Oh what a good day of halibut fishing!
Picking keepers from a Tanner Crab pot, Excursion Inlet, Alaska.
The Chilkat Range from Southern Lynn Canal
108# Pacific Halibut Caught at Strawberry Island in Glacier Bay
Preliminary results based on word-of-mouth from charter skippers and sport fishermen indicate that 2018 has been a pretty good year so far for catching decent size halibut. In the Icy Strait/Glacier Bay area, guided boats are releasing a lot of fish in the reverse slot range of 38 inches (19 pounds) to 80 inches (208 pounds). This year, I’m seeing some nice 50 to 100 pound fish which is quite different from past years when I’ve fished all day and felt lucky to limit out with 15-20 pound fish. And, it’s kind of weird to anchor in a spot and catch small fish all day long then all of a sudden hook a “barn door’ size fish. It seems like there are more of those around now too. My boat has hooked one over 200 pounds every year for the last three years.
I’m hoping the catch size on halibut will show up in the data shared at the 2019 International Pacific Halibut Commission (IPHC) meetings and some reasonable decisions will be made for next year’s harvest. We’re due for some good news on regulations for a change.
Dock at El Capitan Cave, Prince of Wales Island
Entering El Capitan Passage, Prince of Wales Island
This Memorial Day I have someone special to remember–the grandfather I never met. In fact, I had never known much of anything about Fred Harmon Cooper, the person after whom I am named. He was presumably divorced from my grandmother and lived in Seattle. One rumor was that he worked as a Union Boss on the waterfront, a tough job in any seaport town.
Upon having a recent DNA test, I was surprised to hear from distant relatives in Michigan. What was more surprising was what they told me. They were grandchildren of Fred’s brother and had a lot more information about him, including pictures.
Thus to my reason to proudly honor him this Memorial Day. Fred Harmon Cooper served in World War I as a private in the U.S. Marine Corps. He was in one of the most notable battles in which the Marines have ever been engaged–the month-long Battle of Belleau Wood in France. 474 Marines died in that battle that occurred 100 years ago this June.
Knowledge of Fred Harmon Cooper’s service marks four generations of Cooper’s who have served their country in the U.S. Armed Forces—Fred in the Marine Corps, my father in the Coast Guard, which was assigned to the Navy during WWII, myself on active duty as a Captain in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War, and my son Andrew in the Air Force during the first Iraq War. Give them a salute and a big Hooah.