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Hot Topic (More than 30 Replies) Caring for your Kahawai (Read 26773 times)
Sikahill
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Caring for your Kahawai
Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:10am
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It amazes me sometimes at the lack of knowledge on how to prepare fish for the table - grown adults never having filleted a fish before.
This post attempts to help those of you who want to know how to prepare a kahawai for the table. Some of you will love smoked Kahawai (I don't), some of you will love it raw in a lemon juice marinade then coconut creme (its lovely) and I heard it makes a lovely fish pie.  I choose to eat the fillets dusted in wholemeal flour and fried in Olive Oil or butter. If it has been cared for it tastes pretty good. Of course those of you with access to good snapper fishing or even a boat will prefer better eating fish. The simple Kahawai is a meritorious catch to surfcasters and probably makes up 90% of the catch of most beach fisherman. So for those of you who are happy to catch Kahawai and feed the family for a night or two here goes.

First catch yourself a nice fat kahawai - it doesnt have to be big. Cut under the gills to free the head and let the claret flow. Keep out of the sun until ready to fillet. I use a wet potato sack to store them in and leave in the shade. We surfcasters dont have the luxury of carrying bags of ice, especially when we dont know if we are going to catch anything at all. For those of you with ice, well that is the best of course to lie the fish in until ready to fillet.

I dont bother to scale them. It makes one hell of a mess and you end up finding scales everywhere and they stick like sh*t to a blanket. Note in the photo the beast of a reel. Its a real workhorse and smooth as silk. A shimano thunnus 16000F for those of you who are interested. Find your wifes "hang out the washing table" sharpen the knife and lay down newspaper to save leaving scales all over the table.



Make a diagonal cut in behind the pectoral fin as shown.


Next cut from the top of the back down one side of the fish. Your knife will need to be sharp otherwise you'll butcher it.



Make sure you keep your knife against the bone so as not to waste any. As you go peel back the fillet so you can see what sort of job you are doing. You'll hit the backbone so just angle the knife around it using light strokes of the knife.


You'll then get to the ribcage and most fish also have a lateral line of bones you'll just have to cut through. Carefully work your way around the ribcage. In some fish there is stuff all meet around the ribcage so dont be too fussy here. Just make sure you dont leave any ribcage in the fillet itself.



At the bottom of the rib cage you should be able to lie the fillet in an open position


The sever the fillet at the bottom. I dont take any of the bottom fins with the fillet.


Turn the fish over and do the same to the other side. The second side is always more difficult to get a nice fillet close to the bone as the fish has lost all of its support and rigidity.


The frame left over can be used in your compost, or cray bait or even....


But seriously  chooks wont be effective enough and it'll stink to high hell if left out in the sun.


Next you need to get the skin off. On a fresh piece of newspaper (no slime!) hold the tail of the fillet with your thumb and angle the knife in.


Keep the knife angle as shown (angled down towards the skin) and gently move up the fish movin the knife back and forth folding back the fillet as you go. Be careful not to cut through the skin  - trick is to get the right angle right on the knife


After you have got the skin off both fillets you need to remove the red meat as it tastes disgusting and ruins the eating experience. Looking at the back side of the fillet, make an angle cut right along the length of the fish as shown along the red meat line


Peel back the red meat as you go. This cut actually splits the fillet length ways into two and takes out the lateral bones and red meat in one go.


Trim the rest of the red meat and place in a dish ready for cooking.


Now dispose of the frame and skin   Wink


I hope you enjoy your fish!

