16 June 2009

Darwin's Butts

This was last weekend, but I wanted to get it posted to have proof that I still know how to fish after all the fish that Jared caught over memorial day weekend. Now I did not catch as many fish as Jared, my limit was only two fish, but I was able to get a little more meat in the end.

The Friday before we took the kids to twin lakes I was feeling a little frustrated that I had not caught any fish yet. My job was sending me to Excursion Inlet to do some inspections. So I combined the fact that I was out and about with the desire to fish and went looking for fish in an area that I do not normally go to. I got up early to fish and ended up not leaving until around 0800. I went to Sister's island first and was unable to catch a thing, even though the boats around me were catching small halibut, pacific cod and some other fish. I was a little frustrated at this point, not having caught a halibut this year so i decided to go out a lot further then I have done to date.

On the way out the water actually became a little calmer and I was able to see whales, porpoise, sea otters, etc., and the sun even came out for part of the trip. I anchored in about 150ft of water and drifted my line out with 20 ounces of weight and began to work on lunch. I had dumped a can of soup in a small pot and started the small single burner propane stove when I heard the sing of the drag on the fishing pole. I quickly turned off the stove and grabbed the fishing pole and battled the fish to the boat for about 10 minutes. When the fish finally came to the surface I saw it was about 30lbs and since I was by myself I was unsure how I was going to get it in the boat. With the rod in one hand and the gaff in the other, I tried several attempts to get the fish on the gaff with very little luck. Finally I hooked the fish and drug it in the boat and the fish expressed his displeasure at being out of the water. This was my first halibut in awhile so I beat the cheeks of the fish, trying to get him to calm down before I hit the head where the brain was to get him to relax. I gilled the halibut and put him on a line over the side of the boat and let my line out again.

Just as I was getting ready to start the stove again, I heard the drag sing again and I put aside lunch to focus at the task at hand. This fish was a little more aggressive and it took a lot longer to reel it in. In fact, a couple of times, the fish decided to go back to the bottom and I was nothing but a bystander watching the line payout after several minutes of hard work. Eventually, I did prevail and was able to bring the fish to the surface. This time it was a 55lb halibut and I was faced with the same dilema of gaffing the fish, while holding the rod, and not falling overboard. I was able to drag the fish in the boat and with a now practiced hand, I was able to motivate the fish to stop moving. Once this fish was on the stringer I settled down and ate lunch and watched the porpoises play about 10 feet off the stern of the boat.

When I got back to Excursion Inlet I noticed that the weather was calm, so I decided to run home and take care of the meat. I got home about midnight and Melissa and I worked on fish until 0130. We processed 21, 1 1/2lb bags of meat, from two fish. Boy I love fishing in AK.

The sad part is that I was alone, so after my two fish, I had to come home even though there was likely a lot more fish to be caught...so please come and help me catch fish ;)


Kelly said...

Those are pretty good-size looking fish!

Rana said...

Enjoyed the narrative! and you'll be eating halibut for a good long while to come! Good JOB!

Jared said...

Sad Sad story from a very Sad looking fisherman. I just want you to know it took me 3 hours to clean all 150 crapie. Glad you had fun.

Leon and Janie said...

Holy Halibut Batman!! Those are some huge fish!