Is Queenfish Good to Eat? Read This First
The question of whether or not Queenfish are good to eat is hotly contested. Is Queenfish good to eat? Most of the time, the answer swings to the agreement that Queenfish is not the tastiest fish to eat. But, when you prepare the flesh correctly, you could turn it into a tasty dish.
The Queenfish is not often caught and kept, as most anglers landing one of these will be quick to release it.
If you do land a Queenie and what to turn it into a dish fit for a royal appetite, then read this article. We share some tips for catching these fish and, more importantly, the essential info you need for turning it into a delicious meal.
The first thing to know is how to treat it once you have caught it. As soon as you take the Queenfish off your hook, put it on ice. But wait, before that, you know you have to bleed it first. Be careful when handling the Queenfish because they have poisonous fins. Wear gloves or any other protective gear.
The meat of a Queenfish is typically quite dry. While some fish tend to be too oily, the Queenfish is on the opposite end of the spectrum. But to make up for their dry flesh, the meat has a tasty flavor profile that works well with different cooking methods. Many fishermen compare it to Dogtooth Tuna, Yellowtail, or even Tripletail. We like snapper much more, however, especially Mutton Snapper.
You can prepare it by grilling, poaching, broiling, baking, or even shallow frying. If you prefer fish fillets, you can poach or pan fry them. If you want the ‘wow’ factor at the table, you can bake the fish whole.
The scientific name for the Queenfish is Seriphus Politus. It belongs to the drum and crocker fish species from the Schoenidae family.
A queenfish’s native habitat is primarily the eastern region of the Pacific ocean. They appear from the coast of Baja, California, all the way to the more Northern Oregon shores. However, there is no toll gate stopping their entry into Canadian waters. There are reports of the Queenfish as far north as British Columbia.
In some areas, the Queenfish will have a different name. You may hear it as a ‘Queenie’ or a ‘Queen Croker”. Either way, the fish is the Queenfish, the only monotypic species in the Seriphus family.
The Queenfish is a beautiful fish, and they have a slender black that glimmers with a green sheen in shallow waters. They are often seen gliding through shallow water, over sand flats, and shallow rocks.
The Queenfish is a fun sportfish to target. They are fast, put up a good fight, and have ferocious appetites.
How to Identify Queenfish
The Queenfish has several defining characteristics. There are four queenfish species, and all are found in the tropical regions of the Northern hemisphere.
The most commonly found Queenfish also happens to be the largest of the four. It has five to seven dark spots on the top part of its lateral line, and these spots will be pretty large in size. The Swisskin queenfish may have five to eight spots as well, but the Swisskin is slightly smaller. However, another differentiating characteristic is the Swisskin’s dorsal fin which has a black tip.
The Double stained Queenfish is another popular species, and two rows of uniform spots define them. The forbidden Queenfish has between four and eight spots and can be easily defined as they are more vertical.
All Queenfish have exquisite coloring. Their bellies are white with an overall body coloring of silver. Their backs tend to be shimmering blue or green. There is sometimes a golden-colored patch that shimmer as they swim. All these qualities make them a beautiful sight to see.
The Queenfish, no matter the species, has a large mouth. The mouth reaches beyond the eyes and has a strength allowing them to grip their prey. Despite this ferocious strength, their faces have a surprising beauty.
All queens have giant mouths that extend well behind the eyes and sometimes can grip even the biggest prey. However, their faces are delicate, and great care should be taken when handling them. I like to leave the queen without water.
You can find Queenfish quite easily in shallower water. They tend to frequent shallow reefs, rocks, sand, or even tropical stones and broken walls. A queenfish will remain close to coral reefs and any underwater structure. However, they can also be found on offshore reefs much deeper than the inshore shallow rocks.
If you’re heading down south to look for the best fish to target in the South Pacific, put the Queenfish on your radar.
Fishermen in Australia, or most parts of the South Pacific, enjoy this targeted sportfish. They are aggressive fighters, and the best part is they are not fussy eaters. They will launch at poppers, lures, or bait. The Queenfish may have a slender frame, but there is a whole lot of fighting packed into their bodies. The young tend to enter rivers and will move to shallow structures such as rocks as they grow. The largest will reach approximately four feet long.
Not many people know how to eat Queenfish. Some have enjoyed Queenfish as fish curry. Fish curry works for a Queenfish because of its textured flesh. But, curry isn’t the only way to eat Queenfish. Let’s look at some other recipes for enjoying Queenfish.
How Do You Cook Queenfish?
First things first, it is best to bleed the Queenfish as soon as you’ve caught it (just like with Skipjack Tuna). After that, keep the fish on ice as long as you are going to remain out at sea or fishing on the beach. And even if you head straight home to the kitchen, keep the fish on ice right up until you’re ready to prepare.
Their flesh is dry and firm, but their flavor has been described as tasty. Because the meat is so firm, there are several ways that you can cook it. The biggest thing to keep in mind is that the meat is naturally quite dry, so bear that in mind.
We have a recipe here that is something a little different. It requires no heated cooking. That’s right, no deep-frying, no broiling, and nope, not even smoking. This recipe is perfect as a starter or as a light summer meal on a warm evening. If you have been out in the hot sun all day, you’ll want to run home to the dinner table if this is on the menu.
Refreshing Queenfish Summer Salad Recipe
Here are the ingredients you’ll need:
- Queenfish fillets (approximately 400g)
- Limes (4)
- Salt (to taste)
- Fresh chili (again, this will be according to your personal taste)
- Fresh coriander (handful should suffice)
- Olive oil
Here’s what you’ll need to do:
If you haven’t done so already, skin the fish and take out the bloodline. Remember, the fins are poisonous, so make sure you don’t touch them.
Cut the fillets
Cut the fillets into strips the size of your pinky finger
Place the fish back into the refrigerator
Next up, you want to prepare the rest of the ingredients. Take all four limes and squeeze the juice out. Add this freshly squeezed lime juice to the fish fillets and let the meat soak. You can give it a mix and a toss every so often. The lime juice is acidic in nature and will actually work to “cook” the fish meat.
Next up, you can add the rest of your spices to allow marinating. Add the pinch of salt, coriander, fresh chili, and olive oil. Place the dish back into the refrigerator and allow it to sit and marinate for several hours.
The best is to prepare this in the late morning and serve it as a fresh dinner, especially on a balmy summer day. The fish can be placed on a bed of fresh lettuce. Use the Italian lettuce mix for the visual pop of color and flavor.
Queenfish Fishing Tips
Okay, before you reel one of these beauties in for dinner, you need to know how to fish for them. The Queenfish may be aggressive, but it is not the most challenging fish to target. They are generally unfussy about food and will go after both bait and lures.
If you want to reel in a Queenie, a spin stick should be your go-to tool. Use a spin stick, a medium spinning reel, 6 – 8 kg mono, and fit all this on a 1.8 – 2.4 m rod. This tackle should prepare you for catching a Queenie.
If you plan on using a top, the best topping for Queenfish is the gardis. Use a gardis with a hook less than 0/25.
Queenfish Fishing Methods
Most anglers find that casting with poppers is the most effective way to catch Queenfish. The Queenie might look like a slight fish, but they are notorious for their acrobatic antics when hooked. So, make sure you are ready for a frantic fight if a Queenie bites. Check out our article on the best lures for Queenfish for more info.
Some anglers have also reported great success using lead head jigs. If you want to use jigs, opt for a smaller jig with heavier trimmings and feathery ropes.
Are you ready to land a Queenfish? Remember, they may not be renowned for their taste, but they can turn into a tasty treat when prepared well. We hope you enjoyed this article on whether Queenfish are good to eat.