Anyone who has been offshore in a trailer boat or even a game fishing boat knows that the angler’s number one enemy is deck clutter.
Tackle boxes, tool boxes and worst of all fish chiller boxes can really get in the way, when you need a deck cleared for action. In several states of Australia fish must be returned whole to the boat ramp and marina and cannot be filleted, at sea. This means that, to keep the catch fresh, quite large chiller boxes are required. The problem with those is that they need a lot of ice to start working because there’s so much warm air inside that must be chilled. So after a couple of hours typically half the ice has melted, making it less effective and costing you money.
But there is another way. Neoprene is renowned for its insulation properties and of course is the number one material used for where effective insulation is needed – like stubby holders, can coolers and of course, wetsuits. We offer a large fish chiller bag made with heavy duty 7mm neoprene, about twice the thickness used in the average can cooler.
There are two sizes. The first is designed for large tuna, cod, snapper and the like, and measures: 120 x 50cm. It will hold one fish up to 50 kilos, or multiple smaller fish. Big fish can be carried by the tail.
The second is a long thin version designed for Spanish mackerel and wahoo, measuring 160cm x 33cm. It’s a crime to leave quality eating fish lying in the scuppers, just because they’re too large to fit in the fishbox:
But the biggest benefit of these chiller bags is that they roll up into a compact package, and can be secured with the Velcro strap supplied. When ready to use, simply roll the bag out on the deck and insert the fish head first. Then add a bag of ice. Close the zipper, and store out of the way. Once back on the dock just hose out the bag, and leave it to dry inside out. It can even be put through the washing machine.
Either chiller bag is just $59, and that includes delivery. The savings in ice will pay for it quickly. If you need more details call me on 0402 07 5000 or send me an e-mail?
Here’s some typical feedback on the chiller bag, from one of our clients:
Finally got back on the water yesterday after an enforced lay off. We tried out the tuna bag I recently purchased from you recently with some Blue Eye and Gemmies, it was great. We caught the fish first thing in the morning, then chased Tuna all day getting back to the ramp at 6pm. The fish were in perfect condition and we only used two bags of ice. Cheers Wayne"
Glad you’re pleased with it, Wayne. Two pretty basic concepts involved: don’t clutter up a busy deck with giant fish boxes and eskies, and don’t waste ice on cooling warm air. This one’s a bit overstuffed with not much room left for ice or even closing the zipper but you get the idea:
Jay found the chiller bag ideal for looking after his 28 kilo blue eye, caught at Browns Mountain off Sydney:
"Got this 28kg Blue eye though bashing the bottom at browns, put a mighty bend in the rod and all 5 of us had to contribute to bring it up. 2 pro's working the bottom too.. Thanks again mate will drop by tomorrow to drop off the reel and rod! Thanks again!"
No problem at all my friend. Grateful for the pic, it shows how roomy the chiller bag is. Talking about roomy, check this out:
Went jewfishing in RIDICULOUS conditions on the weekend. Needless to say we caught very little, but due to the fact I forgot my socks, necessity became the mother of re-invention."
I bring you: The mermaid bag fish chiller/foot warming neoprene sleeping sack!
I'm not kidding mate, this thing saved me. I would have almost certainly gotten sick without it. My only suggestion may be a little more leg room. Cheers, Ben
Chiller Bag update:
"Once again some great raffle prizes were on offer from Wade at Cherry St Butcher, Brett from Ballina Bait and Tackle, Brad from Chicken Mania, Cherry St Bowling Club and a new prize offered from Andrew at the Downrigger shop. Max Thew won a tuna bag supplied by the Downrigger Shop."
… he found that a 64 kilo tuna won’t go into a 45 kilo tuna bag:
Peter G, July 2012
"First strike was a spotted mackerel. These beautiful speedsters taste delicious:"
It all started about a month ago. Swarms of Yellowfin Tuna arrived off Sydney, at the same time as the weather turned fine. Calm seas and high winds saw big numbers of trailer boats (mine included!) making the 20 nautical mile run, to Browns Mountain. Brown's is arguably the best Tuna spot on the NSW Coast.
Lots of anglers were getting out there, and lots of Tuna were being caught. But what do you do with a big Tuna in a small boat? Tuna are one-third head, plus they have big sweeper fins and a wide tail. They're really hard to stow. Tuna will fit in a big fish box, but not in the standard size eskies most of us carry onboard. And once in the boat they thrash around wildly, spraying blood all over the boat and bruising the meat, in the process.
Internet fishing reports show countless pics of Yellowfin Tuna which have spent hours lying on the deck - often, in the sun. Most times the fish are not cut up until the angler gets home. When you fillet a Tuna like this you find that the meat inside is hot. Hotter even, than when the Tuna was alive. The fish is decomposing like a pile of wet grass clippings, cooking away. At our local Mall this week, T-Bone steaks cost $22 per kilo. Tuna Steaks are selling for $24 per kilo. That means the 40 kilo Yellowfin we have been catching are extremely valuable and worth more than T-Bone steak.
There has to be a better way. A way to look after this expensive meat, while avoiding cluttering up deck space with bulky fish boxes. After research, designing and testing we think we've found it.
Neoprene is a material used for both insulation and shock absorption. Most people know it from wetsuits, or beer coolers. We've taken top quality 5mm neoprene (nearly twice as thick, as standard stubby coolers) and cut it into a Tuna-shaped zippered bag. The bag itself is small and compact and doesn't take up much space, when not in use. When you catch a Tuna bleed it and place it inside the bag with ice.