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Old 05-02-2009, 06:10 PM   #1
LQQKASTAR
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Default How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Right now I'm talking about A hallibut, but would like to here what you say about tuna aswell.

I caught A hali Friday, bled it and iced it in the boat. got to shore put it in cooler with plenty of ice. but didnt clean it till this afternoon, it seemed somewhat slimey and A little discolored.

the meet cut perfect,snow white,firm and smelled great.

one of reason's I really ask is that I thought about letting it go another day before cleaning it, but I got her done!

most types of fish I catch including tuna, I at least take the guts out imeaditaly(sp), but not so with hali. or sturgeon.

I know ASAP is better.

your thoughts?

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Old 05-02-2009, 09:24 PM   #2
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I would clean it sooner than later. We all want to put it off, and I am no different. The water takes a lot out of us, but we owe it to Mother Nature to take care of our bounty. That means making time to take care of it promptly, limiting waste. Just my
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:31 PM   #3
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Drop it off my house. Ill be happy to clean it for me. Ha Ha no clean it ASAP.
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:55 PM   #4
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I've never had a problem waiting a day with Halibut as long as it's well iced and not sitting in water. Halibut seem to be exceptionaly slimy for some reason. So that part is normal.
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Old 05-02-2009, 09:59 PM   #5
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

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Originally Posted by PoiToy View Post
I would clean it sooner than later. We all want to put it off, and I am no different. The water takes a lot out of us, but we owe it to Mother Nature to take care of our bounty. That means making time to take care of it promptly, limiting waste. Just my
what waste?
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Old 05-02-2009, 10:16 PM   #6
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Wait a few more days and feed it t your in-laws
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:11 AM   #7
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Bleed and clean asap. Why chance having stomach worms migrate or an "off" taste from gonads or guts left inside for a few minutes work.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:16 AM   #8
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I have let them sit in ice for 2 days with out any problems.
And as long as the are well bleed out and fully covered with ice.
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:25 AM   #9
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I would cut the section that holds the guts out if i was not going to fillet it right away and keep it on ice. Not sure but isnt that what commercial guy's do?
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Old 05-03-2009, 10:39 AM   #10
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

We have some halibut from last september vacuum sealed in the freezer. Some of it when we thaw it then rinse and cook has this terrible stench taste, it's horific, and I've never had this happen before. Some of it still has skin on the back side, some does not, messed up somewhere.
Any Suggestions??????????

Don't mean to hijack, thought this would apply with original thread.

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Old 05-03-2009, 10:48 AM   #11
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

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Originally Posted by bigslab2 View Post
We have some halibut from last september vacuum sealed in the freezer. Some of it when we thaw it then rinse and cook has this terrible stench taste, it's horific, and I've never had this happen before. Some of it still has skin on the back side, some does not, messed up somewhere.
Any Suggestions??????????

Don't mean to hijack, thought this would apply with original thread.

Thanks, Ron
It almost sounds like your foul fish might have been an arrow tooth flounder. They can look a lot like a halibut, but are very poor table fare.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:11 PM   #12
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It almost sounds like your foul fish might have been an arrow tooth flounder. They can look a lot like a halibut, but are very poor table fare.
No Man, They were Halibut. I screwed up some where.
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Old 05-03-2009, 12:36 PM   #13
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

bleed and gut them and you can keep them on ice several days. The same is true for Tuna and other game fish. The key is gut removal (and gills) and early bleeding. Commercials used to keep them up to 3 days on ice (trips) and they were still considered fresh! No I believe that all halibut is frozen for health safety All that said, I would not let processing much past rigor release.
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Old 05-03-2009, 03:41 PM   #14
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Bigslab, if there is skin on the fillets that's where the stench is likely coming from. Halibut skin stinks pretty bad.
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Old 05-03-2009, 09:38 PM   #15
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

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Bigslab, if there is skin on the fillets that's where the stench is likely coming from. Halibut skin stinks pretty bad.
This year I'm bleeding them out ASAP, all skin will be gone, any discolor will also be gone, and all fillets will be rinsed and treated like fine wine.

