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Thread: Arrowtooth Flounder

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Default Arrowtooth Flounder

    Just got back from Seward for an 8 day trip. Had to fish within the bay for two days due to weather, so we fished anywheres from 150-500 feet deep. Just about every hole that I knew of that hold occassional halibut were infested with Arrowtooth Flounder. These fish were a constant pest. When I was approached by F&G girl at the dock one day after a day of fishing, I asked her about the Arrowtooth Flounder and what with the infestation. She was clueless. Has anyone else caught these fish lately? Last year was the first time we had ever caught one and it was at 500 feet. However, they were not as frequent and we caught halibut at the same time. This past week, no halibut in the same holes. I read an artical in the paper today about small halibut and rise of the Arrowtooth. Just currious on if you had any similar experiences. Outside the bay, we caught a few in Dayharbor so I concentrated mostly around the Chiswells after that and came up with good fish only. Thank God!!!!

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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    We've had that experience while longlining, but it seems to be cyclical. We used to catch very few arrowtooth, but in the past 10 years that number has increased by a noticable amount. In two trips this year, though, the number of arrowtooth seems to have plummeted. This is a very cursory observation and very well might not reflect overall population numbers, but where we longline for sablefish, after years of population growth they were fewer in number this year.

    Another thing that has "infested" the areas we fish is sleeper sharks. Having fished since the late 60s, my parents never caught a single sleeper shark until the late 80s. In the late 90s and early 2000s there were days where we would catch over 100 sleeper sharks in a single day. Now we might catch 5-10 per day.

    I don't claim to understand what is causing these shifts or whether they're temporary or permanent, but there seems to be some strange things going on in the depths...

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Brian,

    Sorry to hear about the Arrowtooth, but glad it was not just a possessed school following me arround to ruin my day. What do you guys do with them? Is there a market for them? I know last year, one of my wifes co-workers took one home and said it wasn't bad to eat, but fell apart very easiliy. We also caught some small sharks but I thought they were spinney dogfish. I am not a shark expert by any means so I am not really sure what they were. They were about 3.5 feet long and liked to roll when on the surface wrapping up in out lines.

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    Take out a major predator, like halibut, and somthing will replace it.

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    New member fishnhuntr's Avatar
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    We picked up 3 or 4 arrowtooth over Memorial Weekend for what it's worth. Seem to pick them up when fishing chicken holes not so much otherwise.

    Chico, yeah sounds like you were getting dogfish, we usually don't get them til later in the year? Who knows.

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by fishnhuntr View Post
    We picked up 3 or 4 arrowtooth over Memorial Weekend for what it's worth. Seem to pick them up when fishing chicken holes not so much otherwise.

    Chico, yeah sounds like you were getting dogfish, we usually don't get them til later in the year? Who knows.
    I've heard that the dogfish usually start to show up a little later in the summer. But I did catch one a couple of weeks ago, so they're out there. They LOVE doing that surface roll thing.

    I have yet to catch any arrowtooth whatsoever out in K-Bay or Cook Inlet. But of course I just cursed myself and the next time I go out that'll be the first thing I pull into the boat.

    I tried eating one once, but I found their meat to be a lot less satisfactory than halibut. And the one we cut up was also VERY infested with worms. Not my cup of tea.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Forum Admin Brian M's Avatar
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    chico - I've only heard of one or two sport fisherman catching sleeper sharks. I'm sure it happens, but they live deep, and at 500+ pounds on average I'm betting most would break off if hooked on sport gear. We catch them in 1,500-2,400 feet of water.

    As for the flounder, there's not much we can do with them. There is no market that I'm aware of. When we've asked, we've been told that they turn to mush when cooked or frozen. As with other "trash fish" of the past, though, perhaps someone will find a way to make them commercially viable. Even if we got a small amount per pound, it wouldn't be bad to keep a few.

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    There was an interesting piece just today on adn.com about halibut size, "then and now". The article referenced the uptick of arrowtooth stocks. I don't know how to link to it. If someone smarter than me cared to link it to this thread......

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by fishnhuntr View Post
    We picked up 3 or 4 arrowtooth over Memorial Weekend for what it's worth. Seem to pick them up when fishing chicken holes not so much otherwise.

    Chico, yeah sounds like you were getting dogfish, we usually don't get them til later in the year? Who knows.

    You might have something on the chicken holes there. Where I was fishing, the only halibut I've caught there in the past were 15-40 pounds. However, I've had a few friends catch them later on the summer chasing the salmon over 100 pounds. I seldom target big fish, as I honestly don't like to eat them. Me personally, if I ever catch a halibut over 100 pounds, I play to send my boy to the top of the cabin, snap a pic and let her go. I'm a 15-30 pound kinda guy myself. We fish so much in the summer, filling the freezer is not an issue vs someone that only goes out once or twice a year. I just like to catch fish and lots of them. Are best day last year which was out of Homer was 4 poles 2.5 hours 65 halibut. Best catch and release day so far for me. I do however love to target big yellow eye and or lings. To me thats allot more fun.

  10. #10

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    The first time I tried eating an arrowtooth flounder was the last. Chalky and mushy.
    Spiny dogfish are sharks, right?

  11. #11

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    Arrowtooth are usually found in soft bottom, as are sleeper sharks, and deep like Brian M says. Places less fished for halibut. AT also secrete an enzyme that turns the flesh soft. That said, they are fished commercially by trawlers (for pennies a lb.) I've heard they are the largest biomass of a single species in the gulf.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bonanza View Post
    Arrowtooth are usually found in soft bottom, as are sleeper sharks, and deep like Brian M says. Places less fished for halibut. AT also secrete an enzyme that turns the flesh soft. That said, they are fished commercially by trawlers (for pennies a lb.) I've heard they are the largest biomass of a single species in the gulf.
    So what do they process the fish for, Dog or Cat Food?

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    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post

    Interesting Link! Thanks

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    We caught a few of the arrow tooth a few years back and the Admiral want to try it. (by herself, I refused)

    She froze it and then when she tries to grill the piece of crap, it fell apart. She didn't much like the taste either.

    Yuk and nasty is all I can say....................

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    When you catch an arrowtooth, fillet it like a halibut and strip it up. Great halibut bait. I've found it works as well as cod.

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    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by akdaniels View Post
    When you catch an arrowtooth, fillet it like a halibut and strip it up. Great halibut bait. I've found it works as well as cod.
    Could be legal?????

    Leave the skin on and it will stay on your hook all day!!! Don't ask me how I know....

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    I read something in Pacific Fisherman maybe the May issue that someone is actually developing a market for Arrowtooths so hopefully that happens soon...
    I choose to fly fish, not because its easy, but because its hard.

  19. #19

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    Can they harvest the "penny fish" without halibut bycatch and without destroying the sea floor? I hope they figure that out before they create a new fleet of draggers here in ak.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKBassking View Post
    Could be legal?????

    Leave the skin on and it will stay on your hook all day!!! Don't ask me how I know....
    I don't see why that wouldn't be legal. Arrowtooth have no bag or possession limit and would be considered "other fin fish" so would qualify as legal bait, if I read the regs correctly.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
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