Tuesday, June 19 , 2018, 8:17 am | Fair 58º


Local News

Captain’s Log: Getting a Little Too Intimate With a Halibut


It is no secret that halibut are mighty tasty fish and command high prices in fish markets and restaurants. They are so good that it is hard to mess up fixing them for dinner because they will probably taste good anyways.

It should be no surprise that when an angler has one on the line, he or she is totally focused and intent on not losing such a fabulous fish.

Years ago I was surf fishing with a buddy named Greg when he was lucky enough to hook a very nice halibut that weighed just under 20 pounds, a true prize from the surf zone that yielded enough meat to feed a big hungry family.

It was an intense battle and Greg tuned the rest of the world out to live in the moment for that fish alone.

The early part of fight went well and the halibut came gliding into shallow water where waves wash up onto the sand, then recede.

This is the most dangerous part of the fight when the greatest chance exists of losing the prize dinner. There is very little line out, and the remaining line has been rubbed raw by the sand and the fish.

The force of the receding waves can place too great a strain on light line and you can count on the fish to exacerbate the problem.

I was coaching my friend, but he was too focused to hear me. Just as Greg thought he may be able to pull the fish up onto the sand with the help of an incoming wave, that fish flopped wildly, got a tooth on the line and busted off.

Everyone on the beach could hear Greg scream, but as the sound built, Greg flew into action, launching himself at the retreating fish. He landed square on that halibut and wrapped himself around it using his body, his arms and his legs. He held it tight and the waves washed over the both of them.

Well, this went on a bit too long for my comfort level and I told Greg that he was going to have to stop spooning with that halibut.

He didn’t listen and just laid there, wrapped around that fish. Another full minute went by and wave after wave washed over them.

I decided the long, intimate moment should earn Greg a nickname, so I mentally cut the name of the fish in half, walked up, got a solid grip on the fish by the gills and sternly said, “Okay Halispoon, you got to quit being intimate with your dinner.”

After carefully determining that I had a guaranteed grip on the critter of his culinary desires, he got up, much to the amusement of the throng of fascinated onlookers.

Greg has worn the nickname “Halispoon” ever since. Actually, I think I was being kind.

Had I used the other half of the fish’s name, the nickname could have been “Spoonbut,” which isn’t so nice, or “Butspoon,” which would really be unkind.

So I think I let him off easy… especially since I wasn’t invited over for a halibut dinner. Just as well though, I don’t know that I could have eaten that fish, much as I love eating halibut.

— Capt. David Bacon operates WaveWalker Charters and is president of SOFTIN Inc., a nonprofit organization providing seafaring opportunities for those in need. Visit softininc.blogspot.com to learn more about the organization and how you can help. Click here to read previous columns. The opinions expressed are his own.

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