The effect of setting at 40 °C on the textural properties and the changes in myofibrillar proteins in surimi produced from threadfin bream (Nemipterus bleekeri), bigeye snapper (Priacanthus tayenus), barracuda (Sphyraena jello) and bigeye croaker (Pennahai macrophthalmus) was investigated. An increase in the time of setting generally resulted in higher breaking force and also the deformation of both suwari and kamaboko gels. Maximum increases in gel-breaking force were obtained in 1 h for threadfin bream, 2 h for bigeye snapper, 1.5 h for barracuda and 3 h for bigeye croaker. Extended setting time caused decreases in breaking force and deformation in all surimi, except that produced from bigeye croaker. Gel strengthening was associated with an increase in non-disulphide covalent bond formation. Degradation of proteins occurred with prolonged setting. Therefore, setting at 40 °C for an appropriate time is a promising means to improve the gelling property of surimi produced from tropical fish.