Halibut Size FAQ
There is no other fish that tastes quite as good as a fresh caught halibut in my book. I have several recipes that I like and cook often. One of my favorites is cubed or stripped and then battered, and deep-fried. There just isn’t anything quite like it.
The meat on a halibut is a very firm, white meat. When it cooks, it turns snow-white. It doesn’t have a real strong fishy taste like some other species do.
Halibut is normally filleted in quarters. The fish is laid out on the dock. A slice is made right down the center line. The fillet is then removed on each side of this cut. The fish is then flipped over and the same process is followed on the other side, giving you 4 “quarters”. One side will be a little bit shorter to account for the stomach cavity on the front end of the fillet. The size of the fillets varies greatly depending on the size of the fish, of course, but generally they will be 4 to 8 inches wide and 20 to 30 inches long and 1 to 4 inches thick.
There is lots of debate among fishermen as to what is the best size of fish for eating. Personally, I haven’t noticed any real difference in taste. The size and thickness of the fillets is a noticeable difference, and depending on the intended use of the fish, size could matter. However, if the fish is to be battered and fried, my preference is to cut it down to strips anyway. If the fillets are to be cooked whole, medium-sized fish may make a more convenient sized fillet but there again, they can be cut down if necessary. Really large fish can have a fillet up to 4 inches thick that may be difficult to use but I have handled those by cutting “steaks” off of the end, similar to cutting a loin steak off of an animal. It works pretty well actually. They can be cut to any thickness desired.
Halibut obviously can be a difficult fish to weigh without proper equipment and space (and heavily muscled help). Most guides will be equipped to handle actual weights but it is also very common to use a halibut length-weight chart. The Pacific Halibut Commission did lots of research on the subject and finally came up with a chart that is amazingly accurate. I will include a copy of it below and will also add it to my Halibut Fishing page.
I am also going to attach a digital copy (pdf) of a brochure that I ran across some time back. I am not sure where I got this from but obviously it originally came from the Alaska Dept of Fish and Game although I currently can not find it on their site. It has lots of interesting info about the mighty halibut. Feel free to browse it through or even print a copy.
Overall, the mighty halibut is my favorite to eat out of all of the Alaskan fish species. Maybe it is time to add a recipes page to the website. Look for it soon.