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Grouper Lionfish encounter

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23 mins ago, mwhitt80 said:

not trying to sound like a dick, it's for a point

Lionfish are venomous not poisonous. You have to get finned by a lionfish. If you ever catch one handle it very carefully, then clip the top and bottom fins (spikey things and fins) off, and clean them. They have a beautiful white meat; I mean beautiful.

Well said 80!  those things are so damn tasty.  I went to a Lionfish Rodeo (scuba divers spearing contest) last summer in Juno Beach - they would clean and dissect the fish to trace their genetics for origin.  Then with all the fillets,  they had 10 or so restaurants competing cooking it in various styles, VERY TASTY fish.

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Yeah, I just wanted to make sure everyone knows they are safe to eat and lionfish are prime fish meat.

The problem is that to really get them you need to spear them. They'd be extinct in Florida of they were easy to catch.

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1 hour ago, mwhitt80 said:

Yeah, I just wanted to make sure everyone knows they are safe to eat and lionfish are prime fish meat.

The problem is that to really get them you need to spear them. They'd be extinct in Florida of they were easy to catch.

I wonder.  Most rod and reel anglers probably take one look and cut the leader.  Lionfish have been found down to 800', I think, and they're such good predators themselves that eradicating them is impossible.  I'll bet you could load a bucket or three with suitable tackle. Then comes the fun part, the cleaning.  

 

I don't know how small and sharp the venomous spines may be. Would a kevlar or fine chain mesh glove, long enough to go halfway to your elbow, protect you?  So pliers with long handles, to hold the fish by the lower jaw, long-handled garden shears to snip off the fins at the base, and then I guess you'd clean them in ordinary fashion.

 

Coming back to this video, it looked to me like the grouper was manuvering to gulp the lionfish head on and the lionfish, keenly aware of the risk, was maneuvering to avoid it.  The actual take was so fast, as usual, you can barely see it. Was the lionfish swallowed head first?

 

If anyone here has been so unfortunate as to be envenomed repeatedly by lionfish, does the pain diminish with repeat exposure?  Can it me minimized with meat tenderizer or anything else you might keep in a small boat?

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2 hours ago, mwhitt80 said:

not trying to sound like a dick, it's for a point

Lionfish are venomous not poisonous. You have to get finned by a lionfish. If you ever catch one handle it very carefully, then clip the top and bottom fins (spikey things and fins) off, and clean them. They have a beautiful white meat; I mean beautiful.

Please teach me more. For the venom to work does a fin need to "stab" something and get pumped into the victim like a bee sting? Would the digestive process (of a grouper) break down the venom?  I find this fascinating.

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Also found a video of a remora eel doing the same thing but it looked like he got tapped by those spines although he did manage to get it. There was one of divers feeding them to Barracuda. He didn't seem to "like" those spines after getting it down.

I have also heard of urinating on the wound but I don't want to ever have to try it out.

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The difference between something being venomous vs poisonous is pretty simple venomous requires an injection like a rattlesnake or a bee, but other than the stingers or fangs it is generally safe to handle/consume. When something is poisonous it is dangerous to ingest or in some cases touch.

End of the day if a cobra injects you with venom or you eat a pufferfish you are screwed and it doesn't matter. the difference is you can safely eat the cobra on your way out. 

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37 mins ago, Pauleye said:

Please teach me more. For the venom to work does a fin need to "stab" something and get pumped into the victim like a bee sting? Would the digestive process (of a grouper) break down the venom?  I find this fascinating.

Apparently so, per Wikipedia and one or two other sources I checked since I was last in this thread. There's a tissue sheath around the venom-bearing spines, very slight pressure will cause the sheath to break and venom to flow up the spine. It's best treated with heat, because there are protein components that break down with heat; I found self-heating pads on a website that you can use to reduce pain and swelling. And there are armored gloves on the market for handling these fish. 

 

What I found surprising and unsettling is that they have turned up, in the Gulf Stream, as far north as Long Island. It wouldn't surprise me to see anglers on rocks looking for triggerfish in August and September to start finding lionfish on their hooks as well. NOT good news  .... most people suffer pain, a few (children, or those with impaired immune systems) have died as a result of being stung.

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@BrianBM I know you can't get them all; I was just trying to comment on how good the meat is. They are pretty neat fish. They look cool and thrive in all kinds of water.

 

I've watched a number of videos of people cleaning them. I think you need a least a pair of gloves that aren't punctured easily. The stings look painful as heck.

I've bought lionfish meat, but never handled one. If it didn't mean you had an infestation I would love to get on them.

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Oh, I'll eat them happily, if the fish store starts carrying them. If I find them becoming a regular part of my partyboat catch, I'll spring for armored gloves and tin snips as needed.

 

I saw repeated statements on the 'Net that they are hard to catch on rod and reel. I wonder about that. However, they're not currently within partyboat reach on Long Island.  If I'm in Florida and on a partyboat, maybe I will find out.  :)

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When they started showing up in the panhandle, I started doing real research. Can you eat them? How to handle them? What to do if you get stung? How do you clean them? How to catch them? That kind of stuff.

Then I started hunting for places to get some fillets and got lucky at whole foods one day.

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I would happily dangle bits of clam, or squid, or fish strips, or small Gulp! minnows, and see what gets bit. They eat crustaceans; why not try a blackfish jig with the small crustacean of your choice? Make the rig with 2, 3, or 4 hooks, preferably with long shanks (1/0 or 2/0 whiting hooks sounds fine to me) on dropper loops. A small jig, one with a tying  loop in mid-point. Light braid, avoid the moon tides, snap the jig and let it flutter. 

 

One interesting thing (if it's true) is that lionfish, which otherwise are territorial and afraid of nothing, learn to avoid humans on the reefs where they're hunted in spearfishing tournaments. They will go to deeper water (alas, they've been observed below 300 meters, about a thousand feet) to avoid them. That's deep enough to need a sinker weight measured in pounds, not ounces, and few anglers are going to fish 1,000' of water for a non-game fish that doesn't get bigger then three pounds. (OTOH, with battery-powered reels, it might not be too difficult. Powered reels are multiplying like squirrels.)

 

A question for divers or those who know how Florida divers hunting lionfish operate. Some of them are probably free divers. Even with scuba gear, only a few will go below 125' or so, right?

So if you set up on a deep water reef in 250' - 400' of water, you should be in a zone well populated with the little bastids. No worry about injuring the fish with decompression injuries, either you eat it or you kill it and discard it for the sake of the East Coast ecosystem.  

 

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I've watched that video, or rather the last three minutes, repeatedly. I still can't say if the grouper took the lionfish head first; now it looks more like an attack from the side. 

 

Lionfish venom may be technically non-poisonous, but gulp a whole one and you'll get stuck all over the place. I wonder how that grouper was doing, an hour after the event. 

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21 mins ago, BrianBM said:

I've watched that video, or rather the last three minutes, repeatedly. I still can't say if the grouper took the lionfish head first; now it looks more like an attack from the side. 

 

Lionfish venom may be technically non-poisonous, but gulp a whole one and you'll get stuck all over the place. I wonder how that grouper was doing, an hour after the event. 

I thought he took the lion by the head, and I also assumed that all of that maneuvering was to get into that position. Most fish have fins that fold back from the head. So may the grouper didn't get stuck much?

Edited by MakoMike

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