Notes from the Island Fishmonger: June

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Meet the speedsters!

By Scott Dolan

It would appear that most of the faster fish in the Gulf fall into the billfish category. Billfish are truly prized catches.

What is my interest in fast-swimming fish? Not only do they make for an exciting catch but the edible meat is lean from all the exercise a fast fish gets.

The characteristics that define fish speed are the streamlined shape, the powerful muscles, plus the fins that provide the fish with superb speed, stability and maneuverability.

Here’s a look at those tasty speedsters:

MARLIN: A close relative to the sailfish and swordfish, marlin measure up to 15 feet and travel around the ocean at about 30 mph. Based on a report, a marlin was recorded stripping the fishing line around 120 feet per second, or the equivalent of 80 mph.

Now that’s a whopper of a fish tale.

Marlin is an edible fish with a exotic meaty taste but most people catch and release this species in good conscience.

SWORDFISH: Swordfish can also grow up to 15 feet and can weigh around 1,400 pounds while traveling up to 60 mph. They are a great eating fish, good on the grill because of the meaty texture and wonderful, moist, white flakey meat. Despite popular opinion, we do catch swordfish in the Gulf all the time.

WAHOO: By far my favorite eating fish. When eating it sashimi style, it melts in your mouth like butter. Ceviche, poke, and seared wahoo are my kind of eating. Still on my bucket list is to catch this elusive speedster. Up to 8 feet long and sometimes 200 pounds, it travels along in bursts of 50 mph and, like a mahi, its color underwater is breathtaking with its brilliant blue sheen and sail-like dorsal fin. You can’t find wahoo everywhere but if you check out the retail counter at Big Water Fish Market you just might find this fish.

EL DORADO (MAHI-MAHI): Another brilliant-colored fish with a fluorescent green, blue and yellow body, this big guy can travel in bursts of 50 mph but usually cruises at around 30 mph. Great meat for fish tacos or the Mahi Melt at Big Water. It’s is a must try.

GROUPER: Just kidding. Our famous grouper is a lazy fish that rests on the ocean floor. A lady fish in the Intracoastal Waterway is even faster than a grouper. I’m sure that’s why when we go deep-sea fishing in the Gulf, we all usually max out on the easy-to-catch grouper.

Live well … eat fish.

Scott Dolan
Author: Scott Dolan

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