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Thread: Halibut breaking a leg? Ha!

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    Default Halibut breaking a leg? Ha!

    The recent thread on "Dispatching a Halibut" mentioned something that I consider an Alaska legend - something I've heard but never believed.

    Ever since I can remember, I've heard warnings about not bringing a halibut onboard a boat because "they'll break your leg!", or some other similar claim.

    I chuckle every time I hear this. Yeah, for obvious reasons you don't want a big halibut thrashing around on deck, but can anyone point to a first-hand, specific, verifiable incident where a halibut literally broke someone's leg? Or broke any bone on a person for that matter?

    In all my years of commercial fishing, I never heard of it - never once heard of a halibut whacking someone hard enough to break their bones. Sure, plenty of times I heard of guys taking a hook from a thrashing fish - but breaking bones? C'mon...I'm calling b.s. on that one. Prove me wrong, and please no comments how they *could* or *might* break your bones - lemme hear of a case where they actually did.


    p.s. Loved Spoiledone's comments on dispatching halibut. I admit that a couple times I've shot halibut for precisely the same reasons:

    "but I still shoot the big ones if we are going to keep them because I can. Is it necessary? No, but people from the lesser 48 that I take out talk about it for ages. "Up there in Alaska they have to shoo the fish they are so large!" An aluminum bat hit behind the top eye works well, too. Just not as dramatic. I always hit them with the harpoon first, though. I would hate to knock one off the hook."

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    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
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    This guy claims it's true

    http://alaskaclassicadventures.com/h...a_halibut.html

    I once saw a deckhand pull up a 50 pound halibut onto the deck without shooting or clubbing the fish. He tried to subdue the angry, twitching fish, the halibut's tail came back smacked him in the knee and broke his leg. There are many horror stories out there of black eyes, cracked ribs, and broken bones.
    by Marc Theiler

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    Member Bullelkklr's Avatar
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    Default To add to the question...

    ...I always hear tell about the people that get stuck in the mud flats at ship or in the cook - and the helimobopter pulled them plumb in TWO....Did this really happen?

  4. #4

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    yes pulled in two has really happened

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsiutoo View Post
    The recent thread on "Dispatching a Halibut" mentioned something that I consider an Alaska legend - something I've heard but never believed.

    Ever since I can remember, I've heard warnings about not bringing a halibut onboard a boat because "they'll break your leg!", or some other similar claim.

    I chuckle every time I hear this. Yeah, for obvious reasons you don't want a big halibut thrashing around on deck, but can anyone point to a first-hand, specific, verifiable incident where a halibut literally broke someone's leg? Or broke any bone on a person for that matter?

    In all my years of commercial fishing, I never heard of it - never once heard of a halibut whacking someone hard enough to break their bones. Sure, plenty of times I heard of guys taking a hook from a thrashing fish - but breaking bones? C'mon...I'm calling b.s. on that one. Prove me wrong, and please no comments how they *could* or *might* break your bones - lemme hear of a case where they actually did.


    p.s. Loved Spoiledone's comments on dispatching halibut. I admit that a couple times I've shot halibut for precisely the same reasons:

    "but I still shoot the big ones if we are going to keep them because I can. Is it necessary? No, but people from the lesser 48 that I take out talk about it for ages. "Up there in Alaska they have to shoo the fish they are so large!" An aluminum bat hit behind the top eye works well, too. Just not as dramatic. I always hit them with the harpoon first, though. I would hate to knock one off the hook."
    Never saw the broken leg, but watched a crewmate get nutted by one about 150#. He stepped over it just as it flipped that big old tail up.

    Actually he didn't lose them, so he wasn't really nutted.

    Just picture a pair of purple ones the size of grapefruit.

    I'll take a broken leg any day.

  6. #6
    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    I've seen plenty of guys with cracked ribs from halibut fishing, but the most recent spate has been from tripping on the fish or slipping on the slime and falling on the deck of the boat.

    I have seen a large fish literally beat the transom off of a bayliner, and I've personally had the swim step ripped off the transom. It only takes about a 40 or 50# fish to beat the bottom or transom out of a riveted aluminum skiff if left "frisky"...

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

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    Member pike_palace's Avatar
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    Actually, a man back in the 70's was killed by a halibut out of Petersburg. About a 150# halibut hit the man in the leg and severed an artery plus he cracked 3 ribs. Troopers found him in his boat swamped in the surf.
    "Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.

  8. #8

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    Quote Originally Posted by CanCanCase View Post

    I've seen plenty of guys with cracked ribs from halibut fishing,

    -Case

    Can you put me in touch with any of them? I'd love to hear their stories of how it happened.

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    Member CanCanCase's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tsiutoo View Post
    Can you put me in touch with any of them? I'd love to hear their stories of how it happened.
    You're "in touch" with one right now! ;-P

    I was crossing my deck 3 summers ago and as I was stepping over the fish's tail he arched up and I tripped... as I braced for the fall against the railing, my "grounded" foot slipped out from under me (too much fish slime on deck!) For a brief instant, neither of my feet were on deck. When I landed, I had about 90% of my weight (those who know me know that's quite a bit of weight!) was on my rib cage against the railing... I heard the first 2 crack, and ended up with 3 broken in all...

