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Thread: Wormy Halibut

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    Member Berto's Avatar
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    Question Wormy Halibut

    Those of you with knowledge on this topic, please enlighten me. Do some fish have more worms in their meat because of their age or habitat (i.e., location)? Does this affliction vary seasonally?

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    I'm no parasite biologist but I'll give it a shot. I've noticed that any fish up here that is on the bottom a lot gets worms. For example, Pacific Cod and Pollock are in the same family and pretty similar fish. Pollock usually have some worm, most likely bigger older fish. Pollock are pretty much a mid-water column fish.
    Now Pacific Cod are bottom fish. They do spread out at night to eat, but generally stay on bottom. They are LOADED with worms. I once got a fresh nice P.Cod and cooked it really slow....I thought it was growing hair...until the hair moved. Worms were trying to get away from the heat!!! I threw it away.
    On a side note if you cook it well they won't harm you.
    Bigger older fish tend to be wormier.
    I don't know if seasons affect worm rates but doubt it.

    Hopefully someone with more knowledge than me can chime in.

  3. #3

    Default Worms

    Man, every time this comes up I try not to read it. We eat fish 4 or 5 times per week, and I know that pretty much all fish have parasites, I just cook them well and don't look for worms. I don't want to know...
    Hike faster. I hear banjo music.

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    I don't have more biological info. but anecdotally, I'll agree... the larger, older fish seem to have a much higher incidence of worms. Of all the locations I've fished, this rule seems to hold up, so I don't think location is much of a factor. Also, other than open fishing season vs. closed season, I don't think time of year plays much of a role either.

    Not halibut, but has anyone found what looks like a big wad of (wriggling) angel-hair pasta in the gut of their coho salmon? I had never found worms in a salmon until 2 years ago... about 1 in 20 or 30 came up "wormy"... It never seemed to affect the meat, just critters living in the gut cavity next to the milt sacs, eggs, stomach, etc...

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default oh gosh

    Quote Originally Posted by Akbrownsfan View Post
    ...I once got a fresh nice P.Cod and cooked it really slow....I thought it was growing hair...until the hair moved. Worms were trying to get away from the heat!!! I threw it away.
    There's a mental image I'm going to have to work on repressing. Thanks Brownsfan.

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    Oh I hear you..........can't eat P. Cod to this day if I know what it is!! Plus I should have known better.........we were fishing on the "slime banks".

  7. #7

    Default Worms & Fish info as old as dirt

    I would tend to say most fish have worms, Hope that NOT Halibut didn't mean they don't.halibut almost always do, ling cod and the like, older worms turn brown so you can see them. Young ones are clear!
    Thats why you bleed them so the worms leave the meat, when they die in the air the worms can keep in the blood, hence die in the meat.
    Cut the gill or tail so they bleed out, stop knocking them over the head so the worms have a chance to go to the gut.

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    We caught halibut this year from about 35 pounds up to 105. We looked for worms and found some in the smaller fish, mostly in the gut. We did bleed them so that might have made a difference. So far cooking it I haven't seen any. I have cooked some from a big (225) halibut and found some worms in the filets as I was getting it ready to cook it. Cooked it anyway since there were few worms and it seemed of. You know, deep fried worms are good for you !

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    As an ex food inspector for Uncle Sam I can tell you when I was inspecting fish in the fish plants we were allowed to find up to two parasites per piece of fish we inspected.
    Dont worry about it. Cook the fish and the parasites present no harm.
    Tennessee

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    Member DRIFTER_016's Avatar
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    Another reason why I avoid sushi like the plague!!!!

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    Default Wyo.hunter

    The best way I've found to detect worms is to hold the fillets up to the light.

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    I've also been told to gut fish as soon as you can so the gut worms don't move into the meat.

    Someone mentioned silvers and gutworms, and I've seen that to. It is really bad with Chums.

