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Thread: Pacific Cod?

  1. #1

    Default Pacific Cod?

    Do you keep or toss the pacific (tom) cod that you catch? We caught a bunch of them out of Homer the other day and tossed them. Later I was thinking that we really like Ling cod in season why not these? Is there anything special in the way you treat them when caught for better taste later?

  2. #2

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    We love em and keep all we need. Ideal is to thump them on the head and quickly cut a gill to bleed them out. Yeah, there might be a worm or two in a fillet, but hold the fillets up to a bright light and use your knife point to pick them out. Same thing the canneries do. And if you like ling cod, you'll like pacific cod.

  3. #3

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    Don't think pacific cod are the same as tom cod? Are you certain they were actually true cod and not pollock? Caught a bunch of pollock and flounder off the Homer spit today but only one real cod. We love lingcod too but those are not cod at all but greenling. Love to eat cod and they are definitely not as wormy as pollock, far less so!

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    How anybody can toss away a fish that retails for $13.99 a pound in Southeastern USA markets is beyond me. It's an excellent mild-flavored fish that can be prepared all the way from poaching it in apple cider to deep fryiing. Pacific Cod is a huge market, the second most important bottom catch fish in the USA and caught in Alaska.

    In catching this fish I find great satisfaction using medium to heavy spin tackle with 20 lb braided line. Tie a quality snap swivel to the end, click in a lead pencil stick lure with a single hook, and jig your heart out. I'm usually first down with this set-up at sea and then first up with what goes in the hold. It's not a runner like a halibut; more of deep thudder who gives up and floats to the surface in exhaustion and is easy to land.

    I'm 35 days away from Kodiak and this quarry. It is among one of my favorites...

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  5. #5

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    I heard they had worms so it would be best to gut them immediately after catching so the worms would not travel from the guts to the meat after the fish dies. Is this a “old wives tales” or true. I also heard you would not want to cook it with the skin on as it makes it taste bad. What are your experiences?

  6. #6

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    Quote Originally Posted by kimjn View Post
    Don't think pacific cod are the same as tom cod? Are you certain they were actually true cod and not pollock? Caught a bunch of pollock and flounder off the Homer spit today but only one real cod. We love lingcod too but those are not cod at all but greenling. Love to eat cod and they are definitely not as wormy as pollock, far less so!
    On page 10 on the new regs is show a picture of three cod for identification. It says "Pacific tomcod are typically under 20 inches, and pollock are typically under 30 inces". This made me think they are one in the same... Anyway those are the ones we were catching and throwing back.

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    Member chico99645's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard R. Rosenberg View Post
    How anybody can toss away a fish that retails for $13.99 a pound in Southeastern USA markets is beyond me.
    Its real easy. Its called sport fishing for a reason. Sometimes the cod get so thick you can't get your hook to the bottom for Halibut. With all the fish we are blessed to have, we can pick and choose what we like to keep, eat, and give away to family and friends. I eat a few cod every year as they are tasty if you catch a firm one, but I mostly prefer to use them at 13.99 a pound bait! Besides, there is alot of fish that goes to market, that I would not want due to the fact that I have no idea how it was handled, cleaned, chilled etc.... or even grown in so called fish farms, especially fish that comes from overseas. A few YouTube videos of catfish and shrimp farming in China and a few other places have turned my stomach, and thats where a lot of fish from Walmart and other stores come from. Turns my stomach just thinking about it.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Fly Guy View Post
    I heard they had worms so it would be best to gut them immediately after catching so the worms would not travel from the guts to the meat after the fish dies. Is this a “old wives tales” or true. I also heard you would not want to cook it with the skin on as it makes it taste bad. What are your experiences?
    Wives tale.

    Try it yourself- kill and fillet them immediately and the worms are already in the flesh. The worms just can't move fast enough to get anywhere any time soon.

    They're just a fact of life like worms in halibut bellies and salmon. Yeah, salmon. They've got them too, but they're small and clear so most folks never notice them. Doesn't seem to stop anyone from eating salmon, worms and all.

  9. #9
    Member kodiakrain's Avatar
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    I keep pretty much all the P Cod caught while looking for Halibut also. Tho they are a little harder to filet than the flatfish, the meat of a Cod is very excellent, and Not a step down from Halibut at all.

    My wifes grandparents actually prefer Cod over Halibut (and they have been eating fish around Kodiak since the forties) so they have "Dibs" on as much Cod as I can keep from any trip.

    You've got to try it, and next trip out.
    The true Pacific Cod can be easily mistaken for a Pollock, so bring your fish id book or something, as Pollock meat is much softer, still ok as a filet, but definitely not the Prime Cod as table fare.

