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Thread: Jelly Halibut

  1. #1
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    Default Jelly Halibut

    I found this on the state F@G website. Very interesting to say the least. Sounds like there is not enough food for the halibut that are out there.
    ADF&G has received several reports of "mushy" halibut, where the flesh is very soft or flabby, sometimes with pockets of jelly-like tissue. Anglers report that the fish are mushy after being cooked as well. ADF&G has not yet tested these fish, but reports are similar to incidences in 1998 and 2005, which the ADF&G pathology lab diagnosed as a nutritional myopathy. The incidence of flabby or jelly-like flesh can be high for anglers fishing in certain locales, so if you catch a fish that feels flabby, release it immediately unharmed. You might consider moving to a different area to avoid these fish.

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    Member breausaw's Avatar
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    I think some anglers are confusing needle tooth flounder with halibut. In 45 years in Alaska including fishing halibut commercially and sport I have never come across a halibut that is flabby or mushy.

    But hay, maybe there are mushy halibut out there, I sure didn’t find any this weekend—didn’t find any butt at all; we did limit out on some big Yellow eye.
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    Member Roland on the River's Avatar
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    I caught some this year. There was quite a discussion a few weeks back on THIS forum.

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    My father fishes out of Deep Creek on a regular basis and is reporting that 50% of the halibut he is catching are chalky white and mushy. He just throws them back when he sees them. He has been fishing that area since the late 60's and has never seen this many with the chalky white mush problem.
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    Member 0321Tony's Avatar
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    I have been fishing CI for 20 yrs and the only time we used to see fish like that was the ones that were injured. Now its almost impossable to get a limit on the boat without missing one or two that are jellied and throw back several every day that you can tell are soft. Sometimes even seeing them every day you still miss them and you end up killing them and dont know till you clean them. It is very obvious when you cut into them that it is not right. Unfortunatly I use them for dog food because the texture when cooked is like eating warm halibut flavored jello. Yes I did try one once and only once.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    I havent seen near the number of these as the rest of you guys. We caught one chalky Hailbut a few years ago out of 18 we had to clean one day but none in the last 3 years or so. Of course I only fillet 20 -40 or so every year. I have heard of guys getting as many as 50% being chalky or mushy but haven't seen it myself.
    Breausaw they are definetly talking about Halibut.
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    What are they like when you catch them? are they easy to tell before you clean them? I saw the thread before about the jelly butts but the F@G now says its because of poor nutrition. Before many were guessing as to the reason

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    Member idakfisher's Avatar
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    My first inclination if I discovered a mushy fish at the cleaning table would be to chuck it.

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    Default Jelly vs. chalky

    This soft halibut were talking about is different than "chalky" halibut.
    I got my first mush halibut last week fishing the gulf coast, not cook inlet. Don't pitch the meat if its opaque because chalky halibut is fine to eat. This mushmeat halibut is bad news, I ate 5 or 6 bites and it didnt get me sick, but the texture made me want to barf.



    What is "chalky" halibut?


    It is not a health hazard. The flesh of chalky halibut is a bright, opaque white color, rather than translucent like normal flesh. When cooked, chalky halibut is drier, but has acceptable flavor and higher oil and protein content.
    Chalkiness is rarely visible when the fish is boated but develops over a period of hours. It is caused by a buildup of lactic acid, which reduces the ability of flesh to retain water. Important factors may include exhaustion, water or air temperature, and handling. Chalkiness is also more prevalent in August. Overall occurrence in Alaska is about 5%.
    To minimize chalkiness, kill and ice your fish promptly upon landing.

    also see;
    http://www.iphc.washington.edu/publi...p/tech0044.pdf

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    Thought I was crazy! Picked up 3 this past weekend way out in PWS and two of the three were jelly. These were smaller fish and only kept them to have something to show for the $150 in gas spent. I would have thrown back if I knew the meat was the way it was. I went ahead and froze'em, but will think twice before consumption. Dog food was mentioned in this thread. Many people do this? If so, you cook it up for them? Thoughts......???? I must educate myself more, sounds like many people are experinecing these fish.

    TGJ

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    I hope the charter captains are good at recognizing this. I don't want to pay all of the money and then find out one of my fish is junk when we get to the cleaning table!

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    Just got back from Homer yesterday and tried to pay much better attention to this due to the recent discussions. I noticed variations. Some were really firm on the outside and the fillets were awesome and firm. Some were less firm but looked fine, just not as firm fillets. Only one or two felt a little soft in the fillets, but kept them anyway.
    Maybe this sort of thing is a cycle, like about everything else. I was guessing food competition, as there have been many reports of extremely high numbers of P. Cod this year.
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    Member Jack in Alaska's Avatar
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    breausaw...........yes there are soft, mushy, chalk white halibut out of Deep Creek. Real hard to determine when they are on the line.
    Most have a very thin body, most have sea lice on them(more than usual), they feel soft to touch and they are fairly lethargic in the water.
    Saw some today from a friends boat. He estimates 50%. Has over 30 yrs. experience here. My rate is also 50%.
    Jack

  14. #14

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    We recently caught 2 mushy halibut that were in the 40lb range. So far this year I have tried 14 out of the 32 excellent halibut spots from past years on my GPS and we are pulling up P-Cod almost every drop. Went out the other day and the bait wouldn't even be down for more than 20 seconds and a cod would be on the hook. We couldn't catch a halibut the entire day after moving over 7 times and traveling 60 miles out of Seward. I don't know what is going on down on the bottom of the ocean floor but things are changing for the worse it seems.

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    Member coho slayer's Avatar
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    Been out of Seward three times this year and have yet to see any of the "jelly" halibut upon filleting. Either I'm having good luck or the fish aren't affected in the area we've been fishing.

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    My wife and I brought back four 20#-25# halibut from the east side out of Seward this weekend. We put them up after vaccum packing last night, and I kept the cheeks and one fillet out for dinner. The cheeks cooked up great, but when I cooked the fillet, it was mush. So, now I have the dillema of having 15 more fillets (frozen) that I don't know if I have three that are mush, or more. I can't send this fish outside to family like I normally do because I don't want them getting mush. Does anybody have a way of identifying the jelly/mushy fillets after frozen, or am I just playing some odds when pulling one out for dinner now? It is unfortunate to have spent a lot of money on crap for fish. Any help would be appreciated.

    By the way, the catching was pretty good this weekend. The bite was strong during the afternoon slack tide. Only got into a few p-cod and one dogfish. The wife caught 5 skates though. She was not happy.

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    My buddy out of Clam Gulch has a catch rate of jelly halibut of 85% the last three times he has been out. not that it means anything but he said they were stuffed with crabs

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    Was off Ninilchik beach a few miles Sunday. Out of 4 halibut, 2 were of the mushy variety. Fifteen to 25 pound range. Not great odds.
    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine!

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    Ditto on the "mushy" meat texture out of Deep Creek this year. First time I've ever seen it. Was not impressed with the first dinner of "fresh" halibut last month. Got a freezer full of it now.
    Winter is Coming...

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Now that they are in the freezer, color is the way to distinguish whether they will be mushy. If the flesh color is bright white, like paper, they will almost certainly be mushy. If they have that "clearer" appearance, they will be good. Once defrosted, the texture tells the difference. The white, mushy flesh will jiggle like jello. The normal flesh will be much firmer.

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