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Thread: Soft Kenai Beach Halibut

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    Default Soft Kenai Beach Halibut

    Caught some halibut off the beach. Flesh seemed ok for little guys, 7-10#. Had a couple filets, they cooked up very soft. Possible I undercooked them, hopefully the case. One fish had prominent white speckles on the dark side. Chowder fish??

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Couple weeks ago we caught 8 off anchor (chickens) and I didn't think about chalky until I filleted the first one. Half were super thin and chalky colored - haven't ate any yet to see how it feeds.

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    Member JR2's Avatar
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    Two of the seven we pulled up down off Happy Valley last weekend were chalky. They were also the two smallest of the group.
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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    You can tell by looking at how thick they are. Skinny is chalky.


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    Arrowtooth Flounder is the catch on both Kenai and Kasilof beach. You need to use lime or lemon juice on them before cooking to firm up flesh. Enzyme in flesh breaks down with heat when cooking.

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IThink View Post
    Arrowtooth Flounder is the catch on both Kenai and Kasilof beach. You need to use lime or lemon juice on them before cooking to firm up flesh. Enzyme in flesh breaks down with heat when cooking.
    Are you sure you're not thinking of starry flounder? I've caught lots of starry flounder off the beach in both places while dipnetting, but have only caught arrowtooth flounder at greater depths. Starry flounder can be salvaged to make a decent meal, arrowtooth not so much (though it does make reasonably good bait).

    Not saying you're incorrect - I've just never seen arrowtooths up in the shallows.

    Starry flounder:

    Arrowtooth flounder:

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    Familiar with arrowtooths.... These were definitely halibut

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    Quote Originally Posted by gottago View Post
    Familiar with arrowtooths.... These were definitely halibut
    I wasn't referring to you - rather the other member who mentioned catching arrowtooth from the shore. Just curious, really.

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    I call the arrowtooth flounder a "saber-toothed flounder".......got into them real good off of Latouche one afternoon......they was everywhere.

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    Halibut possible and rare on the beach, starry flounder, shark, and mostly arrowtooth. They are feeding heavy on hooligan return to the river.
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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IThink View Post
    Halibut possible and rare on the beach, starry flounder, shark, and mostly arrowtooth. They are feeding heavy on hooligan return to the river.
    I'm guessing you are trying to keep the good fishing a secret.
    This time of year halibut are not so rare.
    I know a few people who have limited on halibut off the peninsula beaches already this spring and yes that is 2 fish in one day.
    And yes they were halibut. No question about it.
    They are not usually very big or the fishing fast and furious but they are certainly there.
    Yes there are Spiny Dogfish and starry flounder caught as well.
    I have never seen or heard of a confirmed Arrowtooth caught off the beach. Just my personal observations on that.
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    we have been hammering small halibut off the kayaks this year near anchor pt and I'd say maybe half of the under ten pounders we pull up look thin, covered in lice excessively, and often with mottled white sides. the quantity has been great. quality not so much on the smaller fish. anything over 20 pounds seem much cleaner and thicker fleshed.

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    Is there a definite answer as to what is causing the chalky halibut ?

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    Not that I know of, but my experience is that there are kind of two different types - soft, and then .... not sure what to call it, but I'll go with chalky.

    The soft ones seem more numerous (mostly from what I've heard as I haven't done much halibut fishing this year). They still cook up but just aren't the nice firm fillets we are used to. The other (chalky) ones are really weird, and pretty much the meat just goes translucent and disintegrates when you try to cook it. I've started just poking them when I catch them - like you do to see if a steak is cooked - if they're soft, buhbye.

    I'm curious if this is being observed anywhere other than Cook Inlet.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bear View Post
    Is there a definite answer as to what is causing the chalky halibut ?
    I'm no expert, but chalky halibut, and mushy halibut are two different issues. I believe chalky halibut is associated with lactic acid build up in the fish which causes the flesh to turn opaque like it had been marinated in lemon juice (acidic).
    http://www.iphc.int/research/biology...y-halibut.html

    Though not definitive, the mushy halibut is believed to be caused by some sort of nutritional deficiency.
    http://www.adfg.alaska.gov/static/sp...t_syndrome.pdf

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    I think the mushy has something to do with diet, as they seem lazy as well. never pulled a mushy or chalky trolling or on the shallow beaches here. always in the chicken patches.
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    I caught a 10 pound or so halibut off the spit in homer last week. When I was cleaning it, it was very watery. Wife cooked it up in the usual parmesan crusted bake and it was horrible, mushy, and really wet. I will have to pay more attention to try and turn those loose. I don't know if I could tell the difference while alive or not.

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    For those that have fished other areas, does cook inlet seem to have a higher percentage of chalky and soft halibut than the Gulf and PWS?
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    Quote Originally Posted by coop22250 View Post
    I don't know if I could tell the difference while alive or not.
    I know, that's the problem. I know I released at least one bigger halibut that I thought may be bad just because it had more lice on it than the others. That was before I learned (here) that the bigger ones are usually ok. That, and I also didn't know about the different colors on the white side. Either way, it bums me out that we have to have to deal with this now....
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    Now that you mention it, it did have a ton of lice. I may have to go with that and see if it is accurate.

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