Giant Atlantic Halibut Landed Off Massachusetts On ‘80s-Style Fiberglass Rod

Big halibut might not raise eyebrows on the West Coast, but a 190-pounder in the East is something extraordinary.
Atlantic halibut
The giant East Coast halibut was estimated at 190 pounds when it was caught. Gloucester Fleet Deep Sea Fishing via Facebook

Captain Michael Mann of “Gloucester Fleet Deep Sea Fishing and Charters” had guided his 72-foot “Lady Sea” to a far offshore fishing spot called Fippennies Ledge. It’s a famed drop-off about 60 miles east of Gloucester, Massachusetts and the place Mann likes to frequent when taking charter anglers on a 20-hour overnight adventure he calls “Super Marathon Fishing.”

Mann limits his trips to 13 people per “Super Marathon Fishing” adventure and only offers one trip per month, three or four per year. While these trips are usually very productive, triple-digit halibut don’t often come over the rail. But that’s exactly what happened on June 13.

One of the lucky anglers on that “Super Marathon” outing was angler Nick Kirychuk. He made the overnight jaunt armed with a six-foot solid fiberglass 1980s-style boat rod fitted with a Penn Jigmaster reel spooled with 50-pound test line. That’s good tackle for much fishing, but considerably under gunned for what he hooked during his Super Marathon trip.

An Epic Battle

Kirychuk hooked a fish using a 12-ounce jig in 240 feet of water. After battling the fish for 60 minutes, he was exhausted and gave up the rod to Mann to finish the fight.

“After approximately 30 minutes, we got the fish to the surface, but it quickly (dove) down 200 feet again,” Mann reported in an email to the Gloucester Times. “We repeated the process, and when we saw it next, we got a gaff in it. The fish propelled itself off the gaff and dove down 200 feet again. On the third try, all three crew (boat) members, plus a customer, gaffed it and brought it aboard.”

Mann said after landing the massive halibut, they bled it and packed it on ice for the six-hour trip back to Gloucester. Mann said when they weighed it at the dock, it still tallied 161.5 pounds, after losing much body fluid during the bleeding process. Mann believes the halibut weighed 190-pounds when they boated it.

Super-Sized Flounder

Such huge Atlantic halibut are not unusual catches for the commercial fishing fleet, but it’s rare for a sport angler to land one. That’s especially true using comparatively under-gunned tackle such as Kirychuk and Mann employed.

Atlantic halibut are believed by experts to weigh up to 700 pounds. The IGFA All-Tackle record for the species weighed 418-pounds, 13-ounces, caught off Norway in 2004 by Vannaya Troms.

Most other IGFA records for Atlantic halibut come from nations such as Norway and Greenland. Gloucester does boast an IGFA halibut record, however, that weighed 255-pounds, 4-ounces, caught in 1989 by Sonny Manley.