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Trouble braining a fish.

Leander

Member
Oct 17, 2017
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I unfortunately caught another 8 lionfish yesterday, in an area I emptied already multiple times. I brained all of them and slit their gills one one side. All of them showed the reaction of a properly brained fish: sudden jerking movement, followed by going limp and the mouth dropping open. I stored them on the weightbelt.

One of the fishes didn't agree with dying, he scared the hell out of me when it started moving again after quite a while.
I spiked its brain some more, but after some time it started flapping around again. I ripped out the gills, but again after some time it started again. I then used my thumb to press hard on its neckbones, dislocating them. This finally stopped it from moving again.

These weren't like normal contractions of energy leaving the muscles. But for the rest the fish really seemed dead. I had a look afterwards and the spike when braining was right through the middle of its brain.

Can someone explain how this was possible? Was it just a normal spasm, even that long after jabbing it's brain and bleeding it?
 
Last edited:

Andrew the fish

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Oct 17, 2010
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Burnaby BC Canada
I always have trouble with spikes. I think they do not destroy the brain enough to completely stop movement of the fish. It is more of a trouble when dealing with tuna, those suckers are large chunk of muscle, when that thing starts flopping around it bruise a lot of meat. I prefer knife rather than spike, because it has width to the blade. Penetrate and twist the blade and move it around to completely ruin the brain. And even that is not enough sometimes. To guarantee that the fish will not flop around, you have to make a hole in fish head with special tool. It is like hole cutting pipe with sharp edges, which is hammered into fish head. Then the wire is inserted through the length of spinal cord.
 

Mr. X

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Most YouTube iki Jimi videos don't show the whole process. Japanese chefs will sometimes do the following, if I recall the order correctly:

Spike the brain
Cut the gills to bleed out,
Cut near the tail to bleed out
And finally run a small wire either up or down the spinal column.

Point being, I think at least some fish have some brain type functionality in the spinal column, just like chickens and frogs. Grey Mullet seem to.
 
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Leander

Leander

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Oct 17, 2017
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Normally I use a knife too, but this time I figured I could also stab them with the scissors I use to cut the spines. But it happened a few times to when I used the knife with maybe 1 out of every 10 fish.

I'll have a look about the wire method. It sounds a little too complex and time consuming for lionfish though.

But brainfunctionality in the spine, and perhaps other nerves too. I can see this being true. The octopus is the best example of this, but we too have neurons in our nerves, although not enough to make our limbs self-aware. So it might be like the chicken flapping and running after cutting its head of?
 

Andrew the fish

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2010
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Burnaby BC Canada
I'll have a look about the wire method. It sounds a little too complex and time consuming for lionfish though.
yes, wire insertion is for sashimi-quality fish, for Japanese markets. I brought it here just as an example, didn't mean you need to go that length with lionfish.

Meanwhile, with all these talks about lionfish, me and my lady cooked up some lingcod and made fish tacos. Strangely enough, fish tacos go well with champagne.
 
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Leander

Leander

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Fish tacos! Yes! That's on my to-do list now next to the fish-burgers. But how to make the tacos if all I have is a simple stove and a pan....

I'm actually quite new to eating fish. It had always been too expensive for me. So now I am learning so much new tastes and ways of cooking. Some fillets of the last catch are now drying in the sun to see if fish-jerky is a good way for me to preserve a big catch. No refrigirator here either. :)
 
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Andrew the fish

Well-Known Member
Oct 17, 2010
425
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Burnaby BC Canada
Fish tacos! Yes! That's on my to-do list now next to the fish-burgers. But how to make the tacos if all I have is a simple stove and a pan....
you don't need much more. Pan-fried fish goes well. The rest of it is tortillas , souce, and minced veggies. Souce is a simple mix of 2parts sour creaem, 1 part mayonese, garlic powder and hot souce (Sriracha is the best). Not sure if Greeks are found of tortillas though. Greek version of flat bread might be a bit too thick. But then, gyros are essentially the same thing. Think of fish tacos as fish gyros.
 
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Leander

Leander

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Oct 17, 2017
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Between here and nowhere
Tortillas are horribly expensive here. Pita bread is obvously available everywhere (and easy to make), but taco shells I have never seen here. ...Just googled, apparently tacos can be both hard and soft --- learned something new today!
 

Mr. X

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Although I mentioned the wire technique, it is something typically done on land by chef's or fish market workers killing fresh fish. Perhaps fishermen on boats. I don't think it is practical, or necessary, for spearos fishing from shore. If you have somebody on a boat nearby who can give it go by all means try it.
 

MarsArtis

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Dec 20, 2013
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Point being, I think at least some fish have some brain type functionality in the spinal column, just like chickens and frogs. Grey Mullet seem to.
I second what Mr. X said.
It's not so unusual to watch some fishes keep showing contractions and jerks after braining. My experience with mediterranean species confirms that it happens mostly with mullets and bluefishes. It seems like what happens in some reptiles and anphibians: once a part is cut you can see the it still moving, the peripherical nervous system continues it's work.
So I'm not surprised that it happens in other species.
 

Strag

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Mar 26, 2018
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Here's a great video on Ike Jime

It notes that the fish will still flop after the brain spike. This will happen until the wire is sent down the spinal cord.
 
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