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Thread: Sockeye meat

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    Default Sockeye meat

    Just curious if anyone else has had this experience. One of our fish we dipnetted off the Kenai had a different color meat then all the others. Now before I get 15 replies saying it was a silver, chum, pink....I GUARANTEE that this was a hen Sockeye (yes I know...black spots, tail, etc.). She just had what I would call a little darker than Silver, little lighter than Sockeye colored meat. Actually a little closer to a Silver which is what I thought maybe we had at first but absolutely no spots/dashes at all and no silvering on the tail. Weird.

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    Member jmg's Avatar
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    I got one of those a couple weeks ago dipping as well. I kept looking at it to figure it out. I thought it was a silver. Had to pull out my regs and look at the pics of the fish in the back and make comparisons. But it did not have any spots (if I remember correctly), whereas the silvers and pinks do, so through process of elimination, figured it out. And it wasn't a chum. The back on it was a little more grayish, headed towards green, than that dark blue most of the reds had. A friend of mine caught one the next day and I had to tell them what it was. The meat though was as red as the rest of the sockeyes, maybe just a hint less red, but certainly not like a silver or a pink. Enough red hue to tell what it was.

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    Rainbow/Steelhead? Maybe a small king, large jack? Maybe I should check the regs before I toss out such allegations.

    We also neeted a fish on the Kenai last weekend of similar qualities. The fillet kind of struct me as odd, but I figured each red is different in it's own way. And the meat on this fish wasn't quite the dull orange of a pink, but definately a red, but not the deep red a red fillet shows.

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    Default I got one too

    I caught one of these last week too. Definately a red I checked, but the meat was lighter in color and slightly paler. The fish was processed within 6 hours, and eaten in 24 hours, when cooked it was firm and the color darkened to an appropriate shade and tasted like any other red. weird!!!

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    The fishes diet can alter the tone of the flesh.
    But some times silvers do not have spots at all. I am told that the pupile of there eyes are different. I think reds and chums have larger pupiles relative to there size. Though these 3 fish can be very difficult to distinguish when ocean bright. There is enough varience in appearence that the clasic colors and spots don't always apply.

  6. #6

    Default gill rakers

    I worked in a place where we taught fish identification with frozen fish. When you use the same salmon over and over (freezing,thawing...) they can get pretty tough to ID, especially when the tail looses its silver (if it had any - chum, coho), and body color fades or distorts. One sure way to tell a sockeye is by its gillrakers. They have the longest and thinnest of all salmon. Of course, this is hard to tell if aren't familiar with what they look like or should look like, so having a red and a silver or other species to compare is best. But if you check the seeming oddball red against the others, and if they are the same, then they are both reds. The following link shows where the gillrakers are. This example is of very short and few gillrakers. The long, thin ones on a sockeye are due to the fact that they eat smaller prey like krill, and the rakers help filter them out as they swallow mouths full of water and prey, much like the baleen of whales.

    http://ftp.dfw.state.or.us/MRP/salmo.../Gill_Arch.jpg
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

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    Default It's Common

    Depending on the size of your fish, it's a common occurance. I've dipped for quit a few years and have had this happen frequently with the "bullets" (what I call the little buggers that swim through your net up to their dorsal fin). They have got a flavor that is almost like silvers.
    "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit is better than he who takes a city." ~ Proverbs 16:32

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    Default Interesting..

    ..to see how many other folks have had the same experience. Yeah, she wasn't a "bllet" but just a standrd sized hen Sockeye. I even got to teach my twelve year old daughter and use mywildlife biology degree and checked the gillrakers. I even did a lateral line scale count....definately a chrome sockeye.

    Man were there some hogs in the bunch too! Surprisingly we only had one "non-target" fish which was my daugher's Starry Flounder. Poor girl...it was her first fish and shwas disapointed it wasn't a Red. Luckily she kept at it and caught the biggest hog of the bunch!

    I'm amazed though at how some of the folks take care of their fish. Some were chucking them (sandy as all get out) without bleeding or gutting (or clipping the tails) right into a black plastic contractor bag. That bag would sit on the beach in the sun.....yuck. There was also an old native gal filleting (sort of) her fish and then rinsing the fillets in the surf. I dunno folks, maybe I'm anal or something but it's bonk, bleed, gut/gill/kidney and then on ice.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sal View Post
    Just curious if anyone else has had this experience. One of our fish we dipnetted off the Kenai had a different color meat then all the others. Now before I get 15 replies saying it was a silver, chum, pink....I GUARANTEE that this was a hen Sockeye (yes I know...black spots, tail, etc.). She just had what I would call a little darker than Silver, little lighter than Sockeye colored meat. Actually a little closer to a Silver which is what I thought maybe we had at first but absolutely no spots/dashes at all and no silvering on the tail. Weird.
    I read about this once, and the same thing happens to other of the salmon species ...I had what was called "white chinook" in a Seattle restaurant one time and looked into it. There's no big secret or surprise here, it's just that some fish apparently prefer a diet with fewer crustaceans (where the red comes from) and higher in bait fish. These fish turn out to have lighter-colored meat, that's all. Personally, I suspect that fish which prefer the high-crustacean diets is preferable ...no reason to charge extra for 'white' salmon.

    Brian

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    Quote Originally Posted by sal View Post
    <snip> I dunno folks, maybe I'm anal or something but it's bonk, bleed, gut/gill/kidney and then on ice.
    I think it's bonk, cut the gills (both sides) right down the middle with heavy kitchen shears (and stand back unless you like red), gut, rinse, plop on ice. At home, hose the scales off, fillet, vacuum pack, plop in the freezer.

    Brian

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    Default Exactly.

    Quote Originally Posted by tananaBrian View Post
    I think it's bonk, cut the gills (both sides) right down the middle with heavy kitchen shears (and stand back unless you like red), gut, rinse, plop on ice. At home, hose the scales off, fillet, vacuum pack, plop in the freezer.

    Brian
    That's how I bleed them too, except I just rip a gill on each side and she starts spraying/pumping right away. When it slows to a trickle, I usually put it back in the water for a bit and slosh some cold water along the gills. It gives it that "one more pump" due to the hot/cold exchange...seems to draw out the blood.
    The only possible difference is that I remove the gills along with the guts and kidney before I throw them on ice. Even pack a little ice into the body cavity to cool them down quick and thorough. Then they're good to go until I process them for the freezer, pressure cooker or smoker. Tight Saran Wrap and vacuum packer finishes the deal.

  12. #12
    Member akfishfool's Avatar
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    Default good point

    Ice in the body cavity is a good point. Especially if it is shaved ice, in my experience it improves the quality of the meat alot and will also extend the starage time till processing if needed.

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    Default OH yeah

    I wanted to ask does anybody else know of places to get cheap shaved ice. besides next to the Kenai city docks. I know alot of processors will give you shaved ice if you stop by and tell them your going to be bringing fish back to them, especially if you just dropped some fish off. the proccessor just outside of wasilla heading north did that for me twice without being asked this summer it was a very appreciated gestur, especiallly since I will often spend fifty to one hundred dollars on ice for a big trip

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