Saltwater Fish, Pacific Northwest
The halibut is a member of the flounder family. They have a flat body with eyes on the right side. The skin on the top side is mottled to blend into the ocean floor and can be olive green, brown or almost black in color depending on where the fish was caught. The underside is snow white.
It is the largest of all flatfish and can grow up to 3 meters and weigh up to 275 kg. Fresh halibut meat is sparkling white and firm. It is a lean, mild tasting fish whose firm meat holds together well.
The Pacific halibut commercial fishery is tightly controlled and an individual vessel quota management was introduced in 1991.
All halibut removals by the commercial fleet are accounted for and included in stock assessments, logbooks are required, commercial halibut landings are only permitted at designated ports.
The smaller Pacific halibut are best for eating, l have found that older fish can be quite wormy.
Although pulling in a big old halibut can be quite the experience, letting it go again makes you feel pretty good too.
When I was a young man of around 13, a couple of friends of mine were fishing at the mouth of Campbell River, they were in a 12-foot rowboat. They latched onto a halibut, a real big halibut. This fish dragged the boat almost to Quadra Island and then back to the river mouth. They finally got it to the boat after about a 2-hour fight. After subduing the fish, they realized it was far too big for them to carry home, so they sunk the boat at the beach, pulled the fish across the boat and bailed it out. They pulled that boat up the river until they reached Perkins road, then one ran home to get his dad while the other stayed with the fish. Mr. Morgan, one of the dads weighed the fish and it was 265 pounds. They made the front page of the newspaper, it was quite the story. The photo in the paper said it all, the fish was hanging up and the boys were standing on each side, the fish was twice as tall as they were.