So you wanna talk about big fish? How about really BIG fish?
We’ve always been pretty well renowned as “the place to go” for big salmon and that’s still the case. But in recent years we’ve been exploring our halibut fishing opportunities and have steadily discovered that our halibut fishery is pretty impressive too!
Historically most QCL guests caught their limit of halibut incidentally while they were mooching for salmon. Many didn’t want to be bothered going out to deeper water to jig for bottom fish, as long as they had a couple in the box to take home for the family!
But as our guide team has grown we’ve brought expert anglers on board that have a love for these big flatties and they’re keen to go out and find them! The waters of Virago Sound are relatively shallow and we do most of our halibut fishing in less than 200 feet of water – tons of fish and not much work to get them. But these halibut hunters have dotted our charts with several undersea features that harbour the storied “barn-door” sized fish. We’ve set them up with the heavy tackle required to handle fish over 100 pounds and they regularly go out there and find them! Now QCL guests are hooking into giant halibut every week!
Last year between June 4th and August 26th we awarded 36 anglers the QCL Gold Halibut pin for fish over 100 pounds. Our 13-year-old record of 183 lb. was broken 6 times! This week the bar was raised once again. The 2014 record of 255 pounds was broken by lodge angler Dave Bossons, fishing with QCL staff Rob Clough and Ryan Ashton. Fishing a Gibbs Mudraker at 280 feet, they hooked up almost as soon as it reached bottom. But that started a tug of war shared by all 3 guys that lasted an hour and forty minutes before they saw the giant fish on the surface!
Of course everybody wants to catch a big fish… Dave wanted to catch a big fish too. The question is what do you do once you’ve caught it? That was exactly the dilemma facing them. Can you describe how big this fish really is? How can we measure it? How best to release it? All large halibut are breeding females and any over 133 cm. length must be released. These guys are all very experienced anglers but the shear size of this fish blew them away! After several minutes of carefully maneuvering the halibut around the surface they were able to take a measurement with the long handle of the salmon net before removing the hook.
The length from nose to tail was 80 inches (203 cm.) and it was 48 inches across the widest point. According to the chart published by the International Pacific Halibut Commission that fish was 277 pounds! Incredible catch fellas! And of course the nice thing is, it’s still swimming around out there! Congratulations to Dave, Rob and Ryan on an awesome fish! And remember, it’s only the middle of June!