    Boat policy now is that anything too large to fit in the fish boxes doesn't even come aboard. Once anything approaching 50# is harpooned or tailed, I cut their gills and put a shark hook through the jaw... it's easy enough to lash their head and tail to the 2 hand-holds I've got on my transom, and the fish just rides on the swim platform.

    I towed a 16' Crestliner back to Tenakee last summer and gave a kid a ride back home on my boat after a 40-ish# fish beat one of the seams loose. I found the poor kid sitting in his skiff with a dead halibut and water up to within 3" of the rail... (he was a little cold.)

    -Case
    M/V CanCan - 34' SeaWolf - Bandon, OR
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

  10. #10

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    No broken leg, but a solid tail slap to the face!! This is kind of funny though...because it didnt happen to me .

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t2UAQ...eature=related
    Random guy in Fly shop: "Where did this happen???? In real life or in Alaska?"

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default I remember this

    Quote Originally Posted by pike_palace View Post
    Actually, a man back in the 70's was killed by a halibut out of Petersburg. About a 150# halibut hit the man in the leg and severed an artery plus he cracked 3 ribs. Troopers found him in his boat swamped in the surf.
    I had just moved to Sitka in 1973 when this story was printed in the Sentinal. The old fisherman was known to have a fear of being drowned and eaten by crabs. He tied himself to a mast or something in order to be found with his boat. It is most certainly a true story.

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    Member L. G.'s Avatar
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    I've done both the harpoon and shooting.

    With the harpoon, the butt will go ballistic once stabbed and all hell breaks loose for a while.

    When you shoot 'em, they are stunned. Much easier to get a shark hook in the mouth and a lasso around the tail. That's why I have no problem with shooting them. Now if I were running a charter and had paying customers on board, I don't think I'd use a firearm. Or if the WX was rough.

    Here's a 200#er tied along side. They can't do much damage like this. I recall having a 70# half filleted at the dock (one side of meat gone) and it was still FLOPPING!.


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    Default What big teeth you have!

    My cousin runs a charter down here out of Berkeley. When he used to deckhand, he brought the guy's fish in and clubbed it. When he went to remove the hook (so I heard), dang thing's jaws got his middle finger. By the time he got home, his hand was so swollen, he could hardly drive! Ended up in the hospital for a week on antibiotics! He ended up with huge bandage; when asked what happened, he'd hold his hand up and he'd automatically be flipping you the bird...
    Obv, it was a small Calif sized halibut...cannot imagine what those big guys in Alaska would do your finger....

  14. #14

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    In the late '70's my boss and another guy I worked with wrestled a pretty big halibut on board, and in the process of dealing with it, it did a "flip-flop" and the knife one of them was holding ended up cutting the boss on back of his wrist, severing a tendon among other things. He was medevac'd to ANC for surgery. They put his forearm in a cast with the hand bent backward at about 90 degrees. He was in that for a long time. I guess it finally healed OK. Nobody ever really got the whole story on it. I'm pretty sure alcohol was involved.

  15. #15

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    Quote Originally Posted by Homertime View Post
    In the late '70's my boss and another guy I worked with wrestled a pretty big halibut on board, and in the process of dealing with it, it did a "flip-flop" and the knife one of them was holding ended up cutting the boss on back of his wrist, severing a tendon among other things. He was medevac'd to ANC for surgery. They put his forearm in a cast with the hand bent backward at about 90 degrees. He was in that for a long time. I guess it finally healed OK. Nobody ever really got the whole story on it. I'm pretty sure alcohol was involved.
    Yeah, when those big halibut have been drinking, they can be real nasty! (sorry, couldn't resist)
    "The Gods do not subtract from the allotted span of men's lives the hours spent in fishing" Assyrian Tablet 2000 B.C.

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    Back in 1980 was working a halibut boat out of homer. Had heard the stories the big ones could break your leg. (never saw t happen). We had a 410 snake charmer in a rack that we could shoot the big ones with. (a box of slugs next to it) This was my first trip at working on a halibut boat and when we got a big one up I grabbed the 410 and shot. Best head shot I ever made. CUT THE LINE, and it started sinking before anybody could do any thing. To this day I still havant heard the end of it.

    Gun Runner

  17. #17

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    Nickster, I had to laugh at the "visual" you gave. As I recall, the boss kept a bottle (for medicinal purposes) in the lower desk drawer for a while. He'd get pretty ornery by the end of the day.

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    My buddy caught a 63 pound ling earlier this month on a 16oz jig. after we brought it aboard, it started thrashing and the LEADHEAD hanging out it's mouth smashed into my outer-ankle. I was still jigging and didn't know what hit me, hurt like a mofo. didn't think much of it...but it's been over 4 weeks and it still hurts to the touch...i think i may have a hairline fracture

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    The fish that may have broken my ankle
    Attached Images Attached Images

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    Member sayak's Avatar
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    Default Yup

    Quote Originally Posted by spike_lee_99 View Post
    The fish that may have broken my ankle
    Looks like it would be capable.

    When I was a young buck, and new to set netting, I was struck in the shin by the tail flap of a very large king salmon. It bruised right through my hip boots and wool socks.

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