I can't believe I allowed this to happen, I'm ashamed. I should walk the plank, ARGH !
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:30 AM   #16
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I commercial halibut fished out of alaska for years , and the seasons in the early 80s were open for a week. Noone came in until the boat was loaded. You just have to gut immediately and put ice in the cavity and on outside of fish. These fish were in the hold on ice for up to one and a half weeks.
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Old 05-04-2009, 05:54 AM   #17
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I comercial fished salmon for a year and my boss told me that as soon as a fish dies, its gut lining stops producing mucas and the acid can then pass through the gut's wall and eat at the belly meat. He called this belly burn and it significantly decreased the value of a dressed fish. He also said that fish heavily feeding or with food in its belly are much more likely to belly burn than one with an empty stomach. On his boat, a fish was gutted virtually immidiately unless things got too busy.
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Old 05-04-2009, 08:42 AM   #18
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Tuna carks nicely after being iced overnight.
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Old 05-04-2009, 10:16 AM   #19
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With tuna, our best results have been to spike, bleed and gut immediately before it goes in the salt/ice slurry. But then leave on ice for 2-3 days before carking. Just make sure you drain your chests and put new ice in each day. I think the fish is signifantly colder than when you do it back at the dock. The belly fat is not as much of a mess, and you get to avoid the long line at the cleaning station. Of course sometimes I do miss swapping the war stories with the other dogs. Freakwater is the one who first turned us on to this.
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Old 05-05-2009, 10:56 AM   #20
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I am not an expert (surprise surprise considering some of my posts), but I am a little experienced with halibut. Keep them cool, but clean them same day as soon as you come in. By clean I mean Fillet them out.

In most states and provinces, you have to keep the skin on to ID the fish. Do that ONLY until you are ready to package the fish for freezing. If you are going to freeze halibut, fillet the meat off the skin. Remove any brown or tan meat (fat or worms) so you are only freezing WHITE meat. I will usually place my halibut on wax paper on a cookie sheet and let it sit in a freezer for about an hour. this will help to solidify some of the liquid within the meat. I them put the halibut steaks into a vacuum bag for sealing.

After I seal the hali steaks, I put them in the fridge for an hour or so and check for sealing. If bag is sealed well, I go ahead and put them in the freezer. If there is any sign of a leaking seal (moisture in the seal) I will run them thru the vacuum packer again. You may have to replace a faulty bag if too wet.

A well packaged halibut fillet will last a couple of years in the freezer.

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Old 05-05-2009, 11:41 AM   #21
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

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I believe that all halibut is frozen for health safety
never thought about that? is it bad to eat fresh hallibut (never frozen)?
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Old 05-05-2009, 12:23 PM   #22
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

My rules for halibut.

#1: Keep it cold. If it ever gets warm it will loose texture and be mushy.

#2: Keep water, slime, guts ect... off the meat. It rinses out and also absorbs stuff easily. Cleanliness is all important.

I fillet when I hit the dock, bag the fillets and get them on ice.

Gutted and kept on ice would be ok for a few days if you had to. Best you could hope for then would be store bought quality fish though.

I would never freeze halibut with the skin on. It goes against rule #2 and the slime on the skin in the package would pretty well guaranty and fishy cut of meat.
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:04 PM   #23
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

"never thought about that? is it bad to eat fresh hallibut (never frozen)? "

NO!!! It is at its very best (for flavor) before it is ever frozen. The health concerns the government have are that they don't control the time between catch and sale and the conditions the fish is stored in....we do! See other post on the time fish is stored on commercial boats to get an idea. Freezing is a frequent method to try and insure fish is not a risk for the consumer.
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:31 PM   #24
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Quote:
Originally Posted by LQQKASTAR View Post
Right now I'm talking about A hallibut, but would like to here what you say about tuna aswell.

I caught A hali Friday, bled it and iced it in the boat. got to shore put it in cooler with plenty of ice. but didnt clean it till this afternoon, it seemed somewhat slimey and A little discolored.

the meet cut perfect,snow white,firm and smelled great.

I am not sure if this what you have encountered, but is in line with the topic. I found this on an Alaska fish biology web site.


