Minnesota man bags 314-pound halibut

Posted: Friday, June 27, 2003

One motto Rick Arcand of Minnesota uses while he's halibut fishing is you've got to feel the burn.

On June 16, Arcand definitely got to feel the burn. He was fishing with Catch-A-Lot Charters out of Ninilchik when he hauled in a 314-pound halibut.

Arcand, who was on the Kenai Peninsula fishing from June 14 to 20, said the huge fish took about a half-hour to boat.

There were six people fishing on the boat that day, and Arcand said several other anglers were battling fish when he latched into his.

With the fish doing major head bobs, Arcand managed to drag him up off the bottom of Cook Inlet. But, the fish quickly made its way back to the bottom.

At that point, Arcand became tangled with another angler's line. The two started bringing the monster up in unison, but again the monster made another break for the bottom.

"It was peeling line on us like it was nothing," Arcand said.

Finally, after 10 more minutes of feeling the burn, Arcand finally got the fish near the surface.

"My eyes got pretty big," he said. "I've seen a 255-pounder. I thought to myself, 'How big is this?'"

When the fish was finally boated, Arcand got so excited that he nearly knocked his brother, Dan, into the inlet. When many catch such a monster halibut, they'll only have the tail mounted. But Arcand, in true feel-the-burn fashion, is having the whole fish, which is 90 inches long, mounted.

"I have the perfect wall space for it," he said. "That fish is so big, you could put a basketball in its mouth."

About the only thing bad about Arcand's experience is that he didn't have a ticket to any halibut derbies when he caught it.

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