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Thread: killing large halibut and lings

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    Default killing large halibut and lings

    Though I would bring the subject to get an idea what anglers think. After reading the mercury reports a Halibut over 50lbs or a ling between 40" and 45"s is rated the same as a yelloweye with high mercury warnings. A halibut over 90lbs or a ling over 45"s is rated with sharks and spiney dogfish as a very high mercury warning. This seems to be just one more reason to let the big Halibut go adding to the fact they are a depleted and declining resource along with not being as good to eat as the smaller more plentiful ones.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    All halibut stocks are declining, it's just a cyclical thing.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Alot like to take the big one's... When i take friends out they know the boat rules on anything over 100# goes back. I am not going to bring a big cow on board without having to kill it nor do i want it. I don't have a problem giving some of my catch to friend that go out I will not eat it all. I have seen a drop in the catch over the past 5 years i sure hope the cycle comes back in my life time. I like the 40# the best.

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    Member BRWHUNTER's Avatar
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    RedLeader, where are you getting this information? NRDC? I would like to read the original article.

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    Yeah, lets see the actual study on this. For my personal use, I like 60-120's. Nice thick steaks.

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    OF course this is all predicated on the idea that we actually CATCH fish more than 90 lbs...........In the Juneau and Icy Straits area last year myself and friends/relatives kept around 40 halibut last year inmy boat according to my notes. MAYBE 5 of them were greater than 50 pounds and none were more than 80. Because I fish a lot, and do not enjoy wrestling with the larger halibut, I will likely release anything greater than 90 because I don't need a freezer THAT full and I don't want the hassle. But to you guys with the barndoor holes I guess this is relevant news

    I personally prefer em from 20 to 40. I cut the fillets into slabs that will bake or grill evenly, all the trimmings and tail pieces go into a separate "chunk" bag that goes for the fish tacos, deep fries, and chowder recipes. The few over 50 we got last year are kind of a pain if you ask me. A thrill to have a fish pull that hard for sure but for the eating I don't want these big toads anyway. I'm only two months from being able to head out for halibut again and I still have plenty of butt in the freezer so unless my fishing time is going to get slashed, I have no problem letting the big ones go if I can.

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    The mercury scare tactics is nothing new. Back in the '60s' they came out with the same thing. It was a obvious tactic to save our larger spawning sows. At that time, we were getting 28--32 cents a lb., except for fish over 100lbs, we only gotta dime!
    When ya consider that 90% of all fish over 100lbs, is supposedly a sow, and that 100% of all fish over 125 lbs, is supposedly a spawing sow, and supposedly, all large sows will spawn from 2 to 6 million eggs a year, I personnally prefer to shake the larger gals, however, there have been times, that before I can cut'er loose, my lady has allready sunk a harpoon into'er!
    Twink

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catch It View Post
    I'm only two months from being able to head out for halibut again and I still have plenty of butt in the freezer so unless my fishing time is going to get slashed, I have no problem letting the big ones go if I can.
    I kept the 15-30's for years. They were fine and going more often was the bonus. Now that I'm married, a kid, and don't have the personal time like I used to, (not to mention 70 charters where we can't keep even 1) I like 3 nice un's for the freezer. We eat hali 2x a week, all year long.

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    Yeah, when the schedule changes for me (probably coming soon) I'll likely be less forgiving of halibut obesity if I know I've only got a handful of trips each year. We scarf the halibut pretty good too. In Bristol Bay it was all moose and salmon......now it's butt, deer, rockfish, fresh kings and crab....SE is a pretty rich place, and having halibut always in the freezer is like a dream come true.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    We don't normally catch many big butts on my boat. That being said I will leave it up to the individual angler to keep a bigger fish or not.
    I always find it funny when somone says I caught one over 100# or 200# or whatever and they will not keep another one and nobody else should either. Well they got their fish and the picture to prove it. Many others have not.
    How do you tell someone who has caught the fish of their lifetime and the first big one they ever caught that they have to let it go without them getting peaved at you. Especially someone who wants the meat and will eat it all.
    I agree the smaller fish are better eating. I also agree many of those big fish should be released to pass those genetics on.
    But for people to say that even though it is legal to keep one under no circumstances should anyone do so. I don't agree with that.
    Especially if you are one of those people who have already kept one in the past. What's good for the goose is not good for the gander?
    Now I will say if a person catches a few bigger fish they should consider releasing the big ones. That and A 200 pounder is way more than the average family can eat in a year especially when you throw in a limit of smaller fish in the same trip.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    See the thread on yelloweye and the report was posted by Homer Dave page 17 shows the comparisons, halibut over 90lbs, lings over 45"s, salmon shark and spiney dogfish should be limited to once a week for children and women who are pregnant or plan to be in the future. Halibut over 50lbs lings between 40-45" and yelloweye should be limited to twice a week. I released about a dozen large fish last year and kept one that swallowed the hook and will not do that again, in my opinion the larger fillets are much poorer quality and don't hold a candle to the smaller ones let alone the grouper, red snapper, dorado, wahoo and tuna I'm comparing it to. My feeder kings are still in the top 3 though.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The real question regarding releasing the larger fish regards whether or not that is really what causes the stock to decline. If the cause of the halibut stock declining is because not enough eggs are being laid, then yes don't keep the cows. However is the issue is the ocean conditions and forage for the halibut stocks will only support X tons of halibut, then it really comes down to how many pounds of halibut are taken each year from commercial, by catch and sport caught fish combined.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul H View Post
    The real question regarding releasing the larger fish regards whether or not that is really what causes the stock to decline. If the cause of the halibut stock declining is because not enough eggs are being laid, then yes don't keep the cows. However is the issue is the ocean conditions and forage for the halibut stocks will only support X tons of halibut, then it really comes down to how many pounds of halibut are taken each year from commercial, by catch and sport caught fish combined.
    I don't think the real question is what you are saying. The stocks have declined because there haver been too many halibut taken as by catch and by the directed fishery. This has been allowed because the mathematical algorithms used by the biologists were flawed, allow too many fish to be taken for quite some time. They say now that they have fixed the problem but getting the stocks to recover is taking longer than anticipated because of some weak year classes through 2016. So the problem is not a cyclical thing. It is a problem with over harvest from all sectors...But since the directed fishery takes 80%, they took more of the extra fish that resulted in the situation. To further complicate this problem, trawlers in the Gulf of Alaska are not currently required to have much observer coverage ( now it will be 15% of their trips -at most) this leaves them being on the honor system for by catch of halibut the rest of the time. They are probably taking 10 or 20 times what the observers are reporting, maybe more.....
    I don't think there is any documentation in our history we have seen stocks of halibut limited by prey availability. There is plenty of fish on the ocean to feed a biomass of halibut much larger than anything we have seen.