" What is "chalky" halibut?
It is not a health hazard. The flesh of chalky halibut is a bright, opaque white color, rather than translucent like normal flesh. When cooked, chalky halibut is drier, but has acceptable flavor and higher oil and protein content.
Chalkiness is rarely visible when the fish is boated but develops over a period of hours. It is caused by a buildup of lactic acid, which reduces the ability of flesh to retain water. Important factors may include exhaustion, water or air temperature, and handling. Chalkiness is also more prevalent in August. Overall occurrence in Alaska is about 5%.
To minimize chalkiness, kill and ice your fish promptly upon landing. "

I ALLWAYS BLEED and ICE ALL fish as soon as we catch them and take the time to care for them when we hit the dock.

Peace, Tom
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Old 05-05-2009, 01:36 PM   #25
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"never thought about that? is it bad to eat fresh hallibut (never frozen)? "

NO!!! It is at its very best (for flavor) before it is ever frozen. The health concerns the government have are that they don't control the time between catch and sale and the conditions the fish is stored in....we do! See other post on the time fish is stored on commercial boats to get an idea. Freezing is a frequent method to try and insure fish is not a risk for the consumer.
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Old 05-06-2009, 05:07 AM   #26
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Halibut skin will wreck the meat. It smells bad. I think the slime will too but I will never know because I scrape it off before the filet show. I have never understood the idea of 'steaking' halibut and then freezing the chunks skin and all.

According to a former member of this forum who spent some time in Alaska ... removing the glands from the body cavity is the key to limiting spoilage in stored whole fish. Any fish stored on ice was bled, gutted and care taken to remove those glands. They always looked like roe to me and there is a pair of them. Blood spoils pretty quickly and improperly bled fish will suffer in appearance and taste.

We almost always find time to clean fish as soon as we hit the ramp. Even the larger piles on TUNA! days in July. Gutted and gilled TUNA! can be iced over night and are actually easier to filet when super cold.
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Old 05-06-2009, 06:28 AM   #27
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When i was commercial halibut fishing out of kodiak 73- 83 all fish delivered were inspected by the buyer at the cannery.Still will never be as fresh as sport caught, but almost. The trick on the commercial boats is to get the guts out IMMEDIATELY. I was the butcher and the fish were still flopping when i threw the guts over my shoulder. Gills go too , and all you have left is iced immediately. I was told the sex organs would ruin the meat in hours, but its hard to gut them sport fishing as the room is limited. We used to take a small one (60 lbs) and have a feed for the crew after two weeks out, and it still flaked in the frying pan as our cook spatulad it out. Halibut CANT get warm. Only a lil more than a week till........ I can taste it! Cmon weather gods
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Old 05-06-2009, 08:02 AM   #28
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I read in another post (somewhere) not to rinse your processed meat in fresh water. They should only see fresh water just before hitting the grill or pan. A guy I work with did 14 years in Alaska commercial fishing so I figured he would be the one to ask. Guts, gills, nads and packed in ice ASAP. When you process the catch do not rinse with fresh water (more then likely chlorinated, this dries out the meat when frozen). Rinse with the water they have lived in if possible and then pack and freeze. If they need rinsed further do it just before cooking.

Another thing he mentioned was about Halibut specifically. Most have worms that live in the stomach and intestines. It's imperative to get them cooled out as quickly as possible before the worms figure out something is not right with their home and migrate into the meat.

He went into more detail but I condensed it down the way I understood it. If I misinterpreted anything I would like to know about it.

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Old 05-06-2009, 04:23 PM   #29
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I've never found worms in halibut meat other than around the rib cage. The first time I caught a big halibut was near Juneau when I lived there. I thought the long brown things were veins but I pulled one out and placed it on the counter where it started wriggling. I never keep the meat around the ribs.

As far as freezing them goes I cut off any brown and I never freeze them with the skin on. The commercial guys I knew in Alaska always told me that when you bring a halibut on board and are going to have him for any time be sure to turn them color side down. You may take that for what it's worth to you.

