This article is brought to you by Man Therapy
Buckle up, because you’re about to learn everything you never knew you needed to know about halibut.
After catching my first halibut recently and seeing this strangely beautiful fish up close for the first time, I needed to know more about it. Those flat, diamond-shaped bodies, beautifully white on one side and a perfect blend of camouflage on the other, with both of their eyes on the upper side of their body were fascinating to me. Are they born like this? Or do they adapt to their surroundings? Well, I needed to find out!
As it turns out, they’re not born like that at all. Halibut larvae actually start life in an upright position like any other other fish, with an eye on each side of its head. The left eye then migrates to the right side of the head when the larvae are about one inch long because as they grow, the bones on the left side of the skull grow significantly faster than on the right side, so the left eye and nostril slowly migrate to the right side therefore causing them to swim sideways.
Those wonky eyes really are a face only a mother can love – which is ironic because they aren’t even raised by their mothers.
Female halibut release anywhere from 500,000 to 4 million eggs depending on the size of the fish and scientists believe females release their eggs in batches over several days during the spawning season which is from November through March, typically at depths of 300 to 1,500 feet. Those eggs are then fertilized externally by the males. External fertilization means, both eggs and sperm are released into the water and after the sperm reaches the egg, fertilization takes place. Those fertilized eggs then hatch after 12 to 20 days, depending on water temperature. The larvae will then slowly float close to the surface, where they remain for about 6 months feeding on zooplankton until they reach their adult form and settle to the bottom in shallow water.
Once at the bottom, the juvenile halibut will begin feeding on small crustaceans and other organisms that live on the seafloor until they reach adulthood when they become more aggressive and prey on a variety of groundfish, sculpins, sand lance, herring, octopus, crabs, clams, and even smaller Pacific halibut.
And all of that feeding makes for some really big fish! Pacific halibut are one of the largest flatfish in existence and can weigh up to 500 pounds and grow to more than 8 feet long. With the females being the larger of the two sexes. The largest halibut ever caught on record is a Pacific halibut caught by Jack Tragis off Dutch Harbor, Alaska, in June 1996 weighing in at a whopping 459 pounds – now that’s a lot of fish and chips!
Halibut live to be relatively old too, with the oldest halibut ever recorded being 55 years old. However, the average lifespan is generally between 25 to 30 years old. Halibut are strong swimmers and are able to migrate long distances over their lifetime, this gives the meat a firm and dense texture. Definitely a favorite among us fish eaters!
Like most fish, halibut is a high-quality source of protein and selenium, a powerful antioxidant that helps our bodies repair damaged cells and aids in decreasing inflammation. Halibut’s power-packed nutrients, including omega-3 fatty acids, niacin and magnesium, also help fight heart disease.
So as you’re whipping up a batch up these Spicy Pickle Halibut Bites, although deep fried, know that you’re doing your body some good with all of those power-packed nutrients.
This recipe will feed two hungry people, but I successfully doubled it to feed my family of five.
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Looking for more halibut recipes? Why not try this Pan Roasted Halibut Over Wild Mushroom Risotto?
Try our Delicious Wild Fish and Game Spice Blends!