Halibut Fishing

Today’s prompt- What’s the best story someone else has recently told you (in person, preferably)? Share it with us, and feel free to embellish — that’s how good stories become great, after all.

Second-Hand Stories

This story comes from my father who loves telling stories and embellishing them. The story I am about to tell you for example he practiced to perform for a high school speech team to give them some pointers to make their speeches better. The entire story will be from his point of view.

“We were in Alaska for a week on a holiday, and while we were up there my wife and I did several activities that were both new and amazing. We went skiing on the Alaskan slopes, hiked our way up to a glacier and touched it despite the fact there was a sign saying not to, and we went Halibut fishing.

Let me tell you about my experience Halibut fishing and why everyone should do it at some point in their life.

I have never been fishing on the open ocean and neither had my wife so naturally we did some research online to see what sort of stuff we would need to prepare. We learned that we would need to dress warm, be ready to either hate it or love it, and to bring along some anti nausea medications.

The next morning we went to the docks and found the boat that would be taking us out into the ocean. When we got there I felt a small sense of panic. The boat that would be transporting us out into the open waters was not that large, I felt like all it would take was one wave and we would be swept away. The guide for our small ship was a smaller man, very reassuring and claimed he knew the waters extremely well.

We went on board and waited for everyone who would be joining us that day for this fishing excursion. Due to the size of the craft and how much space it had to fit fish, in the end there were five of us. Myself, my wife, the guide, a man I will call “Pukey”, and another man who won’t do much besides fish.

We launched from the docks and ventured out into the great blue that surrounded us. All around were the waves of the sea rocking the boat that I have now trusted my life too. I remembered some stat about after hitting the water if you aren’t removed in like a minute your body freezes up and you are unable to help your rescuers. My goal today, not to die while fishing.

After we stopped and got ourselves anchored our guide showed us the poles that we would be using and the size of the lines. They were massive, we had straps that would go around our whole body just to hold onto these things. Not my wife who weighs about 100 lbs is getting a little concerned because these fish can be as big as her.

We get cinched up and ready to go and that’s when it starts. Pukey has vomited for the first of several hundred times today.The rest of the trip will be conducted with the background noise of Pukey vomiting about every minute. Despite it all we stay out there and enjoy the fishing, even Pukey wants to keep fishing.

Now I have only ever fished in Colorado, Nebraska, and Wyoming; so I was wholly unprepared for the size of the fish  we would be catching today. When we first set our lines the guide came out with slabs of bait larger than some fish I have caught. He gets the bait on our hooks and we drop lines. The reel runs forever, just letting out line faster and faster but never hitting bottom. You never really know how deep the ocean is until you are trying to catch a oceanic bottom feeder with a fishing pole.

Ok so finally hooks are in the ocean and we are patiently waiting for our first fish of the day, and my line wiggles. I know you may think that is an embellishment that I caught the first fish, but wait and hear what happens to my fish that I caught and you’ll understand this isn’t an embellishment. The guide walks over puts his fingers on the string and goes, “not a halibut”. He instructs me when to start reeling in and eventually I get this fish to the top, sure enough not a halibut. I was impressed at this point the line was who knows how far beneath the water and he felt the string and knew it wasn’t the fish we wanted. I get my fish into the boat and to be completely honest it is the largest fish I have ever caught. Out guide takes it off the hook and comments “We’ll use this one for bait”, and before I can say anything my prize fish is cut in half and placed back on my hook.

Throughout the day at this point we catch nearly a hundred fish between all of us. It was a blast many small halibut and many more random fish. Our guide has been showing off by naming the kind of fish we are reeling just by feeling the line. It has been one hell of a day, but there are two specific stories to tell you about. We caught two Halibut that were over 90 lbs, well I say we but what I mean is I did on my wife’s line. Both fish were caught on her line but during times when she stepped away to do something else for a bit. After the second time she was glued to her pole, after all she wanted to catch a big one too and it had been her pole twice that caught the big fish.

The first Halibut that we caught my Wife had stepped away to go to the bathroom. Her line started jumping and I took charge of it to reel in whatever little fish the guide said it would be. I get over there and the guide says “Halibut and big one.” He teaches me now that I will need to reel with the rocking of the boat and that it will be a long process and tiring.

I started reeling this fish in. A long process was an understatement. It felt like an eternity. Reel in now, stop and wait, reel some more. On and on this went and eventually I see the fish. Now the guide looks directly at my wife who was watching at this point and says “Kara, get the gun”. My wife brings it to him, it is a .45 Revolver. He points the gun at the Halibut and shoots it. Zoom the Halibut was gone, all the way back to the floor, with a bullet in it now. I had to redo the process of reeling it back in and to be honest I don’t think it was any easier despite the bullet being lodged in its head.

Finally we got our first big catch up and into the boat. We put it with the other fish from the day and were going to be completely happy if that was our one big Halibut of the day. I was tired and worn out, I would have been fine letting everyone else catch a big Halibut and letting myself just rest catching these smaller fish the rest of the day.

My wife stepped away again, this time to grab some of the snacks we brought along. Sure enough her line jumps again, I go over and the guide starts laughing, “It’s a big Halibut.” I am not sure how well this is going to go so I start reeling the damn thing in. By the time I got it to the top the first time my arms were jello. Our guide without hesitation shoots the Halibut, vroom back to the bottom. I get this one back to the top and into tho boat, now I just want to sit down for a while. We spend the rest of the day out there on the ocean with Pukey, the guide, and the quiet man, but I am very excited when we see shore once again.

I learned some valuable things that day. 1. I like my feet to be firmly on the ground. 2. Always carry a gun while fishing. 3. Never leave your line for someone else. 4. I would love to do this all again.”

Thank you for reading. Have a wonderful day and enjoy Daylight Savings Time. I know I loved the extra hour of sleep.

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