Every fisherman enjoys telling the tale of his or her biggest fish! The memories of those noteworthy catches last a lifetime, and they keep one inspired to continue spending time in the great outdoors. I’ve been blessed to catch quite a few big fish myself over the years, but there’s especially one that I’ll never forget! In this blog and video, for your outdoor entertainment, I’ll share with you the rather unique story of a giant fish, a tiny boat, and an unforgettable battle on the high seas of Kodiak Island, Alaska.
During the summer of 2011, I moved from St. Charles, Missouri to Kodiak Island, Alaska, and in many ways that first summer was also the most exciting. I was new to the island and I was giddy with excitement! I wanted to learn all I possibly could and explore every inch of my new Alaska home. While I was quite busy with work, I made it a point to spend as much free time as I could roaming the woods and waters of Kodiak. In the weeks and months that followed my arrival, I made many new friends and acquaintances, one of who invited me along to do some halibut fishing. Now I’d fished for halibut before in other parts of Alaska over the years, and I absolutely loved it! But as this was to be my first Kodiak halibut trip, I was especially excited. For those of you who have never fished for halibut, it’s typically done in a good-sized boat out in the ocean…sometimes waaaaay out in the ocean in some very vast and deep waters, as halibut are a flatfish who roam the bottom of the sea in search of their prey. Halibut can get very big and they can put up an unbelievably tough fight, sometimes even requiring firepower and harpoons to bring them aboard. Along with being a big, tough fish, they are also deeeeelicious, as halibut is esteemed all around the world as a prized fish for the dinner table.
For folks like myself who seek to fill the freezer and live off the fish and wild game they harvest themselves, all it takes is a few successful halibut fishing trips to get a year’s supply of tasty fillets. So as you can imagine, I couldn’t wait to get out there and try my luck at bringing home some fresh halibut…especially since I didn’t own or have access to a big ocean-going boat.
Well, as it turned out, the person I went fishing with on that fateful trip didn’t have a big ocean-going boat either! That morning, he picked me up in his pickup truck, which had a small, beat-up aluminum rowboat in the back. I didn’t think much of it at the time and figured we’d just be using that small boat to get out to a larger boat that was tied up on a mooring anchor somewhere. As I soon found out though, that was not the case! We were, indeed, heading out to sea in search of halibut in that small, beat-up aluminum rowboat! Thus, upon arriving at our secret fishing location, we loaded up the tiny boat with our halibut fishing gear, including our life jackets and safety gear, and started paddling away…out from the calm waters of the bay and into the open sea!
I have to admit I was a little nervous, as the tide was coming in and the waves were getting larger and larger the farther we went out. I got even more nervous when several big charter boats passed us by and looked at us like we were out of our minds! Perhaps we were! Thankfully, we finally stopped before getting too far out. In hindsight, I don’t believe we were in any significant danger given the circumstances, but for a guy fresh off the boat from the Midwest, I have to admit that I was a little freaked out by it all! After all, boats like the one we were in were used for crappie fishing in tiny farm ponds where I was from, not for heading out into the ocean and going after big, giant fish!
And, speaking of big, giant fish, that’s exactly what we got into shortly after getting into position. Not long after we started fishing away with our heavy halibut rods, we landed a couple of nice fish in the 25 to 50-pound range. And shortly after that, I hooked into one much bigger! I didn’t get any of the fish battle on video unfortunately, but it was quite a fight! After finally reeling the fish up to the boat, we had a heck of a time getting it in the boat. And after getting it in the boat, the fish was flopping around so violently that it almost knocked us out of the boat! We eventually subdued the fish with a couple of good whacks on the head from the fish club and headed back to shore.
Upon getting back to the beach and taking a good look at that giant halibut, I realized that this was, indeed, the biggest fish I had ever caught, and most notably, I caught it from the smallest boat I had ever fished out of. Halibut can certainly get much bigger, but it was by far my biggest one yet. That one fish filled a good portion of my freezer for the upcoming year and it was absolutely delicious! All in all, it was one of those fishing adventures that I’ll never forget. And that’s the beauty of fishing, you just never, ever know what’s going to happen on any given outing. Those incredible, unforgettable experiences and those legendary fish can be caught when you least expect it. So get out there and make those memories happen for yourself! Just be very safe if you’re heading out on big water in a tiny boat!
Check out the video below to see more…