To his great surprise and elation, Seldovia resident Dick Wyland caught a 245-pound halibut while fishing with Seldovia Fishing Adventures on July 15 after hooking a yellow eye. It turned out that the halibut was attempting to eat the yellow eye, a meal that landed the fish on the boat deck.
“All of a sudden the rod bent double and the huge halibut, when they finally got him to the surface, it had the yellow eye in its mouth. It wasn’t hooked. It was just hanging onto the yellow eye,” said Seldovia Fishing Adventures and Bed and Breakfast owner Raewyn Weyer. “When they got him up, (the halibut) had swallowed the yellow eye, so we cut the yellow eye out and (Wyland) got two for one.”
The halibut is the biggest fish Wyland, who turns 84 in August, has ever caught. His wife bought him the trip on the fishing charter as an early birthday gift, which ended up being a thrill of a lifetime for Wyland.
“Boy, she hit it good. She’s got bigger smiles than I’ve got,” Wyland said. “I can’t believe it. My arms were sore for a day or so or three or four. It worked me out, I’ll tell you that.”
The other anglers on the charter boat assisted Wyland in hauling the fish up, as it was resisting being pulled all the way out of the water and onto the boat. At one point, Wyland’s arms were so sore that one of his fellow anglers took over for him completely.
“We’re in real deep water and I had to work on him,” Wyland said. “We got it about 10 feet from the boat and it didn’t want to come any further and I was tired and my arms were sore. One of the guys took over and that was a big battle.”
Wyland cut up the fish and froze most of it as his year’s supply of halibut. He also shared some with his neighbors and plans to bring a few pieces up to his kids in Eagle River.
Since the halibut was caught on a boat leaving from and returning to the Seldovia harbor, it was not eligible to enter in the Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. Derby rules stipulate that qualifying fish must be caught on boats going from and coming back to the Homer harbor within the same voyage.
Anna Frost can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.