Alaska Adventure Journal



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June 2008 - Alaska Inside Passage Exploration

Northern Portion ABC Islands

Admiralty, Baranof, Chichagof Islands 

June 19, 2008 ~ Thursday

Headed out of Kalinin Bay to fish the outers waters of Salisbury Sound. The seas started out very calm and the skies sunny. It was a perfect day except we had difficulty finding the fish. When we did find “THE” fish it was a monster halibut. We’d all been fishing for probably an hour without even the slightest bite when Shanna yelled, “I’ve got a bite”. Shortly afterward, the fish started taking line and the fight was on. She hung on and resisted any help. We had a few tense moments when Shanna’s fish wrapped her fishing line around all ours, but we were able to correct that with minimal delay. After Shanna subdued the monster we had our next challenge, getting it in the boat. The harpoon didn’t get loaded on the boat in an effort to conserve space and we now wished we had it. Oh well, make due with what you have. John got a 20/0 hook and leader out of the bait bucket attached it to the harpoon line snap and carefully hooked the monster in the mouth complimenting Shanna’s hook.

Shanna posing with the largest halibut she's ever caught.
Shanna's halibut coming in over the side of the boat.

Every time the fish was touched it would begin thrashing wildly. John made a quick slash of the gills to bleed the fish and shortly there after looped a piece of rope through the fishes mouth and back thru its gills. The line was securely tied off on the rear port cleat and we all breathed a sigh of relief. This was surely Shanna’s largest and would most certainly be a boat record. After bleeding in the water for about 30 minuets, John and Jeff pulled the fish on to the boat so we could get a better look. We were very curious about the fish’s’ weight so we got the tide book out which has a length to weight ratio guide. We carefully positioned the fish on the deck and pulled the tape across the fish’s body from tip of the mouth to the end of it’s tail. It easily measured 65” in length, which converts to 134 lbs. Just as we thought a new record for both Shanna and TomCat.
We continue fishing for several more hours without any luck. We were happy that the day was beautiful, but disappointed on the slow fishing. While pulling the anchor at the last fishing spot the line got hung on a rock and just wouldn’t give. After several unsuccessful attempts to free the line and anchor another plan was needed. John let out extra anchor line and tied it off on the rear starboard cleat. He moved the boat forward and we all hoped for the best. The line broke free and we retrieved the anchor.
We needed to head into Sitka as we had plans to get photos of Shanna’s fish and send the fillets to a local packing house so Jeff could send them home. We took off at top cruising speed for Sitka. Since the plan was to spend the night in Sitka, John radioed ahead and spoke with the Sitka Harbormaster for directions to the fish cleaning dock and to arrange for overnight dockage.
Once at the dock, John & Jeff needed assistance getting the old gal hoisted on the jib for the photo op. A local charter fisherman rushed over and tied the line off for us. We took multiple photos of the fish to make sure we had Shanna’s historic moment captured for all eternity.

During the course of taking photos there were several bald eagles who sat patiently on the dock waiting for someone to drop a scrap. We found ourselves intrigued at just how tame these magnificent birds were. After the photos were complete a deckhand from the same local charter fisherman’s boat offered to fillet the fish for us. What a welcome invitation! None of us were in the mood to clean this fish so we hurriedly took him up on his offer In less than 5 minutes he’d perfectly filleted the fish including it’s cheeks.

Shanna with her prize halibut in Sitka

We tried to tip him and he said no thanks, he was glad to do it. They also placed our halibut’s carcass with their fish remains so that it could be taken and dumped offshore. Sitka has rules that all carcasses must be dumped one-half mile outside the breakwaters. These fellows gave us a great first impression of the people of Sitka. These guys went out of their way to help us and they really didn’t have to bother, as chances are they’d never see us again anyway.
After the fish was cleaned, we tied up the boat and offloaded the fillets to the fish packing house worker who was waiting dockside. The worker also handed over the small electric motor which we needed to make the Wallas stove operational and resupplied us with ice for our coolers.


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