    So why let them go if all this other stuff is going on??

    Well for one, it is the right thing to do, by all means keep 80 pound halibut for the freezer but huge ones, 150 plus....there is something about them, that allowed those animals to avoid predation, disease, infections, and us for all those years. They are females and lay millions of eggs, with the same genetic characteristics that allowed that one to live for 25 or more years.

    Second if you have killed a big one already, there is no good reason to kill another, been there, done that. a couple of fat 60 to 80 pounders ought to do the job of filling the freezer or a half dozen chickens. Save the monsters for someone who has never even seen a big one before. You are doing your fellow fishing bro's a favor by giving them a shot at her too.

    By now you are saying....Listen to who's talking....One of the kings of killing hog halibut and that my friends is the inescapable truth...I have guided fishermen to a wholesale slaughter of hog halibut like few before me or since.....Does that make it right? Not really but we have all done things we would rather have not, knowing what we do now. Seeing the condition of the halibut resource now, and what it was just ten short seasons ago, I wish I knew then what I know now......

    Even now, if you pay to fish on my boat, and you catch a 200 - 400 pound halibut, out side of the June ( derby time) I would ask you to please consider releasing a fish that size, but if you choose to take it, I will, without any further discussion, kill the fish and pull it in the boat. It is my job. But if you choose to let them live, I will take you again for nothing. Just my little part of paying it forward.

    We have been releasing a whole lot more big fish in the last ten years, especially on our overnight and long range trips where they can still be fairly common ( 33 over 100 pounds and 6 or 8 over 150 last year on those trips).

    For you private boat guys, you can let them go if you already been there and done that knowing that you are in fact doing a good thing for that fish, other fisherman and maybe some big halibut that comes from the one you released 30 years in the future.

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    Good point Kasilofchris. If I caught a pig I would release it but if you want to keep it then go right ahead. I don't fault you for it one bit. The comfish fleet is not going to release any big pigs so why not keep one if you want to.

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    Good point Kasilofchris. If I caught a pig I would release it but if you want to keep it then go right ahead. I don't fault you for it one bit. The comfish fleet is not going to release any big pigs so why not keep one if you want to.

    I don't think using the commercial halibut longline fleet's behavior one way or the other really gets at what I said above.

    Sport fishing, fishing for fun is different and it is a personal decision, do what you want..But there are reasons to release big fish that are as valid as the reasons to keep them. Knowledge about the the situation and then doing what seems right is all that matters. if that means dragging a big one in for a photo and then trying to eat it, feels right....then by all means do it.

    The Mercury issue is just one more reason why those of us that eat halibut all the time might have a reason not to choke down those four inch thick blocks of meat, when the one inch thick ones are healthier. Then again, those of us who are old already who the hell cares about a little more heavy metal in our brains...

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    Member redleader's Avatar
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    Thanks for your insight AK Capt. A very noble thing to do offering a free trip for the release of a 200+lber Fins up to you.

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    AKCAPT, I think ya just answered a question that has been puzzlein' me for years. Why is it that all the old, Spawned out sourdoughs, allways grumpy,
    obnoxious, nasty ol' *****es?? Heavy Metal!!! We done ate to many of them nasty ol' halibut, ling, yellow eye, and worst of all, them durn short rackers. Holy smokes, that durn Boey Keg that I caught last year, had to be durn near 200 years old, and at least 50% pure mercury. YUP, I think that it must be because our minds are plumb loaded with heavy metal!
    Twink

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    You hit it on the head! I know more then one charter that offers a free or reduced price to let big fish go. Some of them even have IFQ's, and have no problem killing big fish. I would too because if it is legal you have to retain it, plus you get higher price for bigger fish.
    Quote Originally Posted by kgpcr View Post
    Good point Kasilofchris. If I caught a pig I would release it but if you want to keep it then go right ahead. I don't fault you for it one bit. The comfish fleet is not going to release any big pigs so why not keep one if you want to.

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    i dont have a problem keeping the big ones,.. i would love to pull a 200 plus in and mash his dome, but that would probly be it for a seson,.. full freezer!

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    if you let all the big ones go the longliners will like you as they get more money per pound I think, it might help with the stocks is put the lenght
    rule for every one , not just the longliners , it won't hurt I see some of the guides bring in some very small BUTT'S

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