    Immediately, bleed the Cod as it hits the deck by cutting a gill raker or cutting the throat area to get the Carotid artery
    That is a key.
    We have never had any commercial market ask for them to be gutted, just bled, so going on that, I think it may be an old wives tale on the migrating worms idea you mention.

    I know the market doesn't seem to want them from later summer as much as Jan thru May and I've heard that is something about the increase in worm count after they become spawn outs?
    If concerned about worms they are easy to see and pull out of a skinned filet
    and yes when fileting, try leaving the whole filet attached at the tail and as your last cut, as a skin remover, it is pretty smooth to run your knife down between filet and skin, using the attachment point to push away from you should be able to come up with a beautiful skinless piece of the Finest Whitefish available.

    Cod Filets are highly coveted worldwide, is amazing and too bad so many Alaskans toss them.
    Most are just not realizing what they are tossing over I believe.

    Hope you try some soon, bet you'll like it, maybe never throw another away
    Ten Hours in that little raft off the AK peninsula, blowin' NW 60, in November.... "the Power of Life and Death is in the Tongue," and Yes, God is Good !

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    Quote Originally Posted by Alaskan Fly Guy View Post
    On page 10 on the new regs is show a picture of three cod for identification. It says "Pacific tomcod are typically under 20 inches, and pollock are typically under 30 inces". This made me think they are one in the same... Anyway those are the ones we were catching and throwing back.
    My guess is you were catching pollock, also known as pacific pollock, alaskan pollock, and walleye pollock. Pacific tomcod is very similar. I let either of those go, or use them for bait. The meat on both is white, mild in flavor, but quite soft. As others have said, bleed and ice down quickly to preserve what little firmness the meat has. P-cod are a different story. Their meat is light too, but has a nice springy texture if not overcooked. These three fish can be hard to tell apart, particularly when they are small. The barbel on the cod's chin lets you sort them out from the pollock and tom cod. I have never taken the time to differentiate between those two because I use them for halibut and ling cod bait, and they seem equally happy eating either one.

    Big_E

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    I just ate some fresh cod the other day and it was excellant. My wife's trick is to take the skinned fillet and squeeze a bit of lemon on the uncooked fillet. Let sit 30 minutes before cooking. The Lemon firms the meat even more and you get a delectable, flaky fillet that compares to the finest fish anywhere. I am not one to buy into the old " I like the fishy taste, that why I eat such and such fish" I to not like the fishy taste in anything I put in my mouth and the fresh cod do not have that taste !

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    Pacific cod taste just fine, so do pollock. The are pretty easy to distinguish, cod has a "fatter" body and a barbel under it's chin. Both cod and pollock in K-bay will have worms, and the worms don't suddenly migrate out of the stomach. I've also had worms in halibut and ling cod, you just need to look over your fillet and cut them out. They are generally around the stomach area. I did have one pollach that was riddled with worms throughout, so it got recycled.

    Cod is a mild white fish, you can use it for quite a few different dishes. My favorite is to cut skinned fillets into ~1" wide strips, roll into a donut and hold together with a toothpick. Put it on a backing sheet and fill the center of the donut with a micture of cocktail shrimp, sour creme, diced green onion and a bit of lemon juice. Top with parmesian cheese and paprika, and bake till they firm up.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

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  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    My favorite is to cut skinned fillets into ~1" wide strips, roll into a donut and hold together with a toothpick. Put it on a backing sheet and fill the center of the donut with a micture of cocktail shrimp, sour creme, diced green onion and a bit of lemon juice. Top with parmesian cheese and paprika, and bake till they firm up.
    Ah man, you killed me with that! Sounds great, and I haven't eaten breakfast yet.

    We use it a lot in chunks in stir fries, not adding it till the last minute and minimum stirring so it doesn't break up. Best ever is a friend's version of "chicken" ala king, but using cod instead of chicken of course. Holy cow is that ever good over a batch of wide egg noodles. We also use it a lot in cream-style "clam" chowder, subbing cod chunks for clams at the last minute so it won't break up.

    Time for me to go rattle around the kitchen!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Pacific cod taste just fine, so do pollock. The are pretty easy to distinguish, cod has a "fatter" body and a barbel under it's chin. Both cod and pollock in K-bay will have worms, and the worms don't suddenly migrate out of the stomach. I've also had worms in halibut and ling cod, you just need to look over your fillet and cut them out. They are generally around the stomach area. I did have one pollach that was riddled with worms throughout, so it got recycled.

