Pair of 11-year-olds catch 162-pound halibut in AK


Mar 11, 2001
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June 18, 2002

Juneau Empire

Ketchikan kids hook barn-door halibut off Knudson Cove dock

KETCHIKAN - A pair of 11-year-olds who have been fishing partners "for years" landed a 162-pound halibut off the Knudson Cove Marine dock.

The battle between Zachary Hamilton, Gregory Johnson and the flatfish took more than two hours and drew a crowd of helpers and onlookers on June 8.
Marina workers say they cannot recall anyone landing a larger fish while fishing from that dock.

Greg was tending the poles when the fish hit.

"I pretty much knew it was a halibut because it had the pole halfway in the water," Greg said. "I dove for the pole."

The fish had struck a half-cut herring attached to a 40-pound-test salmon leader with a 6-ounce weight. The line itself was 30 pound test, frayed by a broken eyelet on the pole.

"Gregory started reeling it in," Zach said. "Then he gave it back to me, and then we started giving it back and forth."

After the fish took off on a run, the boys moved onto a boat at the end of the dock to prevent the line from getting tangled. A crowd gathered.

"It fought quite a bit," Zach said. "Even when it wasn't fighting, it was hard to pull up because it was so heavy."

As the struggle neared its end, a charter skipper harpooned the halibut and tied a buoy onto it. Another charter skipper then shot it, and the fight was over.


Well-known member
Oct 16, 2001
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I guess I'll be fishing for halibut when I get to Ketchikan in August. :smile-big-blue:

Ropes, are you ready???

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