolling with artificial lures from a moving sailboat is rarely productive for a variety of reasons. More often than not, the boat is traveling much too fast unless you're trying to catch pelagic species, tunas, billfish, some species of sharks. And, anything over 6 knots is often too fast for them as well. Additionally, those species tend to roam the canyon edges and offshore lumps, locations where most boaters do not frequent. Sure, you can luck across a mahi or tuna once in a while, but the odds are not favorable.
Good Luck,

Gary :cool:
 
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