    Cod is a mild white fish, you can use it for quite a few different dishes. My favorite is to cut skinned fillets into ~1" wide strips, roll into a donut and hold together with a toothpick. Put it on a backing sheet and fill the center of the donut with a micture of cocktail shrimp, sour creme, diced green onion and a bit of lemon juice. Top with parmesian cheese and paprika, and bake till they firm up.
    Dang that sounds good, going to give it a go.
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  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    Pacific cod taste just fine, so do pollock. The are pretty easy to distinguish, cod has a "fatter" body and a barbel under it's chin. Both cod and pollock in K-bay will have worms, and the worms don't suddenly migrate out of the stomach. I've also had worms in halibut and ling cod, you just need to look over your fillet and cut them out. They are generally around the stomach area. I did have one pollach that was riddled with worms throughout, so it got recycled.

    Cod is a mild white fish, you can use it for quite a few different dishes. My favorite is to cut skinned fillets into ~1" wide strips, roll into a donut and hold together with a toothpick. Put it on a backing sheet and fill the center of the donut with a micture of cocktail shrimp, sour creme, diced green onion and a bit of lemon juice. Top with parmesian cheese and paprika, and bake till they firm up.
    Oh man does that sound good! I am very sure I was catching cod and not pollock. I was targeting and pretty focused on halibut so I let everything else go. I think I am actually going to start targeting cod and rockfish a little more since I have a smaller boat and can't get out to the better halibut holes these days. Seems like every year we have to go further and further out to get to the decent halibut spots. I know there are some in closer but like everything else... It just ain't like it used to be... Thank you for all the input.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    Last year when we were in K-bay, it seemed the cod were generally taken on the bottom, and the pollock was in 30-40' of water.

    That recipe is easy to make, and if you don't have enough company to share it with, you can hurt yourself on it
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Member Mort's Avatar
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    The number of cod we've caught has dramatically increased over the last 3 years. We keep a bunch, at least until I realize how much work I'm going to have filleting them all. I've also used the heads and bellies for halibut bait. Cod is excellent table fare, you can't believe how beautifully a fresh cod fillet will plump up on the grill that evening.

    One thing I have noticed, they don't seem to last as long in the freezer - tend to dry out more, I think. But I'll keep on keepin' em. They are good in any recipe you might use halibut.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Bernard R. Rosenberg View Post
    How anybody can toss away a fish that retails for $13.99 a pound in Southeastern USA markets is beyond me.
    Cod is worthless.... as is halibut, ling cod or salmon.... to a sport angler. Since I can't sell it, it has zero cash value and therefore a discussion of price is meaningless.

    Why throw it back? Because I choose to fill my freezer with enough worthless halibut, lingcod and salmon to last the winter rather than worthless cod. I guess I could keep more fish than I need, let it freezer burn, and then landfill it in spring. Seems better to throw it back, but what do I know.
    Death is like an old whore in a bar--I'll buy her a drink but I won't go upstairs with her.

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    I just ate some fresh cod the other day and it was excellant. My wife's trick is to take the skinned fillet and squeeze a bit of lemon on the uncooked fillet. Let sit 30 minutes before cooking. The Lemon firms the meat even more and you get a delectable, flaky fillet that compares to the finest fish anywhere. I am not one to buy into the old " I like the fishy taste, that why I eat such and such fish" I to not like the fishy taste in anything I put in my mouth and the fresh cod do not have that taste !

    Sounds like your wife is making ceviche with it, thats how we have made halibut before, pretty good. The lemon cooks it. We're not really cod fans I guess and would rather get halibut, black bass, rock or ling cod but thats just us I guess. There seems to be alot of cod around Kodiak this year, and most people I know are kind of bummed since it does make it harder getting to the bottom for halibut but oh well, thats fishing. It seems like they come in cycles because they have been far and few between for over 10 years, looks like they are on the comeback now.
    I just noticed in the sport fish regs this year they cut the pelagic rockfish to 2 fish a day from 10. Now this kind of bums me out
    because we really like black bass and at 10 a day it was easy to load up and have a different variety of fish all winter long. Have you heard anything about that? I just want to make sure black bass is one of the affected species, as I read it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Unplugged View Post
    Sounds like your wife is making ceviche with it, thats how we have made halibut before, pretty good. The lemon cooks it. We're not really cod fans I guess and would rather get halibut, black bass, rock or ling cod but thats just us I guess. There seems to be alot of cod around Kodiak this year, and most people I know are kind of bummed since it does make it harder getting to the bottom for halibut but oh well, thats fishing. It seems like they come in cycles because they have been far and few between for over 10 years, looks like they are on the comeback now.
    I just noticed in the sport fish regs this year they cut the pelagic rockfish to 2 fish a day from 10. Now this kind of bums me out
    because we really like black bass and at 10 a day it was easy to load up and have a different variety of fish all winter long. Have you heard anything about that? I just want to make sure black bass is one of the affected species, as I read it.
    Actually, the lemon does not cook it. Cooking is a thermal process.

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