On my first afternoon of fishing out on Afognak Island we already had hundreds of pounds of fish between our two boats.

Each morning we would head out a relatively short distance from the lodge and start walloping fish. Much of the halibut fishing in Alaska involves hours on the boat before you even get to the good spots, but out on Afognak, the fishing is pretty much all within an hour of the lodge. I caught my biggest halibut, a 150 pounder, only 20 minutes from camp.

I caught well over my weight in fish, and there’s nothing quite like having one of those suckers hammer your jig and start stripping line. One of the cool things about this kind of fishing is that you never really know what is on the end of your line, or how big it’s going to be. A line-stripping halibut is a giveaway, but it’s still hard to tell how big the fish is going to be.

The 150 pounder I caught put up a good fight, but nothing like an 80 pounder I caught a few days later. From the feel of it, I thought I had a 200 on the line. He was running and stripping line like crazy, and my arms were on fire by the time we got him up to the boat.??For fish this big, it’s standard operating procedure to shoot them before hoisting them into the boat. My buddy shot the big halibut with a .22 but we usually gaffed the smaller fish (about 35 pounds and under). Stay tuned for posts on how to flay and cook halibut.

All in all, the trip was definitely the most memorable of the summer. ??If you’re interested in checking out more about the fishing or wildlife viewing opportunities on Afognak, check out the lodge’s website or add them on facebook (Afognak Wilderness Lodge).??

See my photos and the full story of the trip here.