Lee Gray and I went on a halibut fishing trip yesterday with three other guys from Minnesota. Captain Doug Judge, an ice road trucker, told us that we would probably be catching 20 pound average to 40 pound max fish and that we would each get to bring in two. I caught a large halibut early on in the morning (large by my standards at about 20 lbs.) and told the captain that I wanted to keep the fish. The Captain gave me a look that said the fish was pathetic and he couldn't believe I was keeping it.
A few hours later, after catching a couple of skates (large sting ray like fish) I got a very large tug on my line. The fish didn't hook but started to nibble. The fish then bit again and hooked so I started to reel it in. After 15 minutes I saw the fish and started yelling "it's huge." The captain meandered over to my side - clearly not sharing my tourist enthusiasm - until he saw the fish. He immediately ran across the boat for his shotgun and a giant hook in a frenzy of activity as he yelled orders at me, telling me to hurry up and bring it to the side of the boat. I didn't back talk the captain, but I wanted to tell him to that I was doing my best to keep myself in the boat. After I got the halibut close enough to the boat the captain shot it between the eyes and hooked it. I would never have been able to bring a fish like it on board alone.
Captain Judge explained later that if you don't shoot the large halibut they can break your leg or kill you once they're on the boat. He appraised the fish as we rode back to the harbor and told me it was about 100 pounds, 10 to 13 years old and the catch of a lifetime. Fortunately, it gained some weight on the trip back to the harbor and weighed in at 125 pounds. It will probably gain another 100 pounds or more as I retail the story. To top the day off, while we fished, a large pod of humpback whales swam around us and made dinosaur like roars as they jumped out of the water.
I attached a picture of my fish so that you can see can see I didn't cook this big fish story up, yet - and so that you can compare it to all of the other small fish our group caught. You can see the first fish I caught, the tiny one second to last on the far right.
Copyright 2007 Richard Moore