Keeping Fish frozen during transport

Discussion in 'Saltwater Fishing Forum' started by BDog Fisher, May 13, 2019.

  1. BDog Fisher

    BDog Fisher Member

    Staying at a BYOB lodge on VI that has certified DFO processing.

    What is the best method of transporting frozen fillets? How long will they potentially stay frozen in a cooler? What type of ice do you use?

    I hope to get the fillets back to Fraser Valley in 1 day. Flying is not a option.

    Thanks in advance,

  2. Rockfish

    Rockfish Well-Known Member

    Dry Ice if available or regular ice arranged so as not to melt water into the meat (cooler packs) and lots of insulation. I have transported full cardboard boxes of wild game that has been processed, cut, wrapped and flash frozen down to VI from northern BC by keeping them in the back of an air conditioned vehicle and the boxes wrapped in everyone's sleeping bags. That was in the fall in cooler weather. We dressed warm and kept the vehicle cold with the climate control and the frozen meat well insulated and it stayed frozen. Put some extra foam insulation in the cooler and wrap the cooler in sleeping bags.
    There are also frozen food insulated transport bags for transporting frozen food from the grocery store, I have some from Costco that you could put the fillets inside before placing in the cooler. The more layers of insulation the better. Plan to make the trip all in one day and make sure you have arranged assured loading on the ferrie.
    Last edited: May 13, 2019
  3. Aces

    Aces Well-Known Member

    If you're using a decent quality cooler, just put towels or jackets, etc on top of the fish to fill any void. Will stay frozen for 3 days. I have regular clients that drive back to California and it's still frozen when they get home. DO NOT PUT ICE IN THERE!
    scar tissue likes this.
  4. Dogbreath

    Dogbreath Well-Known Member

  5. Jeteye

    Jeteye Member

    Totally agree with Fishtofino.
    I personally use a small Danby deep-freeze 3.5 cubic foot plugged into my truck inverter. fits in the back seat of my truck or in the box with an extension cord run through the back window. If i have to stay in a hotel i just park close to a plug-in. I also keep it packed with blankets to take up unused space. It was 33 deg C in Kamloops last summer when I stopped for the night and i had no place to plug in. It was all still frozen in the morning.
  6. Capt_Ed

    Capt_Ed Crew Member

    Just fill the cooler with what ever to fill any void and duct tape the gap.they will be frozen solid when you get home
  7. BDog Fisher

    BDog Fisher Member

    Thanks for the info. I normally run 2 freezers but my truck inverter died and costs around $500 to replace. Freezers are a pain to move around too.

    I think I am going to get a nice big Yeti cooler. Around the same price as inverter and will last years.
    ILHG likes this.

    CIVANO Well-Known Member

    I will probably be trashed but I prefer Coleman Extreme over the Yeti. The inside area of the Yeti is significantly reduced by the wall thickness. I have both coolers and the Yeti sits in the garage. I see how much space I will have above the vacuum packed or bagged frozen fish and get some towels to fill the void. I put the needed towels in the freezer with the fish the night before I leave. I put some ice in the cooler and close the lid. Before leaving, I dump the ice and dry the inside of the cooler. I put the fish in cover them with the cold towels, close the lid and duct tape around the lid edge. Never had a problem and saved a lot of money. Spend it now on fuel. Per above I will add the space blanket.
  9. Aces

    Aces Well-Known Member

    Yes the Coleman Extreme won in a comparison test i read somewhere
  10. walleyes

    walleyes Crew Member

    I’ve been brining my own 3.5 cubic freezer for years now and regularly take two solid days to get home. I never have mine plugged in during travel. I close it up and lock it when we leave and don’t open it until I get home. A couple times we’ve stayed over night and I’ll plug it in at the hotel we stay in a few times I’ve just booted it home 22 hr straight run and when I get home opened it and it’s still frozen solid inside. Not an issue just don’t open it. Same goes for decent coolers, like others have said wrap the fish good and the secret is don’t open up the cooler. Old newspaper is great isolation as well and easy to get.
  11. Old Blue

    Old Blue Active Member

    I picked up a couple AO soft cooler bags last october while tuna fishing in San Diego....really awesome and great for travelling
  12. greenhornet

    greenhornet Active Member

    Bdog Fisher

    Fishing Tofino is 100 % right it will be frozen solid to your home and the biggest thing to remember DO NOT PUT ICE ON YOUR FISH IN THE COOLER !!!! It will melt twice as fast because believe it or not the ice is warmer then the flash frozen fish producing it to melt....

    Tight lines
  13. triplenickel

    triplenickel Well-Known Member

    That's correct, there's a bunch of them on YouTube.
  14. fishbadger

    fishbadger Active Member

    +1 on all counts.

  15. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    It's how you keep your Mountain Dew cold. EXTREME!!
  16. Years ago I took my boat from Anacortes to Rivers Inlet and was asked to bring a supply of large herring with me. I wrapped each frozen package in newspaper, and then packed as many as would fit in a Styrofoam cooler, leaving just enough room on top for some dry ice. I then taped all the seams with masking tape and made the one week trip north. Worked perfectly, frozen solid when I got there.
    Dogbreath and Rain City like this.
  17. Rain City

    Rain City Crew Member

    If you put the dry ice on top it will continue to freeze the fish to -30 or whatever. You even risk freezer burn at that point unless your fish is well protected with towels or newspaper. If you put the dry ice on the bottom, then towels and then the fish it will just maintain the temp inside the cooler. It's science! :eek:
  18. Twinstrike

    Twinstrike Member

    I operate a licensed processing operation at a floating lodge and you should never use ice to pack your flash frozen fish. Your fish will be frozen betweeen -20 and -30 degrees and the ice is warmer than the fish.
    barkerfam likes this.
  19. LuckyIfYouCatchOne

    LuckyIfYouCatchOne New Member

    Aqua pak styrofoam fish box works great...use to fish in Alaska years ago and had to transport fish back to the east coast of United States...a couple of times luggage was lost in transit for two days. Fish was still frozen when I received

    When I moved to BC my grandfather started visiting from the east coast of the United States to salmon fish instead of going to Alaska and we used the original aqua pak boxes we used in Alaska. Over the years the boxes broke down and I decided to buy him another box...when I looked at the box to try and see the name of the box I was in total disbelief where the boxes are made (Surrey, BC). Anyways drove there picked up new box for him. They work and there not expensive and it’s what all the lodges i fished at in Alaska use to transport fish.
    Dogbreath likes this.
  20. scott craven

    scott craven Well-Known Member

    Last summer we did a trip to Langara, the fish was flash frozen and packed in waxed cardboard cartons.
    approx 8 hours later upon return home some of the fish had started to thaw.
    No ice was used.

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