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Thread: Halibut Pearls

  1. #1
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default Halibut Pearls

    I guess they look more like a glass bead. I took out people last weekend to Homer. On the way down this guy was talking about his grandpa showed him this trick on a certain fish from back east. He said, "I bet these halibut will have them too, even though I have never seen or caught a halibut." Well after a days fishing and back at the cleaning station. I was filleting and remembered what he was saying and asked him to show me. Sure enough the halibut have them. So on most of the fish I cut out the Fish Ivory-ear bones, and then cut out the pearls. Freakin wierd. Never heard of this and still have to experiement. Next time I am going to try a bait needle from B&J's. When the pearls first come out they are soft and kinda sticky once they start to dry. I am thinking of threading them on to small mono while they are in this stage. Then can pull them off and put onto jewelry. It just tripped me out. They are kinda discusting to remove though. But being they are so interesting I could get past it. So has anyone found these before? If not guess where they came from. I am aslo wondering if all fish have them like the ear bones. I think the ear bones, Otiliths are pretty cool too. Rock fish have pretty cool looking ones.

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    Default Otoliths and Fish Aging

    Don't know about pearls but I did a study as an undergrad for a senior project in which we used a diamond saw and high powered microscope to show that you can "count the rings" in the otolith of a flounder. Really cool stuff! An additional bit of info that came out was, there appeared to be some correlation between temperature regimes and growth. That is the warmer the season the more the fish grew that year. (or at least his otolith).

    Where did you dig the "pearl" out of?

  3. #3
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default I will post a pic tomorrow

    once I take one. The bigger the fish the bigger the pearl is. The 60#er had a about a 3/16 diameter pearl once it is dried and cleaned. It started off about a 1/2 inch diameter but is gelly like and now I know to clean that part of right away. It is just something to do with part of a cool fish.

    Didn't know you could count the rings to see how old the fish is. Halibut otoliths are also size related to the fish. Would you guys cut the otolith in half or just look at it whole. You can see rings with the naked eye. Reminds of a leaf and the rings look like a cut tree. They are easy to get out and turn bleach white once dry, takes a few minutes. My mom like to make earrings with them.

  4. #4

    Default Otolith ???

    Does anyone have any suggestions as to where to look for the otolith or ear bones on a halibut?

  5. #5

    Default Pearls ???

    And where are you finding these pearls?

  6. #6
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default Here is the pic

    The otoliths are from a 20-30# halibut. The pearls are from a 50-60# butt

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default okay here is the pic

    should be good this time. The otoliths are behind the eyes kinda but slightly higher. I hold the mouth in my left hand. Rotate the carcass up off the table. Put the knife right above the eyes and cut towards the tail. Just picture the fish level and cut level above the eyes towards the tail It is better to cut high than low. You will see a cavity and just keep slicing until it is open. I then just look for them and work them out with the tip. You can feel them. By holding the fish that way if you do cut low the otoliths sink to the bottom of the cavity. Your knife should miss them.
    Last edited by akrstabout; 04-08-2008 at 22:47.

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default any guesses on where the so called pearls come from

    or has anybody heard of these before. My first time hearing of it. I just never would have thunk it.

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    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Talking

    can you say "fish-eye lens"?
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    Default Yep

    that is it. Just slit the pupil and squeeze. Slime and such will squirt out and then a half inch ball will pop out. lightly wash off the outer layer, or try and leave it on. Dry out for a day or so. If the outer part shrivel funny just crack the outer layer and chip and peel off with your thumb nail. It was wierd to learn and I guess I am intrigued. Going to try it both ways again next time but want to try and thread onto a needle.

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    Default Beat me to it

    Quote Originally Posted by homerdave View Post
    can you say "fish-eye lens"?

    I was wondering if someone else was going to say it. What you are refering to is the lense in a fish's eye. All fish have these. As far as ear bones go, they are much more interesting that just aging the fish. When hatchery salmon are young they vary the temperature of the water so that a differentiating pattern of rings form, much like a bar code. When those salmon return or are harvested they can identify the age, brood stock, and hatchery that those salmon came from. Have played with the pearls on a few occasions but I have a hard time getting them to dry circular, they tend to wrinkle and dimple a lot.

  12. #12

    Default Something Interesting

    Check this out from the F&G website...

    Thermal Marking Otoliths

    What is Thermal Marking?

    An otolith is thermal marked by changing the water temperature during incubation. This induces a "dark ring" in the microstructure of a fish's otolith. Usually these rings are created by a rapid temperature decline of at least 3 Celsius followed by a cold interval of 24 to 48 hours. This disrupts normal otolith growth, and when the otolith is viewed under a microscope using transmitted light, a "dark ring" is visible. This ring contrasts sharply with the adjacent, narrow "white ring," which results from the relatively warm portion of the thermal cycle.
    By planning a sequence of temperature changes, a hatchery is able to produce a pattern of dark rings in the otoliths of all fish exposed to those temperature changes.
    Why Thermal Mark Otoliths?

