They tied the still thrashing halibut to the back of the kayak, and made it back to shore where the fish measured almost 55 inches and weighed an estimated 80 pounds.
Another big fish story has been reeled in, and this one ranks in the lore of David and Goliath.
One of the hardest challenges for boat anglers is catching a giant halibut, but just imagine doing it aboard a 14-foot kayak.
That is just what Brad Hole of Ballard did May 9 while fishing off the Northwestern coast.
Hole and a group of friends from the Northwest Kayak Anglers organization spent a few days fishing for halibut, lingcod and bottomfish outside of Hobuck Beach at Neah Bay.
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A couple weeks before, Hole and a friend had taken their Hobie Pro Angler Kayaks up to the area to fish the lingcod opener when he hooked, but never saw, what he thought was a big halibut in 25 feet of water.
“I knew the fish were hanging in shallow water so when we returned I stayed within a couple miles from shore in 40 to 90 feet of water,” Hole said.
It didn’t take long for Hole to hook into something big.
On the first drop of the morning, Hole let his bait — an 8-inch whole flounder — on a spreader bar with a 12-ounce weight down to the bottom in 40 feet of water.
“The fish fought hard for about 15 minutes, and pulled me around and then I finally got it to the surface,” said Hole who prepared to try out his homemade harpoon attached to a crab float.
“I tried to get my kayak in position, and threw the harpoon toward the halibut and missed,” said Hole. “The water exploded around me, and then the fish began peeling off fishing line.”
“The fish went several hundred yards out to sea, and I yelled at one of my buddies nearby to grab my harpoon,” he said.
His friend followed nearby, and Hole managed to bring the giant fish back up to the surface. He got into position again, and this time the harpoon struck the fish.
They tied the still-thrashing halibut to the back of the kayak, and made it back to shore where the fish measured almost 55 inches and weighed an estimated 80 pounds.
“That was definitely a fish of a lifetime to catch in a kayak,” Hole said. “My friend (Rory O’Conner) caught a 71-pound halibut on his kayak (last season).”
That same day, three of his friends also managed to hook into some halibut, each weighing about 30 pounds, and they all caught their limits of lingcod.
Final razor clam digs set for Memorial Day weekend
There will be one last chance for razor clam diggers to ply a coastal beach after a blissful season that lasted nearly eight months.
Twin Harbors will be open this Friday through May 26. Digging is allowed until noon each day. All other beaches — Long Beach, Copalis and Mocrocks — are closed.
Since the season opened last October through May 26, diggers will have harvested more than 5 million razor clams during 178 days of digging compared to 85 days in 2011-12 season and 138 in 2010-11. That is a significant increase.
The outings May 8-14 at Twin Harbors and Long Beach were excellent.
At Long Beach, 5,600 diggers May 10-11 dug 84,600 clams for an average of 15 clams per person (the first 15 clams dug regardless of size or condition is a daily limit).
“There was some clam wastage (where diggers discard smaller clams on the beach) at Long Beach, but nothing horrible,” Ayres said.
At Twin Harbors, 7,400 diggers May 8-14 dug 113,000 clams for average of 15 per person.
Fisheries managers will begin assessing clam populations and surveys this summer, and will come out with proposals by late August or September.
Low tides: Friday, minus-1.7 feet at 6:34 a.m.; Saturday, -2.2 at 7:21 a.m.; and May 26, -2.4 at 8:09 a.m.
Mark Yuasa: 206-464-8780 or firstname.lastname@example.org