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KETCHIKAN, Alaska - The large halibut being hoisted by a forklift was enough to slow traffic. Even cab drivers were taking tourists to see the fish, estimated to weigh 300 pounds or more.

"It was an exciting day. We didn't quite expect what we got," said Sally Balch, who caught the fish.

Balch's big day began at about 8:30 a.m. Sunday, when she and her husband, John Balch, arrived at their secret hole.

Fishing in about 300 feet of water, Sally and John went back and forth, landing true cod and halibut until about midmorning when they decided to stop fishing.

"We started pulling up gear, and I felt a tug," Sally said. "And then it was dead weight. I thought I'd snagged the bottom of the ocean."

Sally said she reeled the 150-pound-test line in for about 15 minutes, then gave the rod to John. Over the next hour they helped each other reel in the big fish. She said it was all they could do to bring the fish up.

"We brought it up three times, then it ran all the way down to the bottom," she said.

Once they got the fish up to the boat, they used a special spear to attach a line and buoy, she said. They tied the line to the boat and dragged the fish for about an hour.

When a local fish processing company refused to weigh the fish, they towed the boat over to a lumber company, where John works as a delivery driver. There, one of the company's forklifts hoisted the halibut out of the boat. The fish was 7 feet long, Sally said.

According to the tide book conversion chart, a halibut of that length would weigh 323.8 pounds, she said.

While repeatedly telling the catch story, the Balches filleted the fish and gave away pieces of it.


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Best Eating White Meat Fish Ever....

Don't know if the big ones are as bad as a big redfish, (don't think so) but I would take fresh Hal. any day. Worked for a retired Marine Colonel one time who he and some of his other retired Marine buddies went to AK EVERY year. He came back with an ice chests full of vacuumed sealed 1 Lb. chunks. Gave it away like he didn't (care) for fish. I'm gonna' do that too one of these days only I'm gonna' grill up a whole one on a big pit, fix-up a bucket of Margaritas and get to work. Don't need no catsup or tarter sauce; just a large garbage can for the bones. CF?
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