    Thermal marking of otoliths allows fisheries biologists to mass mark hatchery-reared salmon by taking advantage of the otolith's ability to record abrupt changes in temperature.
    As of the year 2000, over five billion Pacific salmon have been thermal marked by hatcheries in four countries around the North Pacific Ocean.
    This technology has performed extremely well for salmon management programs in coastal fisheries, and high seas researchers are focusing on the use of otolith marks for salmon population studies in offshore waters, where various stocks mingle.
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    Member Jan from Humboldt's Avatar
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    Default stones

    Down south guys dig out the "Stones" out of the white seabass and make jewelry with them but all the same they are otoliths and all fish have them some are larger than others.



    This one is out of a halibut http://www.hookedonfishinggifts.com/

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    Default AKboater

    you need to wash off the outer layer. I did half with and half without. the ones without the excess turned out good. The others were still fine. Just crack off layer, I used heavy scisors. anything will work. Just don't crush the whole thing. The ear bones are easy to deal with and make good jewelry. Never kept any from a salmon yet. Rock fish are the coolest ones yet I have seen. They are all facinating though.

  15. #15

    Default

    I prefer to dig out the yellow eyes otoliths for clients. It takes a pretty decent halibut to make it worth while.

    The easiest way I've found is to take a good sharp knife and start between the eyes and run it to the mouth DEAD CENTER! There's another way, you cut a slit and run a washdown hose in this slit and the otoliths will come right out.

    On big halibut it's pretty easy to do, just becareful you DONT cut them. They are slightly off center right behind the eyes a tad. And halibut ivory is a bit fragile where yellow eyes seem to be a bit tougher, and better for jewelry.

    I pulled the ones out of a 276lb halibut this year (my largest so far this year), and they were bigger then a nickle, a bit smaller then a quarter. The client loved it as his 60th bday gift, as if landing that fish wasn't enough, his daughter nabbed a 120 pounder.

  16. #16
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Default

    Time to revive this thread a bit...

    Here I am being interviewed by an F&G census taker in Elfin Cove last weekend. She wanted to weigh and measure our 4 yelloweye (all 20+ lbs.) and casually asked if we were going to harvest the otoliths. My 3 companions all said, "huh?" or "oto-whats?" I recalled this thread and mentioned that I knew what they were, and was interested, but had NO idea where to begin. She showed the location on the head of 2 hatchet cuts that the locals make. The next day I took a hack-saw to the heads of all 4 fish (now carcasses) and got lucky with 4 sets of 100+ year old otoliths... The wives now have some great new jewelry coming, I have another trick to perform for clients, and we all have permission to go on more fishing trips as long as we bring back all the "fish ivory" we can....

    I pulled one out of a 9# coho the other day and deemed them not worth harvesting due to small size. Still, for the life of me, I can't find them in the heads of the halibut we've been pulling up. Does anyone have a good picture of the cuts made to harvest halibut otoliths?

    TIA!
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  17. #17
    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default no pics but if you can visualize

    I tried to explain this before but am bad at relaying what I am trying to say. So now picture the fish swimming up right in the water, like a normal fish. But with the fish laying on the table I take the mouth in my left hand, twist the head off the table a little. Now still pictureing the fish upright, eyeball a level line from head to tail. But with the fish still on the table twisted up slightly put the knife above the eyes about an inch. More won't hurt you will just have to make another cut to get lower into the brain cavity, better safe than sorry. Is softer than the rock fish you were dealing with. They will be down in the seperate cavities in all the fliud and gew. You can feel them with the tip of your knife and just get them to the surface, usually by pulling/dragging with the tip of your knife. even small halibut 20#+ have good one for earings. Although the rock fish are the coolest of all I think.

  18. #18
    Member fishnngrinn's Avatar
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    Default Halibut Pearls

    Thanks to all of you who have posted on this interesting lesson in piscatorial physiology. My wife makes jewelry and I have ignorantly thrown away valuable resources, thinking only of feeding my face with fillet.
    Here is a site for instuctions on cutting out otoliths:
    http://www.marinebiodiversity.ca/oto...ish/remove.htm

  19. #19
    Member homerdave's Avatar
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    Exclamation just a note...

    IF the otoliths you have came from a sport caught fish you may NOT legally sell them.
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    Default

    I'd never heard of them before this year,but my buddy cuts them out of all the kings they catch. I think I'll add them to the mount of my 69 lber I'm having done, should make for some interesting conversation if nothing else.

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