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Thread: What is your cut off for good eating?

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Default What is your cut off for good eating?

    One of the members comments on the 340 lbs caught got me to wondering if others have a cut off. Do you have a size limit that you consider good eating Halibut and do you release anything over that?
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Member hoose35's Avatar
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    never eaten a barndoor, but I have eaten halibut in the 150lb range and I thought it was fine. I do have a cutoff of anything over a hundred pounds, but is out of conservation, not because they don't taste good.
    Responsible Conservation > Political Allocation

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    It's funny that despite the differences in regional fishing, how much fishing is still the same no matter where you go.

    In Texas we have the same arguments about keeping big blue catfish, which can get over 120 pounds (impressive for a freshwater fish). Some lakes & rivers have slot size limits now, with heavy restrictions on how many big blues over a certain size (I think 48+ inches) that one can keep. The object is to protect the big breeders to ensure a good fishery for the future. When someone says that they promote release of the big fish for this reason, I respect that, as it is a truthful, straightforward statement.

    There are some Texans who will prevaricate on the subject and say "The big catfish don't taste good anyways". I've had big catfish, and they taste the same to me. Likewise, I've seen an number of Alaskans post that big halibut don't taste as good as the small ones. Have also heard folks on the West Coast make the same statement about big sturgeon. If this statement were true in all the fisheries I've heard it, then wouldn't it be true that fishermen should want to keep the smaller fish of all species fished for? (such as king salmon under 28" etc)

    I like to see the big fish let loose to preserve the fishery, but they taste just as good to me as the smaller ones. When I first caught big blue catfish, I kept them. Now I let most of the big ones go because I want them to breed. The first time that I catch a BIG halibut it's most likely getting filleted. But subsequent catches will probably get let loose just as with the catfish.

    Conservation is a balance between harvest and preservation.

  4. #4

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    We only kill fish we can land with our large salmon net. Anything bigger gets cut off.

    Last year we netted one that turned out to be 75 pounds. It was very good on the table, but it was a for-sure rodeo once that thing was nose down in the net with it's tail sticking up. Talk about a bath for the guy on the net handle (yours truly).

    More typically we draw the net line at around 50 pounds. Sure bigger ones can be great, but the net is simply a good standard for us.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I return anything longer than my cutting board, which equates to a 60-70 lb. fish. The bigger fish are a pain to deal with for me.
    Adding to that, the larger fish are females and lay millions of eggs. Seems right to return them to breed and keep the fishery healthy. I think Whittier has the right approach to a derby winning fish this year!

    BK

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    Member Boreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeek the Greek View Post
    There are some Texans who will prevaricate on the subject and say "The big catfish don't taste good anyways". I've had big catfish, and they taste the same to me. Likewise, I've seen an number of Alaskans post that big halibut don't taste as good as the small ones. Have also heard folks on the West Coast make the same statement about big sturgeon. If this statement were true in all the fisheries I've heard it, then wouldn't it be true that fishermen should want to keep the smaller fish of all species fished for? (such as king salmon under 28" etc)
    You see, the difference between the sport fisherman who can choose his fish, and the commercial fisherman who sells his fish is that a larger fish gets the com fish guy more money. He's paid by the pound. So his goal is to get the biggest fish he can get that people will still buy. A single hook that brings in a 200# halibut pays him a lot more than a single hook that brings in a 50# halibut. As a halibut gets larger, the muscle fibers get bigger, and the "sections" of the meat get larger. For me, personally, any fish over about 100# I won't keep because I'd rather see the fish back in the water to reproduce, and I prefer the smaller muscle fibers on the smaller fish. Note, I said "personally", and "I prefer". So while I'm trying to fill my freezer, I'm harvesting more, smaller fish to fill it than I would if I harvested a single, large fish. But hopefully I'm also returning the larger fish to the water to keep making fish.

    But not this year. Can't find a big halibut ANYWHERE!

    Good luck Y'all!

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    I don't like them much over 60 lbs. If I could go home with a limit of 40 lb fish I'd be happy. That size is a good balance between getting plenty of meat, and as other stated the muscle fibers are still smaller.

    No to mention that nowadays there are mercury considerations in fish over 60 lbs.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Member Swissy's Avatar
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    I have gotten to the point that anything over 60-80# I cut loose. I was part of a blind taste test between a 150# and 25# halibut, cooked 3 ways - baked, grilled and beer battered. I could tell the difference on all three, a friend from out of state had never had fresh halibut before picked the smaller one 2 out 3 time (missed the beer battered one) and the large majority of the people did the same - 2 out of 3 picking the smaller fish as the better tasting.

