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  • Halibut processing on longer trips

    I've always had to keep the fillets whole with a little piece skin attached. I'd freeze up the whole fillets with wax paper in between so I could get them apart later and chop them up into package size pieces when I got to shore. I called the feds to see if there was anyway I could package them in smaller packages while on the water. He said no that they had to be in whole fillets, but he said what he does is score the fillets into the desired size so that he can break them up and vacuum pack them when he gets home. I'm sure a lot of people do this, but I'm kinda slow on the uptick so I thought I'd share.

  • #2
    Great idea. Not everybody has access to a meat saw, and thawing the fillets to cut them down to meal portions and then re-freezing really degrades the quality of the fish.

    Big_E

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    • #3
      You can only keep one possession limit of Halibut while out on the Salt. 2 days worth. They'll gitcha if you keep more. Even if frozen.

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      • #4
        I have always had a big problem with AKF&G treatment of boats than can stay out a few days and truly enjoy the Alaskan experience.

        This is what I do and have not gone to jail yet.

        I filet the first days catch into whole filets then cut those pieces so that they can fit into gallon Ziplock bags. In a seperate bag I keep all full skins of the filets, after that, as I have said I then cut the actual filet into portions that actually fit into the gallon Ziplock bags. With the entire skin you can, at the docks reassemble the clean food on to the slimy and dirty skin (Rockfish especially) and show AKF&G that your catch was legal. I also use the I-pod to photo all filets before the dissassembly. The photos have a date time stamp in properties, cant be disputed in court.

        The thing that AKDF&G does not understand is that the harvest is to eat and meat on meat is way better than meat on skin with either Halibut or rockfish, slime bacteria and other nasty stuff ....... what I do creates leagaly something called Reasonable Doubt in the mind of the judge or jurry .....

        Never been tested on this one, all of the F&G guys I have meet understood and "let me off the hook"

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        • #5
          Originally posted by ocnfish View Post
          I have always had a big problem with AKF&G treatment of boats than can stay out a few days and truly enjoy the Alaskan experience.

          This is what I do and have not gone to jail yet.

          I filet the first days catch into whole filets then cut those pieces so that they can fit into gallon Ziplock bags. In a seperate bag I keep all full skins of the filets, after that, as I have said I then cut the actual filet into portions that actually fit into the gallon Ziplock bags. With the entire skin you can, at the docks reassemble the clean food on to the slimy and dirty skin (Rockfish especially) and show AKF&G that your catch was legal. I also use the I-pod to photo all filets before the dissassembly. The photos have a date time stamp in properties, cant be disputed in court.

          The thing that AKDF&G does not understand is that the harvest is to eat and meat on meat is way better than meat on skin with either Halibut or rockfish, slime bacteria and other nasty stuff ....... what I do creates leagaly something called Reasonable Doubt in the mind of the judge or jurry .....

          Never been tested on this one, all of the F&G guys I have meet understood and "let me off the hook"
          It is not Fish and Game it is NOAA Fisheries Enforcement now on the Halibut and you will get a ticket if you do that and you get caught. The best thing to do is clean the fish commercially and pack them in ice.
          All the logic in the world doesn't help if you break the law. I asked about this a hundred different ways.
          I think the bottom line is that there is nothing wrong with staying out longer and enjoying the "Alaskan Experience" just don't keep too many fish and you can still enjoy it. The law is very clear that you have to keep the fillets whole and not take the skin off until you process it.

          So if you take the skin off, you have broken the law and in Seward, our enforcement is all about the letter of the law. do I agree with that…no I think you are doing everything to you can to active your personal objective and be responsible but you will get a ticket and if you go to court, there will be no doubt that you broke the law….

          Just saying, I have gotten my share of tickets for a lot less than that…
          www.graylightalaska.com
          http://www.saltwatersportsman.com/ga...arter-captains
          (800)566-3912

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          • #6
            I agree with the NOAA regs. Whole fillet, skin on. Any other way, and people will be abusing and skirting the limits on a finite resource. The daily limits and the possession limits are extremely generous for the private boater. As AK capt mentioned, clean em commercially, and pack them in ice in a tote. They'll last 5 days just fine that way.
            Alaska Wide Open Charters
            www.alaskawideopen.com
            907-965-0130

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            • #7
              OK dumb question here. How do you clean them commercially? Just gut them or what?
              27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
              Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle Pro Staff
              Heavy Hitter Fishing Crew
              MMSI# 338232859

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Rob B View Post
                OK dumb question here. How do you clean them commercially? Just gut them or what?
                On commercial boats they remove the entrails ( guts) and gonads - they are deep in the cavity and the bloodline. The also scrape out the small meat around the spine. So you end up with the head on and no gills, or guts of any kind. It is pretty easy but tough if you have limited space. You can even remove the head.
                Bottom line is that the meat is preserved much better if you keep it in tack and cool it down. Once you open it up and fillet it, unless you do a very , very thourgh job of rinsing the meat, it is going to be exposed to bacteria on the skin that we see as slime. Once you get back to the dock you can keep the meat much cleaner because you have more room to clean it.
                www.graylightalaska.com
                http://www.saltwatersportsman.com/ga...arter-captains
                (800)566-3912

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                • #9
                  Ok. Thanks for the info. Good to know since we are planning a couple longer trips out on PWS this summer.
                  27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
                  Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle Pro Staff
                  Heavy Hitter Fishing Crew
                  MMSI# 338232859

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                  • #10
                    We carry a suction vacuum packer. Cut the Halibut into the four fillets with skin on, wash very well to try to remove the slime, then roll out a bag long enough to take the whole fillet, we carry 8" and 11" rolls. We vacuum pack the whole fillet and put it in the freezer. With two of us four halibut could be all we want for the year. Two years ago three halibut gave us what we wanted for the year. When we get home we take the fillet out of the bag cut it into portions and re-seal it into smaller bags. This allows us to stay out a week or ten days and keep our fish in good shape. After four halibut we target something else or go for hikes, etc..

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                    • #11
                      One more thing the poster I saw the other day at the harbor indicated you need to save the cheeks also. Not sure this is true but we do anyway.

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                      • #12
                        Are you required to leave the whole skin on or just a piece large enough to identify which side of the fish it came from?

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Bullelkklr View Post
                          Are you required to leave the whole skin on or just a piece large enough to identify which side of the fish it came from?
                          Here is a link to the NOAA halibut reg summary for sport caught halibut: http://alaskafisheries.noaa.gov/sust...regsummary.htm

                          It only states "...with skin on all pieces". This doesn't seem to state how much skin on each piece though. Before I tried only leaving a small part, I would suggest contacting NOAA directly and verifying the rules.

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                          • #14
                            Just called Bob at NOAA in Juneau and he said just a small piece of skin naturally attached to each fillet is fine.

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                            • #15
                              Thanks for the info Kbarnes.
                              27' Wooldridge Super Sport Offshore Pilothouse PRIME TIME!
                              Kodiak Custom Fishing Tackle Pro Staff
                              Heavy Hitter Fishing Crew
                              MMSI# 338232859

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