By Randi Somers
A 400-pound salmon shark added chaos and excitement to a halibut fishing charter last Wednesday aboard Capt. Darren Keeler’s boat, the Mary P II.
Paula Zimmerman of Newville, Pa., landed the 7-foot, 4-inch shark with a little help from captain, crew and fellow fishermen.
“I didn’t know what hit my line but it didn’t feel like a halibut,” Zimmerman said. “It was very exciting.” She fought it for 35 minutes until getting it to the boat.
It was actually the capper for an already exciting day. Earlier, her friend David Thompson caught a tagged fish worth $500.
“We had a wonderful day,” Keeler said. “The first fish on was a tagged fish. Then we were having a typical day when all of a sudden we had a big fish on and I knew it was a salmon shark. I’ve hooked them before.” A flurry of activity accompanied the catch. “We had to get our lines out of the water and he tried to swim around the anchor chain,” he said. “Then we had to remove guts really quickly so the meat would be salvageable.”
He said they fished a little longer, thinking they might as well end on the good note although they came home short a couple of fish for the four fishermen. Processors came down to the boat and backpacked the fish to their plant for shipping preparation.
Although he owns his own boat, Keeler fishes for Bob’s Trophy Charters. They were anchored off Seldovia when the action picked up dramatically. He said that salmon are the main food for this kind of shark, hence the name, but the meat looks like pork and if properly cared for (immediately gutted and cooled) it is good eating.
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