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Is barracuda safe to eat?

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Youngfisherman View Drop Down
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    Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:01am
Well just got back from my "kahawai" trip..no luck at all only a barracuda about 60-70cm long....I brought it home because ive never eaten one before..but i searched up a how to cook it and it came up with "barracuda may carry toins from eating reef fish and so on"..does this apply to NZ?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Capt Asparagus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:13am
No, that would be referring to ciguatera etc in tropical barracuda, a different species from our own.
The only thing you need worry about with our couttas is the worms that infest them. I tihnk if you whip the fillets off them straight away, avoid the gut cavity and backbone, this is not such a problem...so I have been told anyhow, but I have never opened up a coutta yet that did not have worms right thru the flesh, so wadda I know? :-)
However, they are certainly ebible, in fact I think they are a popular table fish for the jaapies... oops, sorry, South Africans... :-) Feel free to correct me on this.

Actually, the tropical barracuda is also a popular eating fish in the islands as well, it is the main fish for the fijian "kokoda" (raw fish in coconut milk and lemon juice etc), and in the Sollies, you are a top bloke if you give a local a cuda you have caught.
Specimen shots of both fish...ummm....

Kiwi barracoutta....


tropical barracuda.
 Note the diff spelling.

cheers,
Stu.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Youngfisherman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:16am
Ok thanks heaps i didnt gut it just fillted it thanks.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Capt Asparagus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:28am
Look for white filament or tubes in the fillet...especially moving white tubes... thems the worms. I suppose cooking will kill em, but still....eeeuuwww....
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Damo Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:57am

Few anglers will actually cook and eat a barracouta – or at least few will admit to doing so! There are several reason for this. Firstly they are difficult to fillet without ending up with large numbers of small bones left in the fillet. Secondly they are often found to have long white parasitic worms imbedded though their flesh. Which although not poisonous, at least not when cooked, they are enough to put anyone off eating them. Possibly a third reason anglers cast barracouta aside is their somewhat ugly appearance. Provided they are free of the parasites they are in fact very good eating. They are particularly good smoked.

The old time Maori, who called barracouta Manga, caught and dried them in huge numbers. They were caught from canoes with a wooden lure that was thrashed on the surface of the sea. Ashore they were dried on racks, where possible in caves, to be stored for later use.



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote dirtyharry Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 1:01pm
I don't eat coutties but the fillets go nicely thru the mincer and make good berley when mixed with tuna oil.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seadoc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 1:21pm
Some very sound advice and info from CA and Damo! Barracoutta is called "Snoek" in South-Africa, apparently named so because it reminded the old Dutch of the European Pike or "Snoek" in Dutch. It is indeed seen as a delicacy in SA and is popular smoked and cooked over the glowing embers of vine stumps, often basked with apricot jam! One of my Kiwi mates says it must be the jam that makes it edible!!

The worms tend to infest the older fish, and is harmless to humans, but I agree, will put me off eating them. I normally take the fillets off straight after catching them and only keep the non-infested fillets for the smoker. You always end up with large fishbones in the fillet but they are easily removed before eating because they are so long.

Smoked coutta really is very tasty, up there with anything else I have smoked ! If you google "smoked snoek" or "snoek recipes" you will probably come up with quite a few suggestions.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Capt Asparagus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 2:20pm
The bones under the skin in the barracoutta are the same as those you get in Gemfish... often the two fish get confused, but the gemfish are a much stouter fish, usually hauled out of deep water. Excellent when smoked, and usually free of the worms.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Youngfisherman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 4:37pm
this one had no worms..I think and hope its all clean wasnt a biggy and didnt even put up a fight unless thats normal haha
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Catchelot Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 5:39pm
Yes Coutta - NZ, Couda - tropical.

Yes you can eat NZ coutta, they all have a parasitic worm in their stomach which when they die leaves the stomach lining and enters around the backbone and into the flesh.

If you are keen on eating one, gut them as soon as possible and then the flesh is ok or non-wormed.

I smoked one once and well...even the dog wouldn't eat it! :))

Yes lots of bones through out the flesh, a top recipe is to put one in a pot with a tons of herbs and spices and a stone, boil it up, throw out he coutta and eat the stone. :))

Seriously I have tried and found them awful.

Better to fillet off and use as bait, particularly for hapuka/groper, crayfish pots or berley.


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote herby Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 6:01pm
A well known spearo filmed a tropical 'cuda at the Mercs earlier this year. Shocked
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote whiti-fisho Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 6:11pm
The wife and I had cudda in the Solomons last year and it was bloody delicious,cant bring myself to try the NZ version tho would rather turn it into Puka ,they love it
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bluecoraldiver Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 6:21pm
I once took some smoked 'snoek' Coutta to some very sceptical work mates and they loved it. In fact the plate of fish was cleaned by the end of the day. Even the Brits ate it ;) It's one of the best tasting when smoked, in my opinion. I'd rather have smoked Coutta than smoked Snapper.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote kinglbg Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 6:34pm
I found they have worked well in the past as bait for snapper as i
remeber running out of bait at kawu and used that wormy crap for bait and got 21pouder good stuff in my book
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote bazza Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 7:53pm
Is there any particular reason barracouda are prone
to parasitic worms, when as far as I am aware most
other species are not??
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Capt Asparagus Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:02pm
Frostfish get them too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seadoc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:17pm
So does trevally.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Seadoc Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:19pm
[QUOTE=Catchelot] Yes Coutta - NZ, Couda - tropical.

Yes you can eat NZ coutta, they all have a parasitic worm in their stomach which when they die leaves the stomach lining and enters around the backbone and into the flesh.

If you are keen on eating one, gut them as soon as possible and then the flesh is ok or non-wormed.

I smoked one once and well...even the dog wouldn't eat it! :))

Yes lots of bones through out the flesh, a top recipe is to put one in a pot with a tons of herbs and spices and a stone, boil it up, throw out he coutta and eat the stone. :))

Seriously I have tried and found them awful.

Better to fillet off and use as bait, particularly for hapuka/groper, crayfish pots or berley.
/QUOTE]


Catchelot, how does the snapper you cook or smoke taste ?!
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Old Fart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 8:21pm
Make good long line bait, or give them to the oldman and he turns them into crayfish.
I wish I could catch as many fish as my wife does.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Youngfisherman Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 10 Mar 2009 at 9:33pm
Hell NO...it tastes delecious man i dont know what you guys are on about its actually really nice i just had it for tea....it had worms but the hell to them i pulled them out and boiled them(Not planning on eating any more couta)....maybe it just tasted good cause i havent tasted snapper or other good fish.
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