    And... there's the conservation thing. Plus the fact that I have the opportunity to get out more than enough times to fill my freezer with 25 pounders. It just lets me fish more! If I kept the big ones, then there would be no more reason to fish for halibut...
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    Charterboat Operator Abel's Avatar
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    100lbsish is where I draw teh line, also do I feel like dealing with this fish at the moment. Since we're on the subject, what would you guys think of a guy that said we don't keep fish over xxlbs on this boat? Not a charter guy, just a guy that you fish with alot.

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    Member tboehm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    100lbsish is where I draw teh line, also do I feel like dealing with this fish at the moment. Since we're on the subject, what would you guys think of a guy that said we don't keep fish over xxlbs on this boat? Not a charter guy, just a guy that you fish with alot.
    I would have to say the the guy that owns the boats is the captain and he sets the rules!!! You don't like it you don't have to fish with him.
    Semper Fi and God Bless

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    100lbsish is where I draw teh line, also do I feel like dealing with this fish at the moment. Since we're on the subject, what would you guys think of a guy that said we don't keep fish over xxlbs on this boat? Not a charter guy, just a guy that you fish with alot.
    I would respect the wishes of the guy whose boat it was. When I have guests on my boat, I sometimes ask that they be willing to release big fish. What probably would make the difference is how the person communicates what they want:

    "You ain't putting that on my boat!" vs "I'd like to release all our halibut over XX size today guys"

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    Member Boreal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zeek the Greek View Post
    I would respect the wishes of the guy whose boat it was. When I have guests on my boat, I sometimes ask that they be willing to release big fish. What probably would make the difference is how the person communicates what they want:

    "You ain't putting that on my boat!" vs "I'd like to release all our halibut over XX size today guys"
    Exactly. I usually ask people to consider releasing large fish, but that hasn't really been an issue this year. If the conservation idea is presented well, most people are normally willing to put the big hens back in the water.

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    On all of these taste tests - are you guys icing the big fish down right away? Or filleting it eight hours after being caught and stored in a 50+ degree fish box?

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    On all of these taste tests - are you guys icing the big fish down right away? Or filleting it eight hours after being caught and stored in a 50+ degree fish box?
    You hit the nail on the head. Leaving a big halibut on the deck in the sun for 8 hours doesn't do it any favors.

    I like fish that fit in my half tote, in slush ice. If I had a bigger fish box, I'd target bigger fish. 25-40lb fish for me in my personal skiff. We love bottom fishing too, so a few big halibut would put an end to our freezer filling activities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    100lbsish is where I draw teh line, also do I feel like dealing with this fish at the moment. Since we're on the subject, what would you guys think of a guy that said we don't keep fish over xxlbs on this boat? Not a charter guy, just a guy that you fish with alot.
    I'd think he shows good sense, and his guests should honor the captain's wishes. Period.

  16. #16

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    Quote Originally Posted by Abel View Post
    Since we're on the subject, what would you guys think of a guy that said we don't keep fish over xxlbs on this boat? Not a charter guy, just a guy that you fish with alot.
    I have the discussion with guests before we even get on the boat, pointing out why we put an upper limit on the fish we put in our own freezer. Usually they're house guests, so we go so far as feeding them some of our preferred fish beforehand. Most acknowledge it's better than what they've had from bigguns.

    But at that point, I leave it up to them. The clear point i make is that if they want to keep a big fish, every single scrap of it is going home with them--- no matter what they have to pay in excess baggage fees to get it home. None of this horsepucky of killing a huge fish and only taking home 50#, leaving us stuck with the freezer mess. For most, that's enough to stop them. They're happy with pics of the fish alongside the boat. If they still want the big fish, I "cheat" and only take them to chicken holes.

  17. #17

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    50 lbs for me. Anything over and the taste starts to suffer. 100+ # fish are really tough imo. Prefer 25lbers all day long.

  18. #18
    Supporting Member iofthetaiga's Avatar
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    I'm in the 50 pound +/- camp too.
    ...he who knows nothing is nearer to truth than he whose mind is filled with falsehoods & errors. ~Thomas Jefferson
    I would rather have a mind opened by wonder than one closed by belief. ~Gerry Spence
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  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by BrownBear View Post

    Last year we netted one that turned out to be 75 pounds. It was very good on the table, but it was a for-sure rodeo once that thing was nose down in the net with it's tail sticking up. Talk about a bath for the guy on the net handle (yours truly).
    Some guys are slow learners!

    Yesterday our house guest brought one up roughly the same size and wanted to keep it, so I dipnetted it. Yup, bath time! Tipped the scale at 73#.

    The good news is we had some for dinner tonight. Excellent.

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