  13. #13

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    The first time I saw one I nearly crapped myself. That was in 1984. I learned from a fish biologist that halibut get those parasites, but they are no threat to humans and are mostly in and around the gut sack. Since then, I fillet my halibut as soon as I can, minimizing their migration out of the gut. Rarely do I see one in the meat, except now you can't filet until you dock, it is more of a concern.

    I just flick them out of the meat, and hope the wife doesn't see them. So far, she is oblivious to this, and loves halibut. We eat it once or twice a week.

    Cook it well and don't worry about it.

    Now, if you are talking cod,I won't even cut them up for bait, they are usually so full of them. Yuck. And, they are real worms, not the parasites like in halibut.
    Now just why in the hell do I have to press "1" for English???

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    Round worms are common in fish. They live in the flesh. They do not migrate from the gut to the muscle when you catch one.
    Tennessee

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    Member akrstabout's Avatar
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    Default Read on here a while back to gut the fish

    Quote Originally Posted by CanCanCase View Post
    critters living in the gut cavity next to the milt sacs, eggs, stomach, etc...

    -Case
    If it will be awhile before processing. Last summer biggest fish was 73#. I gutted it right away as we were headed for the docks in Homer. No worms in the meat.

    The post I read just said to gut them. The worms like the gut cavity because of temp. But once I starts to warm up I guess they head into the meat.

    I keep my fish in the water and am a little weary of having the gut cavity open for a few hours while on a stringer. We do see worms now and then but usually down by the gut pouch just under the thin lining on the fillet or laying on top of the guts them selves.

    I agree with most on here, just don't worry about it for the most part. When you start getting 4 fish on a time it get really crazy. Never been a big problem yet but gutting does help if and when you can. NO sushi here either.

  16. #16

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    1 or 2 worm bellies in a limit of 30 copper river reds is typical. I have found that being selective in the harvest helps ( i.e. throwing back all fish that have any imperfection, seal bite, or scratch on the skin) I even threw back my only king last year for this reason.

    I have a friend who thawed a frozen piece of salmon in the fridge on a plate and opened the door to find a worm sitting on top. He shut the door and went to get his wife to show her. When they came back, the worm was gone (apparently back into the meat) They ate out that night and the neighbor's dog got to eat the salmon.

    I never noticed the worms in the halibut until we started to make a lot of halibut sausage and during the grinding you would find so many worms. Now they are easy to identify and are in most of the fish.

    The worms are there, you just accept it and keep eating fish.

  17. #17

    Default "Candling"

    Holding a fillet up to a bright light will easilly reveal any worms in the meat. I do this before freezing any fish I catch, or buy from the store. Then you can pick them out and be done with it. If there are lots of worms then my dog gets a better dinner than usual...........

    In the old days this was referred to as "candling" because it was done with the light from a candle. It is also done to look for bad poultry eggs. I think the ones that have developing embryos inside instead of yokes.

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    New member Todd Anchorage's Avatar
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    Default Worms

    Although I've never been sick from eating Salmon or Halibut, I've heard if you fillet them quickly and then soak the fillets in salt water on the way back to the docks, the little creepy crawlers will leave and you'll be worm free. I have seen a small trend of more wormy fish in Cook Inlet versus PWS, I attributed it to the muddy bottom.
    Any thoughts or opinions?

  19. #19
    Member LungShot's Avatar
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    Default Gross story

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowwolfe View Post
    Round worms are common in fish. They live in the flesh. They do not migrate from the gut to the muscle when you catch one.
    Yikes! The same round worms that humans can get? If so maybe thats where I got mine when I was a kid. I ate tons of fish. If you guys wanna get more grossed out imagine a 10 yr old kid taking a crap, and all the sudden a large POP!!! Look in the toilet to see a 10 inch long worm dead in a chunk of stool. Think of that next time you eat fish.

    On a side note I think I got it from an exotic fish down in Ecuador me, andmy dad caught, and ate. Also I do still eat fish, and havent had anymore round worms...... that I know of.

  20. #20
    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Oh no!

    Second gnarley visual, and just when I was getting past Brownsfan's contribution by swearing off ever eating cod. You guys are bad.

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