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  • Worms in halibut

    Took two trips for halibut this past summer and brought back several fish. My wife pulled a package out of the freezer tonight and thawed it for dinner. When going to skin it, there were worms (dead) between the skin and meat, and some more in the meat itself. Anybody else have any experience with this? I assume that if you cook this, you would be ok to eat it, but we tossed it. I am just concerned that we have so much halibut in the freezer that we would have to waste a good portion of it if filled with worms. Any advice would be greatly appreciated.
    Never count your days, but rather, make all of your days count.

  • #2
    I've come across worms in halibut before, but they were only found around the gut cavity meat. Being rather poor at the time, I just cut the worm sections out and looked at the rest of the meat intently. I didn't find it anywhere else. I've come across worms in fish from the Gulf of Mexico before, and they were distributed throughout the entirety of the meat, so I tossed the fish. One species in particular, the black drum, once they attain a certain size, are notorious for tons of worms everywhere.

    On a side note, I was fishing at the end of the Homer spit in June and a number of folks were catching fish that looked like cod (they had brown spots). Every single one had worms in them, but an Asian guy was keeping them, running up and down the beach collecting them as everyone was about to throw them away. I guess he didn't mind worms.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

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    • #3
      'buts and worms

      My experience has been that pretty much every halibut has worms to some extent (after all, look at what they eat...). Other than being not so visually pleasing, I have never found anything wrong with the meat. I just pick out the obvious ones and cook the hidden ones. They seem to be kind of relative to the size of the fish. The big fish have big, easy to see worms. The smaller fish have smaller, and harder to see (lighter color as well as considerably smaller in size) worms. The fish still tastes great to me. (just polished off a batch of halibut chowder yesterday!)
      AKmud
      sigpic


      The porcupine is a peaceful animal yet God still thought it necessary to give him quills....

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      • #4
        Butt worms

        That's been my experience too, that all bottom feeders have worms. Oh, well, what's a little extra protein, more or less.

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        • #5
          Worms?

          Just two words: extra protein. As long as the fish is well cooked, fish with parasites is safe to eat. Now that would not be the case if you were smoking the fish. Gotta bea careful there, and freezing it first is a good idea.

          Highly unusual to find worms between the meat and the skin though...

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          • #6
            Pretty common in most fish. Cooking kills thems.

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            • #7
              All Halibut have worms (but don't tell my wife) on a healthy fish they will only be near the gut meat. Some guides fillet the area over guts, I stop just short and dozen of times a year I get questioned on why I'm leaving that meat, some people learn more than they want to know about eating fish. Those fish in the previous post were Walleye pollack and they are filled with worms, all of them! I cut them up for Halibut bait, trawlers catch them to turn into surime (Fake Crab, fish sticks etc.) On some fish age has no bearing on if it will have worms, Halibut and True Cod are good examples, but it does lean to older fish having worms, but I've filleted 30 lb Cod that were worm free and 10 lb fish full of em. If you have eated at Skippers then you have ate plenty of worms (I was just there 3 weeks ago, Excellent fish).
              Frank
              Alaska Wildrose Charters and Cabins
              www.wildroselodge.com

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              • #8
                Worms

                I was told that the worms are in the stomach while the fish is living. Once it is dead it leaves the stomach and gets into the meat. I always remove the guts or fillet the fish within an hour of the catch. I have not noticed any worms. They are probably there I just try not to look.

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by AKTroy View Post
                  I was told that the worms are in the stomach while the fish is living. Once it is dead it leaves the stomach and gets into the meat.
                  100% correct. If you cut the stomach open you will see worms inside allot of times.

                  Look at it this way cook them it kills them and you get extra protien
                  Living the Alaskan Dream
                  Gary Keller
                  Anchorage, AK

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                  • #10
                    removing worms......

                    Bigger (older) fish usually have more worm. I take my halibut fillets and toss them in a big bowl of cold (fresh) water if I see a few worms. Let it sit for half hour and most will leave the flesh and lay in the bottom of the bowl. Try it. It works. They must not like the fresh water (?).
                    Your sarcasm is way, waaaayyyyyyyy more sarcastic than mine! :whistle:
                    WWG1WGA! QANON

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                    • #11
                      Fact of life. For all fish and most mammals for that matter, whether you can see them or not.

                      We always skin before freezing, then hold the pieces up to a bright light. You can see them in halibut, cod, etc, and just pick them out with the knife point. That's standard in fish processing plant too, BTW.

                      Sure better to get it done before your cook, or worse, your dinner guest, discovers them. On behalf of the guests, I always double check with a bright light after thawing, too.
                      "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                      Merle Haggard

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                      • #12
                        You definately get worms in halibut on occasion, other fish more often. Cleaning them fast help, and whatever does get in the meat you can catch by "candling" the fish... thats the name for the process of checking the fish for worms over a bright light.

                        The processors just candle fish to get the worms out before the consumer sees them for store bought fish.

                        One of the best things about hunting or fishing for your own meat is that you learn the real processes and what is in what you eat... If you just shopped at the grocery store you may never know.

                        How many people eat burgers and steaks and have no idea how to process an animal, or what it is like to bleed, skin, and bone a big animal like a deer, moose, elk, or cow.

                        Its not always pretty... but it sure is better.
                        Alaska Fishing Forums : They are my addiction!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Alaska Gray View Post
                          100% correct. If you cut the stomach open you will see worms inside allot of times.

                          Look at it this way cook them it kills them and you get extra protien
                          Mind me asking how you know this? I find it hard to follow how the worms aren't in the meat at the time we catch them but in the stomach and then migrate to the meat. No offense intended as I'm just curious.
                          sigpic

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                          • #14
                            I don't remember if it was a previous thread on this topic or somewhere else that I read it but from what I understand, being frozen for 48 hours or cooked well kills the worms. I've only noticed worms once in a fillet of halibut, I just picked out the ones I could see then cooked the fish like normal. Last year on the charter I went on, buddy got a very large Ling-cod, when it was filleted up its stomach was full of worms. It's a bit disturbing but shrug nothing you can really do about it, just pick em out of the meat.

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                            • #15
                              Here's an old joke among scientists you might not have heard:

                              You know how you can spot a parasitologist?

                              They're the people who wash their hands BEFORE they go to the bathroom.
                              "Lay in the weeds and wait, and when you get your chance to say something, say something good."
                              Merle Haggard

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