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How To Properly Bleed a Halibut – The Complete Guide With Videos

bleeding halibut
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So you have just caught your Halibut; what now? How do you get the best tasting results from this fish? Bleeding the fish first will ensure a cleaner and tastier fish. This may seem a little complicated at the start, so read our easy How To Bleed A Halibut guide to getting started:

Use A Bucket or Newspaper

Bleeding a fish can be a messy job, so the first step to bleeding your Halibut is to do so over a bucket or place a large piece of newspaper over your surfaces, which can soak up the blood and avoid unnecessary mess all over your surfaces. 

This will make the entire process easier and more hygienic and save time by not needing to disinfect the cutting surfaces continuously.

Cut The Fish

There are two different preferred methods of bleeding a fish, and they are in relation to where an incision is made. Making an incision along the fish is where you will bleedOpens in a new tab. the fish from. 

When cutting the fish, you can make an incision along the back of the gills or along the tail. Continue reading below as I discuss the differences between these two methods.

Cut Along The Gills

The most popular albeit slightly messier option of cutting the fish is to cut along the main artery that runs behind the gills of the Halibut. 

This will cause the fish to bleed straight away, so you will know if you have cut the right location if there is a lot of blood loss. 

If the fish doesn’t bleed or there is not much blood flow, try making the incision slightly higher until the blood does start flowing.

Cut Along the Tail

Not as popular of a method but considered to have a less messy process, you can bleed a fish by cutting horizontally across its tail, deep enough to reach the spine. 

Once you have hit the spine, you have gone deep enough. 

This method will give you more control over the blood flow, and the Halibut will bleed from the incision after the next step is completed.

Bend The Tail Or Break The Tail

If you have chosen to cut along the tail, you will then need to bend the tail backward from the cut until you hear a crack. 

This will crack the spine of the fish, and the blood will start pouring from the incision after this is done. 

Be ready by standing over your bucket or newspaper to catch the blood flowing from the incision.

Let The Blood Run Dry

Continue holding the Halibuts tale bent over until the blood stops running or when it has finished bleeding from the artery behind the gills. 

Once this is done, all of the blood has successfully been bled from the fish. 

Pop it into your fish box and continue catching more Halibut! A quick and easy process that yields fantastic results.

Do you want to see it being done before trying it?

This easy-to-follow ‘How To Bleed A Halibut’ youtube video by Captain Zac shows all the steps and correct processes to bleed a Halibut successfully. 

Cut Behind the Gills VS Cutting The Tail

Which method is better?

Cutting a Halibut in either of these positions will bleed out the fish, so both methods are effective. 

If you are looking for less mess and don’t mind the extra step of bending the tailback, cutting the tail is a cleaner process and gives you more control over the blood flow.

If you choose to cut the artery behind the gills instead, the blood will automatically start running very fast, so make sure to be standing over your bucket or newspaper. 

Cutting at the gill is slightly faster and doesn’t require you to bend the tail, so this process might be better if you need to bleed many fishes.

How long does it take to bleed Halibut?

Bleeding a Halibut is a fast process that achieves excellent results but won’t take up too much of your fishing time. Typically, it will only take about 30 seconds for all the blood to be removed from the fish. Once it’s done, you can place it on ice and return to your fishing!

Why Should I Bleed a Halibut?

  • Higher quality meat: One of the biggest benefits of bleeding a fish is that it produces superior meat quality. This is because blood left inside a fish is a breeding ground for bacteria, which will cause degradation of the meat much faster.
  • Superior tasting: Removing all of the blood from a fish results in meat that is superior tasting and superior looking.
  • Limits Lactic Acid Buildup: Lactic Acid build-up in muscles occurs in all animals during intense physical activity or exertion. High amounts of lactic acid in fish can cause the skin to burn more quickly.
  • Ethically better: Bleeding a fish instead of leaving it to suffocate is a faster and much less stressful process for this fish, making it an ethically better option to limit any to the fish during this process.

How Soon Should I Bleed A Halibut?

Ideally, a Halibut should be bled as soon as it is caught or very soon after. Bleeding the fish straight away limits the amount of lactic acid it produces, limits bacteria build, and leads to a tastier and cleaner fish fillet. 

The sooner the fish has bled, the better results you will achieve all around when cooking and eating your Halibut.

Can I Bleed All Fish?

All fish can and should be bled wherever possible to get the maximum benefits out of the fish, but it is particularly beneficial to bleed Oily fish from saltwater.

Is It Worth Bleeding My Halibut?

In conclusion, bleeding a halibut will yield far better results than those who don’t. Lack of bacteria from lingering blood inside the fish and lack of lactic acid build-up due to less stress the fish is under while bleeding all contribute to a generally better looking and tasting fish.

 Bleeding the fish will also make it worth more, even if you do not intend on eating it yourself. Since bleeding your Halibut only takes a minute or two of your time. 

It is recommended for fishermen looking to get the most out of the fishing experience, and the results from the fish caught during a trip!

Zaldy G.

I love feeling the cool ocean spray every time I hit the beach with a rod and a bucket of bait. I love the thrill of feeling bites on my line whenever I hook a big one. And I especially love the pride that comes with cooking a fresh catch and sharing it with my friends and family. Thank you for stopping by. Let's go catch some fish!

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