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Thread: Mushy Halibut on Charters

  1. #1
    Member Mort's Avatar
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    Default Mushy Halibut on Charters

    I don't want to rehash the whole mushy halibut thing here, but as we dealt with a bunch of them this weekend, we wondered how charters handle the issue. I know some charter captains here seem to have avoided the problem so far for the most part, but I have to believe one slips through occasionally.

    So what do you charter captains do? Inform the client? Send them on their way to be surprised when they cook the fish (Holy Cow, that recipe sucks - never trying that one again!)?

    Has anyone ever got mushy fish on a charter, and how did the crew handle it?

  2. #2

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    This was a question that had crossed my mind too. Reading the forums and knowing the problem is there would make me a little more understanding, but for those unaware, it could really be upsetting. Just goes to show how much pressure is on the charter operators for things well beyond their control, this just being one more of those things to worry about.

  3. #3
    Charterboat Operator
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    tough call, we (my boat) typically explain the whole scenario of what is happening to the fish and what the problems are, we typically target areas that the fish are healthy, sorting thru as best we can. I/we have gotten pretty darned acurate at judging the quality of fish, but they do indeed slip thru. I would be a liar if I said i have not sent some of it away with the customer, after showing and telling them about the difference in the meat quality. I have also thrown away a fish or two that was way beyond consumption in my mind anyway.
    as I said tough call, should you guarantee that the quality of halibut is going to be perfect, i could not personally do it, nor replace anything that I deemed unedible, with fish from my own freezeer.

  4. #4

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    Yeah, I'm right along with Pole Bender on this one. So far this season I haven't gotten a single "mushy" halibut that I know of, so it hasn't been a problem yet. But if I did and was able to catch it while I was dealing with the fish just after having brought it on board it I'd explain the situation to the client and release the fish if it seemed able to be released.

    If I didn't catch the problem until I was cleaning the fish at the dock (I always fillet the fish we catch at the dock), once again I'd explain the situation to my client and leave it up to them as to what to do with it. Unfortunately, as Pole Bender says, it's a tough call and I'm sure it will probably happen to me at least once or twice this season.

    But I know one thing for sure, if a guide is sending people home with less than quality fish without informing them about what they've got then they shouldn't be guiding IMHO.
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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    I wonder how the cattle boats at the pinnacle are handling it, I stopped by that are last week to check on the sizes and every fish caught was small, skinny chalky and or jelly with their stomachs full of crab.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by redleader View Post
    I wonder how the cattle boats at the pinnacle are handling it, I stopped by that are last week to check on the sizes and every fish caught was small, skinny chalky and or jelly with their stomachs full of crab.
    Yup! It's the same old story---"ya gets what ya pays for". Spend $105 each to run out with a bunch of people you don't know and get what you get, or $250 each and get your own boat and personalized attention with the captain's attention on getting good fish.
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    What type of trash are you spreding? First off the half day boats are not going to the pinnacle! Second if you could get $5 for every crab you could could get out of a halibut from the pinnacle you could not buy gas to get back to Anchor Point! Muttley I will give it to you because I had to fish the Seldovia Bump with you the other day to get my last 4 fish an d they were as good as the other fish I had on board, because it was to nasty to get any place that day! I wish I could have got to where I was the day before 35lbs up to 50lbs and healthy!

  8. #8
    Member redleader's Avatar
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    Ok I wasn't there on the 26th and the 2 cattle boats I saw there were a mirage and the buts weren't little skinny unhealthy chickens *** over?

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by redleader View Post
    Ok I wasn't there on the 26th and the 2 cattle boats I saw there were a mirage and the buts weren't little skinny unhealthy chickens *** over?
    What "pinnacle" are you talking about?
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    On the 26th the half day boats were on the 19 bump not the pinnacle! I know that some may call some places by other names Just shows what some are trying to say to make thier point. I was at the outside of the 19 bump with both of the half day boats on that day then moved in to Seldovia bump. If you need the numbers to what is know by most as the pinnacle I would be happy to give them to you! Muttley the pinnacle is 9 miles past pogie! With 20kts of south wind not a place to be on the 26th! Not sure what the "***" is but I am sure it is not nice.

  11. #11
    Member Mort's Avatar
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    OK, and now we are back to the question of how do the charter boats handle mushy fish. Thanks for staying on topic, all!

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    Sorry Mort! I just look to see if they are fat out to the side fin if not pitch it back! I would rather have a fat 15lb fish then a bad 20lber! Most fish but not all over the 40in mark are good. If they look thin and have any gray on the white side let it go not worth killing. The other thing I can tell you I have never had a chalky fish from the kelp, but most charters don't have what it takes to fish 6 in the kelp For that I'am glad!!!!!

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by MGH55 View Post
    Muttley the pinnacle is 9 miles past pogie!
    I know. That's why I was asking what "pinnacle" redleader was talking about. I don't think I've ever seen a "cattle boat" head out past Pogi.

    And to get back onto topic again. I think this whole thing points out one of the problems people going out on "cattle boats" are going to encounter more and more these days. I've never been out on one, but I can't imagine a person on one being able to say to the deckhand that brings their fish in, "Can I take a look at that fish and see if it looks mushy?" And please, if there is anyone here that knows differently on how they handle their fish, please feel free to correct me. I do occasionally point some potential clients that way who really only seem to be looking for that kind of experience.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Muttlet, It goes 19 bump till it gets to slow then they move to the BBQ pit then out to the pinnacle the as the wx goes bad back to the 19 bump!!!

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I have been on 1 overnighter on a cattle boat. I culled many fish on it.

  16. #16

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    In the last 2 days we caught 10 halibut in the 15 to 40 lb. range from inside of K-Bay out into the Inlet and all were very healthy and not a single "mushy" in the bunch. A number of them had crab remnants in them, but most seemed to be feeding on sand lances and various other small baitfish.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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  17. #17
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    i was out about 5 miles from the spit, all the halibut were small, full of crab and some were on the mushy side, the best part of the day was a surprise king.

  18. #18

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    Quote Originally Posted by redleader View Post
    i was out about 5 miles from the spit, all the halibut were small, full of crab and some were on the mushy side, the best part of the day was a surprise king.
    Yeah, unfortunately I think that's going to be a recurring theme staying that close in. Try about 5 miles further out and I think you'll be pleasantly surprised, though getting out there yesterday wasn't for the faint of heart---a very healthy 26 pounder was one of our rewards! I haven't had a "mushy" in a number of weeks now with some fish even down in the 10 to 15 lb. range.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Spent 2 days fishing Homer, and we kept 13 halibut. I was pretty picky with the ones we kept and we ended up with 2 mushy ones. The 2 mushy ones were both caught the same day from the same spot, about 15 miles west of the spit. Second day we fished farther south, about 8 miles west of Pogi and didn't catch a mushy one.
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  20. #20
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    Fished homer saturday and Sunday. Two different spot and where we fished west of the spit 15 miles yes 3 mush out of ten and Sunday one out of ten but with weather early only fished about ten miles out. All my mushy ones were about 25 lbs.

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