> Here is my fish and the
> >story in The Anchorage Daily News.
Great story, Jeremy.
I have two events that happened when I was crab fishing that kind of relate
to that story. The first is about a 45-50lb halibut I caught in our 12'
aluminum skiff when I crab fished out of Kodiak in the 70's. I was hand lining with
a big halibut hook baited with 1/2 a herring [we chopped up herring to put in
our bait jars to help attract king crabs]. I used the treated line that we
used for web-mending on our crab pots for my fishing line. Anyhow, I had
fished for an hour or so in a couple of different spots when I finally got a bite.
It was a halibut. It took me a while, but I finally got the fish up and even
got him flopped into the boat. That's when all h--l broke loose. He started
flopping and banging about in the bottom of that thin-bottomed boat - and
feeling thinner with each flop, I might add. I tried to beat him with one of the
oars, but that only seemed to make matters worse. Fortunately, before he beat
a hole in the skiff or knocked me overboard, my skipper saw what was going on
and yelled for me to throw him back overboard. I'm pretty sure he was more
concerned about his skiff than about my safety. Anyway, with the help of the
oar, I got him back overboard; the hook was still attached and so after a
little manuevering, I got the skiff back alongside our crab boat and then hand
lined him back up to the surface where my skipper shot him once with a 357 mag and
put hime to rest. In my estimation, halibut is God's gift to the fish eating
The second story has to do with a halibut that was in one of our crab pots
one time. To illustrate how the halibut's size was incongruous with the size of
our crab pot tunnel opening, I'll give some details. The crab pot has a
metal frame, much like 1" or perhaps a little bigger, rebar, that is approximately
welded into an 8' x 8' x 2' open metal box and that is covered with webbing
that has maybe 2" weaves and an 8' x 2' webbed door that is held on with 3/8"
diameter poly or nylon rope. There's also a rope harness and first poly line
from the pot because it floats to keep it off the bottom and then nylon line
because it sinks to keep other boats' props from shearing it during their
travels. On two sides of the pots are 30" x 8" wide metal openings that the webbing
angles from the bottom of the pot up to the opening to give the crab an
easier incline to climb up, etc. Now, during tanner crab season [tanner crab are
know as "snow crab" in the market place as that has such an appealing sound to
it!] we would tie slats on the inside of our tunnels making the openings only
4" or so to keep out the larger king crabs but where the flatter tanner crabs
would still be able enter the pots. Also, of importance to the story, is the
fact that female tanner crabs are relatively small - typically only 2" or 3"
in diameter and maybe 1 1/2"-2" thick with short legs - and prime food items
for halibut. On the other hand, male tanner crab were from 4"-8" in diameter,
a little thicker than the females and the males have very long legs which also
acted as a halibut deterrent. Male & female crabs seem to travel in somewhat
seperate migrations, although there is some overlap. We were, unfortunately,
mainly setting our pots on the female migration [can't harvest females] with
few males, so we were pulling our pots and stacking them on deck to move to
what we hoped would be better locations with more legal-sized males. We pulled
one of our pots from about 75 fathoms of water and there, in the crab pot, was
a very large halibut. Although not dead, it was so close to it that it
didn't even flop when we opened the crab pot door to drop it on the deck. Now
here's the unbelievable part - that fish was almost 5' long, about 32" wide at its
widest and at least 6" thick at its thickest. How did that big boy get in
there? Your guess is as good as mine.
Fish stories - shoot, some of 'em are even true.
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