That Time We Caught a 100-Pound Halibut Hooked in the Tail

Two very happy anglers holding their catch aboard the Storm Petrel in spring 2020.

A light, icy breeze blew down Cook Inlet at we headed out of Homer, Alaska in the spring of 2020. The cloud ceiling was high, but the air was still filled with a grey morning light. A slight chop rippled the smooth, deep green ocean water as we throttled down in a thicket of kelp blooms north of Homer.

Fishing those areas can often be slow, but the fish are usually plump and healthy, and sometimes there are lunkers cruising the shallows looking for an easy meal.

It was early morning, maybe 7:30 a.m., when I threw anchor over the side of the Storm Petrel in just 30 feet of water. The stern of the boat pointed south with the gentle pull of an outgoing tide. My guys took their rods and dropped bait to the bottom — it didn’t take long to get down.

Some Gritty Black and White Photos of Days N’ Daze Playing Live in Homer, Alaska

Days N' Daze play live at Alice's Champagne Palace in Homer, Alaska. July 30, 2023. Photo by Clay Duda.
Days N’ Daze play live at Alice’s Champagne Palace in Homer, Alaska. July 30, 2023.

Dude, I used to love concert photography. Back in the day when I worked as an editor at Creative Loafing Atlanta (RIP), I used to go photograph shows weekly, sometimes more. It wasn’t really in my job description as “Digital Editor” or whatever, and I made salary so they didn’t really pay me to do it, but I got to see a lot of really cool shows for free and got to meet and hang with some pretty cool people.

That’s one of my biggest peeves about now living at the end of the road in Alaska — there’s not very many touring bands coming through. Probably because there is no “touring through.” You get to Homer, and you either stay or you turn around. I prefer to stay.

Rena’s Photos from Fishing on the Diamond Cape — Fall 2022

Biting the 'but aboard the Diamond Cape. Photo by <a href=
Capt. Clay on a rainy day. Fishing on the Diamond Cape, September 2022. Photo by Rena Spears

I won’t lie, when you fish every day, well, the days start to blur together after a while. It’s not that I forget them, it’s just that the waves start to overlap in my memory bank. We catch a lot of fish, and we take a lot of people fishing, and I’m way better remembering faces than I am with names.

When Rena Spears sent me an email this spring saying she had photos from a charter fishing trip she took with us in 2022, I was pretty excited. My memories of that late-season trip on Sept. 15, 2022 were pretty hazy, but once she sent along the photos everything came crisp into view.