I forgot to add, under no circumstances do you wash your fillets in fresh water. I prefer to not wash at all. It screws the meat.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #1 - Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:20am
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thats a lot of work what a waste of snappa bait Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #2 - Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:23am
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nice informative post sikahill Cool
i bet the chook was pissed off when it lost the frame to the pigs  Grin
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #3 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 12:31am
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That's a great guide Sikahill, thanks for posting it. I have made it a sticky so that it stays at the top of the forum for a while.
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #4 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 3:10am
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pigs got the best parts
  

Make it happen!
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kawhia
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #5 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 6:49am
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good post mate, few tips to get rid of that red meat, soon as ya catch them poke ya thumb though the gills and rip it through the bottom and pull back the head as soon as you get the hook out, wriggle the fish while it bleeds...........snappa bait my arse duckslaya lol, best dog tucker you can get if you have a few spare Wink.............also doing the first half cuts on both sides will give you two even fillets
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #6 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 6:51am
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Smiley
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #7 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 8:34am
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Thanks for sharing sikahill. Much appreciated!
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #8 - Feb 26th, 2007 at 10:08am
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I forgot to add - while I was outside doing the photos for this photo essay, my wife was inside going through the early stages of labour.
Hows that for dedication to the fish n hunt forum
Grin Grin Grin Grin


Kawhia

Good points mate - I'll try that in future - always learning on this forum!
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #9 - Mar 2nd, 2007 at 10:25am
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Sikahill, was it a Harry or a Harriette? Cool
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #10 - Mar 5th, 2007 at 12:42am
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A girl Hicksville - "Ella"

Another fisherwoman in the making although my wife is keen for hunting to be her first love. Either or suits me.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #11 - Apr 19th, 2007 at 8:23am
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Congratulations on the daughter  Smiley

Kahawai is a grossly undervalued fish but certainly high on my target list. the younger yellow spotted ones are the best eating but those big grey backed ocean going jobs can be pretty good to if properly looked after.


A small tip, soak the fillets in milk for a few hours before cooking sweetens them up qhite a bit, much more better  Smiley
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #12 - Feb 4th, 2008 at 3:15am
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Congrats on the daughter mate!  Cheesy I'm sure she'll be a fine hunter AND fisher!

Kahawai - the chicken of the sea!

I hope your wife didn't see you using her washing basket table to fillet fish, or I'm sure your new daughter would have popped right out! May have made the labour thing easier anyway!!   Grin
  

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Reply #13 - May 4th, 2009 at 7:05am
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As a Newcomer to this site and to fishing ( Ive been fishing all of 4 weeks now, and I even scale gut and fillet them!!!! Smiley...I just wanted to thank you for your post. I actually caught my first Kahawai off Foxton Beach wharf last week, and wasnt it a thrill!!!! Mind you my arms ached like the hell the following day !!!

I did a pretty good job of filleting it (well I thought I did untill I saw your post!) I simply made up a batter and cooked it that way and believe you me it was delicious!!!!

I can't believe that this old girl has become totally hooked on fishing, I wake up every morning and drag my husband down to the wharf, and we usually spend 5 to 6 hours just loving the whole deal.

Any tips hints on this marvelous sport will be very welcomed from me!

  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #14 - May 4th, 2009 at 8:34am
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Youre welcome
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #15 - Jun 7th, 2009 at 5:39am
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Sikahill wrote on Feb 25th, 2007 at 11:10am:
Turn the fish over and do the same to the other side. The second side is always more difficult to get a nice fillet close to the bone as the fish has lost all of its support and rigidity.


I find the 2nd side of the fish fillets much easier if the first side is not completely taken off the fish, before starting the 2nd side. That way it keeps it's support/rigidty and sits on the filleting bench properly.

This applies to all fish not just Kahawai.

Sorry if this has come up before?

Nice post! It's good to see well filleted fish. Some blokes are so rough...
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #16 - Jun 24th, 2009 at 11:46pm
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I have a request...

Smiley

I am doing a masters project on kahawai genetics, and have samples from all over the north island, but *every* time I take my camera with me, I don't catch fish.

If anyone has some decent photos of whole kahawai that I can use to illustrate my thesis, I would be very grateful.

Also, if anyone from the South Island catches kahawai regularly, please PM me - I'd love to get some small samples from fish from there. I will of course provide sample instructions, collection tubes with preservative in them and return courier bags.

Ooo... and if anyone from the far north is reading this, and can tell the difference between kahawai (Arripis trutta) and Kermadec kahawai (Arripis xylabion), I would be *very* keen to see some photos / get some tissue samples!

