Petersburg fishermen make big catch – nearly 400-pound halibut

For a couple of Petersburg fishermen, it was a big day … and a huge catch.

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Brian Mattson, with the 396 pound halibut caught near Petersburg. (Photo by Abbey Collins, KFSK - Petersburg)
Brian Mattson, with the 396 pound halibut caught near Petersburg. (Photo by Abbey Collins, KFSK – Petersburg)

A nearly 400-pound halibut caught by local fishermen near Petersburg over the weekend wasn’t record breaking, but was still pretty darn huge.

Petersburg fishermen Brian Mattson and Doug Corl were out long-lining in Frederick Sound when they had an unexpected visitor.

“Didn’t even know it was on until we saw it from the surface,” Mattson said. “Put the shark hook on it, used the winch to bring it up and didn’t even make a move whatsoever, it just came right in nice and easy.”

He’s talking about a 396-pound halibut.

The fish would have to weigh into the upper 400s to beat the world record.

Petersburg Fisheries Inc., or PFI, one of Petersburg’s main fish processers, was bustling with workers, but a handful of people made their way outside to watch the F/V Day Spring pull up to unload an unusually large fish.

“It just kept coming and coming and then we knew it was big once it took a long time to get it winched up there,” Mattson said.

Mattson has been fishing since he was a teenager, but he’s never caught a halibut quite this large, he said.

“I think in the low 300s we got,” Mattson said. “But this is definitely the biggest Doug and I has ever caught.”

Mattson was surprised to see the massive fish come out of the water.

Originally, they thought it was even bigger.

“Last night it measured out to 92, 93 inches,” says Mattson. “And in the tide book it said it was like 435,” he said. “The NOAA observer measured and looked it up, he thought it was 450, 470. But it all depends on how thick they are.”

The boat’s long-lining equipment made it easier to pull in the fish.

“A lot of guys go out in the smaller boats and don’t have the winches and stuff to do it,” Mattson said. “And that would be tough to get on board.”

Mattson and Corl brought the fish back to be processed at PFI.

International Pacific Halibut Commission’s Levy Boiter made it down to see the fish’s arrival.

“This is definitely not the average fish,” he said.