Here you will find tales of voyages past and present on our trusty Pacific Seacraft Dana 24, "Sockdolager," and more recently, our Bigfoot29 powerboat, "Raven," from Port Townsend, Washington, USA. In 2009 we sailed north from Puget Sound up the west coast of Vancouver Island to the Queen Charlotte Islands (now called Haida Gwaii.) In 2010 we went back to the west coast of Vancouver Island. In July 2011 we left the Northwest, sailed to Mexico, and in March 2012 we crossed the Pacific to French Polynesia, then on to the Cooks, Niue and Tonga. We spent several months in New Zealand, and in May 2013 loaded the boat (and ourselves) on a container ship for San Francisco. In June and July 2013 we sailed north along the California, Oregon and Washington coasts, and in August we arrived home. In October 2016 Sockdolager found new owners, and we are now enjoying Raven, a unique wooden 29' powerboat. In 2018 we cruised up to Glacier Bay, Alaska, and back. We hope you enjoy reading about our adventures as much as we enjoy having them. (And there will be more.)

Sunday, May 9, 2010

THAT was one big fish...

You are probably not going to believe this, but it's true. Readers of this blog know all about our fishing prowess, which went from zippo to adequate last summer only after herculean efforts that would rival walking on the moon, which some still question. Perhaps you could say this is one giant fish for man and one giant fish story for mankind.

There we were early yesterday morning watching the sun rise over the Cascades and going along all tickety-boo in Minstrel, headed for her new home in Sequim… but first a rendezvous with the fishin' hole in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the one where the Ultra Top Secret Map said the halibut would be, the one we can't tell you about. We just wanted a small halibut, enough for dinner. Two hours of jigging, nuthin’. Then...

Codzilla took the double-hook herring bait on 40-lb test line, and--I swear I am not making this up—we, meaning our 8500-lb boat, did not move with the tide for 40 minutes. Seaweed passed us--backwards. The fish tussled minimally, which halibut do, so we knew we weren't snagged on the bottom and were probably hooked onto a lunker. I once caught a 100 pounder in Alaska, and this one was behaving the same way. Jim hung on with every ounce of strength. The photo doesn’t half tell the struggle, but Jim’s new nickname is “Dances With Halibuts.” His hands were aching. He couldn’t turn the reel at all, in fact the drag was overwhelmed and he had to hold it back. He didn’t dare move or else he’d lose the whole rig, that’s how hard and steady the fish was pulling.

Every once in awhile it would struggle, so we knew it was a fish and not the bottom. The brand-new rod bent waaaaay over, almost to the water. We thought it might break. We were amazed that the line held, but we had 150 feet out so it was a bit stretchy. I lifted the rod tip because Jim couldn't, and then I’d lower it fast and he'd crank in a few inches every couple of minutes. We managed to wind in 50 feet over 40 minutes, with 100 feet still out and bar-taut. I mean, it was playable like a guitar string. We knew we couldn’t boat such a fish, but we hoped to get a look at it and perhaps cut the wire leader. Lift, crank… lift, crank. 100 feet to go. Then the line broke. Dang! That was one big fish! What kind of fish will do that? An Ohio-class submarine? We’re taking guesses. Fisherpersons, do some math. How big do you think the one that got away was? We haven't figured out how to make the comments section user-friendly, but if you can, leave a comment.

UPDATE: late May--Jim has bought a bigger rod and reel. 130-pound test fishing line. Heeeeere, fishy fishy fishy....

Photo caption: Sunrise over the Cascades from Port Townsend, WA


  1. Hi Karen!

    All one has to do is click on the "comments" button under your post. It's pretty user-friendly :)

    Yikes! Sounds like you're lucky the line broke. Might be the type of fish you need to shoot with a shotgun to subdue... phew.


  2. Sarah and Randall, we hope to see you out there on the west coast of Vancouver Island!

  3. Hi K&J. Jack Reid here. I'd have to say with Jim's newly(?) acquired knowledge of fishing, and your SUBSTANTIAL knowledge of guitar strings (crank vs. tension), that Jim's fish weighed 147.3 lbs. I could be off by a tenth but I doubt it. Well done, Jim!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Holy musical halibut, Jack! That is EXACTLY the size we came up with after hours of mathematical calculations made somewhat hazy by beer, potato chips and the mists of time. Jim will no doubt provide more such incredible stories soon.