Lunchtime Halibut

7 Jul

Every once in a blue moon I’ll be able to scarf down my lunch and then hit the ocean. I’m really lucky because I work pretty close to the ocean. I’d be even luckier if the water was ever clear, because usually it’s not at this particular location.  This particular part of the ocean is usually very very cold and murky 😦

With all the local halibut going off I figured there might be a chance to get one if I was really lucky so I grabbed all my gear and slid into my wetsuit to the delight of my coworkers who laughed their heads off at the camo suit. Bunch of heartless bastards!

I ignored their jeers and jumped into my car and drove to a nearby spot, I’d only have about a half hour in the water before I had to go back. As I hustled to the oceans edge I could already tell it was going to be murky. The cool water was a welcome blessing for my rapidly overheating body, even in my 5mm suit I was cooking so I kept flushing it as I kicked over to a reef. I made a drop and was disappointed to see that the vis was probably a whopping five feet. Ah well halibut like dirty water anyways.

In case you were wondering, it’s hard to find halibut.  Even though they are easy targets once you find them the trick is to find them at all and it took a long time before I developed the patience and eye to locate them.  Even then I’ve had them take off before I even got close enough for a shot.  If you are lucky you’ll see something that resembles this picture, you can clearly see the outline of the body and the shape of the head.

However more thank likely it will look like this, but even more likely  you won’t see them at all until it’s too late. I’ve seen them where you could just barely make out their eyes and you can see how this one below has changed it’s coloration to match the sand. Unbelievable!!

I kept making drops and exploring more and more and then as my eyes adjusted I saw the outline of a mouth followed by fins and a tail. Halibut! The swirling sand and surge made it hard to gauge the size and as I sat there like a dummy I started running out of air, my lungs were burning so I headed up to the top. The question now was…was it legal? I looked at the markings on my rabitech 120 and saw that it was well over legal, the problem is with the shitty vis I’d have to shoot the fish with my thumb as I reared the gun back. As I crept closer the fish saw me and BOOM exploded out of the sand. I figured as much and dejectly headed back up to the surface. As I cursed myself a fool I made another drop to see if I could see where it went and as I neared the bottom, BOOM another one blew up about an inch where the first one was and threw sand up into my face.

No one more deserved the noob of the year award more than I did at that moment. I calmed myself down and kept hunting, the problem was the vis was getting worse and finally I saw another mouth and shape of a nice halibut. This one was a tad bigger than the first one and I didn’t want to take a chance on spooking it so I backed off a bit and then shot it square in the body. As I kicked back up to the surface I thought the fish was going to go nuts and wrap me up but I lucked out and had hurt it pretty badly. I pulled the line back up and it spiraled towards me and then I dispatched it and started kicking back towards shore. People at the beach ran up to me to see what I had got and to share tales of “one time I went fishing and…”  I politely listened until there was a break in their voices and then excused myself to head back to work.  I threw all my gear in my car and plopped my wet body into my seat.

As I made my way back to work I was again welcomed with the jeers of my coworkers. With a smile I lifted out the 28″ halibut out of my container and like a judge with a gavel in a courtroom I silenced the bastards as I dropped the fish onto the floor with a hearty THUNK and headed in for a quick shower.  No victory was ever sweeter…

My favorite halibut recipe is one from acapulco restaurant but I haven’t figured it out yet. I knew I wanted a white cream sauce, my wife loves fresh fish so I kept a few pieces and used a white seabass sauce recipe that I got from my friends and did my normal tweeks on it.  I rarely use a recipe straight out of a book.  I fileted and skinned the halibut and coated the filets with the sauce and got a pan really hot and cooked it with a saucepan cover over it to poach it a bit, then finished it uncovered until the sauce browned and became crispy. We served it with some brown rice and steamed veggies, it was absolutely delicious, and I halibut isn’t one of my absolute favorites so that’s saying something.

Excuse the poor pictures, all I had was my iphone to shoot pix, the hali actually had a brown glaze to it, yuuuuuumm.

In case you were wondering, the halibut sauce I used, this one came off a spear site I visit often called spearboard.com, I believe it was posted by Dave Ploessel or John Haffner.  My buddies have been using my version and love it.

1 cup Mayonaise

1/3 cup soy sause

1 TBSP Siracha (rooster) sauce

1 TBSP oyster sauce

2 TBSP olive oil

1 lime (juice)

1/2 TBS sesame oil

2 garlic cloves – finely chopped

You take the fish and coat the filets with this sauce, if you can let it marinate overnight.

Get a pan hot and immediately throw the filets in there, sauce and all. Let it cook then flip

it and add a saucepan lid to help it steam a bit.  When fish is done it will flake easily with a fork.

I’m not the greatest halibut hunter and I still consider myself in the learning phase.  Here’s a pix of my biggest so far, I got it a few years ago and it went 24 pounds, sometime I’ll have to dig up that story.

Check out how fat it was!  We ate that fish for weeks!

And yes I plan on going out again at lunch very soon! I just re-rigged my normal halibut gun.  It’s a rabitech stealth 90 cm railgun, perfect for working close range in the stirred up water.  I also added a rabitech slip tube tip, I’m hoping to get some more fresh halibut very soon…

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