Cheers,

Brenton
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #17 - Jun 25th, 2009 at 12:16am
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I thought I would have a few on the work computer....but that was it....Will have a look at home I think there are some we caught on Marlin gear Tongue
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #18 - Jun 25th, 2009 at 1:16am
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Some of those kahawai look a *hell* of a lot like trevally...

... science student, remember? You can't fool me!

Wink
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #19 - Jun 25th, 2009 at 1:20am
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BTMO wrote on Jun 25th, 2009 at 1:16am:
Some of those kahawai look a *hell* of a lot like trevally...

... science student, remember? You can't fool me!

Wink


I should have some better photos of the kahawai in the back Roll Eyes....and yip I do believe the ones in front might not be kahawai ....or so I have been told once Tongue
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #20 - Jun 25th, 2009 at 1:33am
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Hey - I am such a great fisherman, that when I started my MSc, I thought "sweet - this will be a doddle".

Three months, and 4 fish later, I started getting in contact with the RFC, the Kahawai Action Group, the fishing companies, kids on wharves...

Pretty much anytime I *need* a fish, I can't get one. Same thing goes with hunting, actually...

I now have a couple hundred samples, which means my thesis is coming along, but my partner is getting real joy out of my fishing ineptitude. Women a like that...

You have some stunning fish there, mate!!

Cheesy
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #21 - Jun 25th, 2009 at 2:05am
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BTMO wrote on Jun 25th, 2009 at 1:33am:
You have some stunning fish there, mate!!

Cheesy


Just a quick trip to the waikato river mouth with a mate, his daughter my son .....most were caught in half an hour but stuck at it for another hour and got a couple more.. Usualy plenty of kahawai and trevs to be had, And if the bars flat even better but I dont take the kids out there Wink
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #22 - Jun 25th, 2009 at 3:22am
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we regularly catch kahawai between 2.5 to 3kg and bigger there is a just under20lber on the wall in a gamefish club to which i cant remember which club?
i do not have many photos of kahawai but
here is an average size one i caught recently of the rocks just down the road



  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #23 - Jun 26th, 2009 at 10:27am
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Nice!

Cheesy
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #24 - Jul 3rd, 2009 at 12:33am
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nice post i think the most important thing with filleting fish is practice practice practice ... Smiley
  
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Reply #25 - Jul 3rd, 2009 at 4:43am
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Kahawai would have to be one of the most underrated table fish around. I have been bought up on smoked and pan fried kahawai and either way it is delicious. If I marinate kahawai I usually do it with white or spiced vinegar with lemon juice overnight then make a mayonaise out of the marinade and highland condensed milk as i have never been a fan of coconut cream.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #26 - Sep 9th, 2009 at 11:10am
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theres one of the several kahawai in this pic. had to give the rest to a father and son at the boat ramp who were catching sprats,

FISHDIVENHUNT and i had a lucky day on the water
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #27 - Mar 13th, 2010 at 6:06am
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Just had lovely fish curry tonight made with Kahawai. My son who usually turns up his nose at fish ate it all and said he pretended it was chicken but nicer.  Grin

The fillets were from a 7lber I got on the fly about 1mth ago and froze.
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #28 - Mar 13th, 2010 at 8:28am
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7lb? Good shit mate
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #29 - Apr 25th, 2010 at 11:51pm
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Good job, thanks for sharing
I do filleting same way but  also using bones and heads to cook delicious  Tongue soup.
Smiley
  
