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.