A BEGINNER’S GUIDE TO TRADITIONAL IKE JIME
A really informative how-to article from Ike Jime!
“Ike jime takes some practice. Ike jime has its detractors. But ike jime is not a magic trick; rather ike jime is equal parts science and equal parts skill. This method creates certain “windows of time” for the handler to exploit, and this beginner’s guide will explain why and when these windows appear.
Equipment for Traditional Ike Jime
To begin, the handler will need tools and equipment that are appropriate for the size, species, and context of the fish at issue. As a general matter, here is a list of the most basic equipment:
- A sharp brain spike;
- A sharp knife;
- A source of clean water;
- An insulated cooler filled with ice, and
- A live fish.
Ike Jime Brain Spike (the noun)
The handler will need a spike that can easily puncture a fish’s skull and destroy the fish’s brain. What kind of spike? It depends. Even a tiny spike plunged into the hindbrain of large tuna will kill that fish instantaneously. But size matters too. A tiny spike may not have the necessary strength to puncture the skull of a large tuna easily and quickly. Perforating a fish’s head without killing it may introduce new challenges, and broken spikes are not particularly safe or effective. It helps to select an application-specific brain spike made of stainless steel, sized appropriately.
Ike Jime Brain Spike (the verb)
A fish can only breathe underwater. Once the fish is removed from water, its ability to breathe stops. Just as land-based animals may temporarily hold their breath when submerged underwater, fish are able to do the same – temporarily. This is the first, critical WINDOW OF TIME to immediately kill the fish and limit its ability to experience any stress. How?
A brain spike is one traditional (manual) method. It is simple, efficient, and effective when performed properly.
Locate the brain of the fish. If it is helpful, study a fish’s head carefully beforehand so you are prepared to hit the brain on the first try. Alternatively, here is a great resource by Dr. Ben Diggles. While this compendium focuses mostly on species available in and around Australia, a pattern emerges: the brain is almost always located 1) at the top of the pre-opercular line, and 2) where that point will intersect with the fish’s midline.
With some limitations on species, size, and circumstance, the brain spike may enter the brain from any angle. Some prefer to enter from one side of the fish’s head. Others prefer to enter from the front of the fish’s head. Again, species, size, and circumstance matters. Pro Tip: regardless of the direction, try to angle the spike towards the top of the spine.
Finally, obtain a live, energetic fish. A fish that has been floating belly-up on a stringer will not be redeemed, nor will a fish that has been entirely exhausted after a long, drawn out fight off-shore. The fish should be robust and as full of its natural energy as possible.”
The steps and full article can be found here.
Photo credit: Original Author