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Reply #30 - Jul 6th, 2010 at 8:59am
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great stuff,the cat does nearly as good a job as the pigs Wink
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #31 - Dec 14th, 2010 at 9:53pm
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i smoked up afew kahawai this week with lemon pepper to try somthing different, it was bloody nice. any other recipies for smoking fish out there? Smiley
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #32 - Mar 19th, 2011 at 8:00am
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yeah nothing wrong with kahawai mate i smoke mine with a brown sugar and bourbon paste
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #33 - Aug 15th, 2011 at 7:06am
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Nothing wrong with the red meat man just eat it.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #34 - Mar 7th, 2012 at 7:14am
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Good stuff nothing wrong with smoked fish pie
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #35 - Mar 16th, 2012 at 7:52am
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Now you've been educated in how to fillet them try this.
Take only the white fillets.  Layer in a baking dish with sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, and other layer fish, onions tomatoes etc etc cover  with milk, big nob butter, peppper & salt, cover, bake in  hot oven for 1 hour, similar texture as crayfish.  Can add morney mix if you wish.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #36 - Mar 27th, 2012 at 8:47am
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good post,
very handy Smiley
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #37 - Oct 14th, 2012 at 10:27am
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down here we smoke em yes so under rated as a table fish try using for chowder fantastic
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #38 - Mar 25th, 2013 at 8:15am
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jwingill wrote on Mar 16th, 2012 at 7:52am:
Now you've been educated in how to fillet them try this.
Take only the white fillets.  Layer in a baking dish with sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, and other layer fish, onions tomatoes etc etc cover  with milk, big nob butter, peppper & salt, cover, bake in  hot oven for 1 hour, similar texture as crayfish.  Can add morney mix if you wish.

Have done this with Kingfish, it's good! Don't forget the parsley. Smiley
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #39 - Sep 3rd, 2013 at 11:41am
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Lucky pigs!
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #40 - Jun 30th, 2014 at 10:15am
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Sikahill wrote
I forgot to add, under no circumstances do you wash your fillets in fresh water. I prefer to not wash at all. It screws the meat.

You are so right, no salt water fish should be put anywhere near fresh water. Not only does it affect the flavour but hastens the natural process of decay so the fish will not keep as well. Take home some sea water to wash the fillets if you need to.
Great "How to"
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #41 - Jul 1st, 2014 at 11:00am
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Wow a 5yr old thread still going. I'm a keen kahawai catcher and we eat plenty of them. I fillet them exactly as Sikahill shows in the first post. Kahawai are great fresh but IMO they don't keep well. I've not caught any monster fish, my biggest wasn't bad at 3.6kg and I wasn't really into taking pics back then, even if it was only 4 years ago. They are great fun to catch and you can get them on virtually any rig or set up.
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #42 - Apr 16th, 2015 at 5:57am
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  Great post.  Chicken of the sea. . . .if done right Smiley
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #43 - Aug 5th, 2015 at 10:04am
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Nice article mate, well written. Those bodies good for a fish stew/soup my in-laws reckon, can't even stand in the house when they are cooking it, bloody rank.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #44 - Aug 6th, 2015 at 4:17am
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smudge wrote on Jul 1st, 2014 at 11:00am:
Wow a 5yr old thread still going. I'm a keen kahawai catcher and we eat plenty of them. I fillet them exactly as Sikahill shows in the first post. Kahawai are great fresh but IMO they don't keep well. I've not caught any monster fish, my biggest wasn't bad at 3.6kg and I wasn't really into taking pics back then, even if it was only 4 years ago. They are great fun to catch and you can get them on virtually any rig or set up.



We were cruising across the front of Tryphena a couple of years ago, there was the odd Kahawai plopping about so the Chch boys I had with me put a couple of lures out, and we got 4 Kahawai over 4kg!!! The biggest was 4.7!! Amazing fish Smiley
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #45 - Aug 6th, 2015 at 7:33am
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Caught one many years ago off the kaipara the went 8.2kg. Thought it was a kingi when we got the first glimpse of it. A f**ken horse of a kahawai
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #46 - Jan 12th, 2016 at 8:43am
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I just love eating kahawai.... caught 317 of them over xmas.... 2 of us....  Ill upload a video of another way of filleting them...
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #47 - Jan 12th, 2016 at 8:58am
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Yep, highly under rated. Awesome tally by the way.
  
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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #48 - Jan 12th, 2016 at 10:04pm
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yere they were no big but great eating size and my half were all caught on a fly...
  

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Re: Caring for your Kahawai
Reply #49 - Aug 9th, 2017 at 8:45pm
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Could you update these photos please Sikahill it only shows photobucket
  
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