I recently met a new client Eric and his party at the ship’s gangway. He came with his buddy Mark and their two boys, both under 12. They visited our little hamlet on the Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Joy. They booked me well over a month ago for a 6 hour halibut excursion.
Wearing their Xtratufs and halibut worship shirts, I had the feeling we were in for a good morning.
We ran as quickly as the RJ (Rosemary June) could carry us. The RJ took us a little further than even I was expecting. On arrival we encountered a group of humpback whales busy bubble feeding. We watched in awe as the group swam around the boat feeding themselves, babies, juveniles, and full grown adults. “They are the size of a school bus,” I said to one of the boys. That comment started a plethora of questions about them and their calves. Then I relayed a story of how once, while trolling kings, I ran into a whale with the downrigger balls. But that’s a story for another post.
The guys joked that they could probably cancel their whale watching tour in Juneau for the next day.
The Big One
We dropped the anchor in our self-designated spot and started fishing. Within in half an hour, we had a couple hits, but nothing good. Eventually Eric, with his “special jigging technique,” hit the motherload!
Reeling in was a fight. And the halibut on the line wasn’t giving in. Slowly but surely the Shimano Tekota 800 with 200lb braided test won the argument. Then we had our first fish next to the boat. “She’s too big!”…a common comment on board the Rosemary June, and we released a nice 100 lb fish.
They do exist! So we knew we were on a good spot, and the whales were showing us the way. Just a little more fishing quickly rewarded us with 4 more fish: two more large and in charge ladies hovering around 80lbs and a double serving of chicken-sized fish for the guys to take home and enjoy.
Obviously, we don’t target the big fish that are too big to land. We like filling the freezer, but sometimes we just get carried away. We like big Halibuts, I cannot lie.