When thawing halibut it's an old Alaskan trick to thaw them in milk. You can used powdered reconstituted milk if you want but the milk takes a lot of any fishy taste out of them. I usually put the fillets in a stainless steel bowl and then pour milk in thinning it with clean water. It works for me.

IMO there is nothing in the world better than fresh caught halibut.
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Old 05-06-2009, 07:12 PM   #30
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Don't worry too much about the parasites found in fish.

I mentioned that I like salmon better than bottom fish because salmon don't have parasites, to a meat inspector that had handed me a piece of smoked salmon once. He told me, "I bet that in less than 30 seconds I could find a parasite in that piece of salmon your eating." I lost the bet! The same type that were in the bottom fish I was familiar with. He told me that all fish have parasites and that cooking them or deep freezing them would kill them anyway. It bothered me a long time. When this happened I didn't know that he was a meat inspector.

One other thing he asked me was if I ate beef, which I replied yes. He said that there were 10 times the parasites in beef as in fish. He then asked me if I ate pork, which I replied yes. He said that there were 10 times the parasites in pork as in beef.

Bottom line: I still eat fish, beef and pork. Pork - well done. Beef - rare. Fish - 120 to 140 degrees and wait a minute, I like sushi also. Our systems can digest most of those parasites anyway. Some in pork can be a problem so well done it is.

Hope I didn't ruin anyones day.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:17 AM   #31
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I have never seen A worm in A fish and hope I never do.

I think most foods taste better if you dont think there are worms in it!
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:44 AM   #32
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

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I have never seen A worm in A fish and hope I never do.

I think most foods taste better if you dont think there are worms in it!

Jack, What is the big deal ?
Worms/parasites are just a little extra protien

With bottom fish I hold the fillet up to the light and it is easy to spot the worms and I just pluck them out of the meat but if I miss one it isn't any big deal
All bottom fish is fully cooked
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Old 05-07-2009, 08:00 AM   #33
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Jack, What is the big deal ?
Worms/parasites are just a little extra protien

With bottom fish I hold the fillet up to the light and it is easy to spot the worms and I just pluck them out of the meat but if I miss one it isn't any big deal
All bottom fish is fully cooked
No big deal, I just prefer not to think about worms in my food, that sounds reasonable dosent it? I allways have and will continue to enjoy my fish, just dont think I will be holding it up to the light so I know as A fact i'm eating worms.


Just like McDonalds, I'm sure some some kid is back there flipping bugers and dripping sweat on the grill, that dosent bother me.....untill I see him do it!!!
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Old 05-07-2009, 06:03 PM   #34
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

I have caught fish from Alaska to Cuba to as far west as the Pacific goes and they all had worms. Not big on eating them by themselves, but even Mama Bear now just picks them out when she finds them and eats the ones she misses. What is is.

As far as the reason behind this thread goes, at least bleed, gut and gill when they hit the deck, then get them on ice soon thereafter. The exception is tuna that personally after the bleed-gut etc. I like to keep in a slurry until they make your hands hurt when you clean them . We eat fish at least four times a week and I don't like it tasting like fish smells.
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Old 05-07-2009, 07:08 PM   #35
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Default Re: How long can I wait before cleaning A fish?

Jack, I read this post today 5/7, and thought buddy, what the heck are you thinking, 6 days??? Then I realized you posted this on Saturday, phew. Still, I think fish should always be bleed, and gutted same day. Most will hold well on ice for at least a day, especially shaved ice, and if you keep enough ice under the fish to hold it above the water and blood in the bottom of your cooler or kill bag. For example I think that tuna bledd, gutted, and slurred and then packed in ice carks better the following day, and has no decrease in quality.

Parasites.....Do we have to talk about this, I just threw up a little.... Yes, there are parasites in fish. It seems to me that the main place I see then is aling the spin, usually lower half close to the guts. My assumption is that they migrate out of the stomach as they mature, but don't know that for sure. I've seen them in vitually every salt water fish, but the worst, imo, are the black bass and other rockfish. Seems like every fillet has them if you look closely. I tend to ignore them when cleaning fish, and take a good look before cooking at it thaws.

Puffins Crew, interesting information on chalking halibut!
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