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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Okay so here's my story. I apologize in advance, but it's a little long.

My first work experience out of college landed me in Prince William Sound Alaska. I was working for an aquaculture corporation at a remote site near Montague Island in the Western portion of the sound. After a few months of consistently hooking nothing but my nemesis the Pacific Cod, I finally got my first halibut, about a 90 lber. After that I was hooked.

One friday night last june I went out with a friend and caught some bright chum salmon. We released most of these fish as we had no purpose for them, but I decided to keep one for bait since it was a rare calm night and the tides were ideal for halibut fishing. I dropped my buddy off at the hatchery since he wasn't in the mood for anymore fishing and headed out to the halibut fishing grounds (about a 5 min. boat ride).

On my first drift I caught a 50 lber, gaffed it and was half-way to my limit. Several hours later (about 11:30 pm) I hadn't seen much more action and decided one fish was enough. I started reeling in my bait and at about the 150 ft. mark (midway through the water column) I felt a jolt, followed by the stripping of my line as the fish made a run to the bottom. I knew immediately the fish was a halibut and when I began to reel up I knew it was bigger than anything I'd previously caught. After a good fight I got the fish up near the boat and estimated it's weight at about 150 lbs. This was way too much fish to try and gaff by myself so I radioed the hatchery to try to have somebody bring out a gun to shoot it. No response. I realized I had two options: cut my line, or battle it out with the gaff. I couldn't pass up the opportunity to boat this fish because Alaska or not, big halibut are not all that common. So it began.

I buried the gaff up through the side of the mouth (knowing that I didn't want to sock it elsewhere in case it got away mortally wounded) and pulled like heck. Unless you've tried it, you probably can't imagine how stupid that move was. The fish began thrashing violently, banging my hand, wrist, and arm repeatedly into the side of the skiff. I got it about 1/4 of the way into the skiff before I gave up and the fish shook itself off the gaff. Had it not gotten off it probably would have busted my arm or pulled me in. Luckily, it did get off the gaff and made a run to the bottom of the Sound. 300 ft. of line later I got it back up to the boat, cut my losses, popped the hook out and watched the fish swim gracefully back to the depths. I was disappointed, but lucky I didn't hurt myself, I was way too remote for such a dumb move. Throughout my 8 months at the site I successfully boated several 80-90 lbers with just a gaff, but the rule of thumb is anything over 100 should never be attempted without a gun, or harpoon. I learned my lesson the hard way with a soar arm as proof. I had many unique and exciting experiences in the Sound, but this was definitely at the top of the list.
 

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Welcome Respawn, unfortunatly i cant relate to your story as i have not fished for halibut, YET! But i do remember hearing about a man killed on a charter boat in Alaska a few years ago by a 300 pounder, ouch. Again welcome aboard.

[ 05-12-2003, 09:01 PM: Message edited by: fisherdan ]
 

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know what you mean by strong. I was able to spend two week at a logging camp my brother in law was working at, a place called hoonah ak. fished from dark to dark, reeled in so many halibut that my arm had never been the same, man that was fun, going to kake this fall, cant wait.
 

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Good story!! Welcome aboard!! :cheers:
 
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