The Three Harpoon Halibut

After one last soak in the hots springs, Ptarmigan and Idyll Time say goodbye to  Baranof Warm Springs and head south on  Chatham Strait.  Point Gardner is calm today but we do have limited visibility due to thick fog. After the  appearance of several kayakers transversing Chatham Strait, we are on a sharp lookout.  Ptarmigan is headed back to Petersburg to unload all of their fish.  With only a  few King Salmon in our freezer, our sights are now set on finding a nice size halibut.  

We are soon joined by a group of Pacific White Sided Dolphins as they play in our bow wake. 

The large rafts of sea otters have made their way to this end of Frederick Sound. It is alarming how large the sea otter population has grown from last year.

We anchor on a few humps in Frederick Sound at high tide and set out the halibut rigs.  After several hours of no action, we call it a day and head to an anchorage known as Honeydew.  This is one of our favorite anchorages in Alaska.  There is room really for only one boat off the beautiful sandy beach.  Luckily no other boats are in the anchorage and we soon have the anchor set.

While at anchor, we hang a hummingbird feeder from our side deck. It is always fun to watch these little guys once they find the feeder  zoom around the boat.

The rain sets in and we opt to stay put the next day in lieu of halibut fishing.  Although, we do always set out a fishing rod with halibut bait while at anchor.  We have caught quite a few halibut fishing this way. The heads and tails from our King Salmon catch a few days ago make excellent bait.  At high tide our rod starts singing.  A halibut runs with the salmon head but never hooks up. At least we know there are halibut lurking below.  The next high tide is 8 PM.  We will be ready for them. Like clockwork, the halibut returns at high tide and this time the circle hook has a grip on him.  After about 15 minutes, we have him on the surface and Jeff harpoons him.  He is a good size halibut. Just as we are about to relax, the halibut thrashes and our fishing line is now paying out again.  How did that happen? The steel leader to the harpoon line broke!  He is now angry and wounded as he runs another 200 feet.  After some scrambling, we find a second harpoon tip and slowly coax  him back to the surface. With him resting calmly on the surface, Jeff takes another shot with the harpoon.    This one doesn’t penetrate completely and we are worried about loosing him.  Another scramble up to the dinghy, and we locate our only remaking harpoon tip.  The third time is a charm, and we now have him securely harpooned.  He measures 57” which translates to about 90 pounds.

It is now 9 pm so Jeff quickly guts and gills him before tying  him to the dive platform.  We let him rest there overnight hoping that no sea lions come to snatch him.  The next morning we filet him into the four pieces as allowed by the fishing regulations.  We end up with 43 pounds of fillet.  These four pieces are way to big for our freezer so it’s time to head into Petersburg to process and put in cold storage.

The Sea Lions are all asleep today as motor into Wrangell Narrows on the flood tide.  

Petersburg has a great 4th of July celebration so we look forward to a few days in port. Thanks for following along!

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