Home / Larry's Blog / CRANKIN’ UP A BARN DOOR


Tractor LaunchHalibut are available in Alaska waters year round.  But this time of year is when they start migrating from deeper offshore waters to more coastal areas to feed.  Cook Inlet, off the Kenai Peninsula, is one of several popular areas to fish for halibut with many “barn door” sized halibut harvested each year by sports fishermen and women.

Throughout our 16-year production of “North to Alaska,” Audrey and I have fished for halibut from Southeast Alaska to the Aleutians to the South central region.  But we’ve only experienced a beach boat launch when fishing Cook Inlet waters.  I’ve been a fan of heavy equipment all my life.  But the tractor-assisted beach launch is something I’d never experienced until fishing Cook Inlet.  It’s one of those unique “only in Alaska” experiences.

Fortunately, on this day, we had calm surf and our launch was uneventful.  Others have been a little dicey when timing the launch between sets of breaking waves.  But the boat launch crew and boat captains who launch here everyday during the Alaska summer know the ropes and maintain safe practices.

After pulling a giant-sized skate up from approximately 300 feet down, the big mama showed up.  There’s no secret to the work involved in pulling up a big halibut from deep water.  Factor in Cook Inlet’s often-fast currents and you’ve got a real chore on your hands!  The real test is not losing your patience.  Landing one of these beasts from deep water can take 20-40 minutes or more.  You’ll feel the burn in your arms, back and legs – pump, reel, breathe, pump, reel and breathe.

This was a good size halibut.  Bringing a live fish of this size on deck can be dangerous so Capt. Scott Vanderlooven, first, harpooned the fish, shot it with a 410 shotgun and brought it on board.  Shooting big halibut is a common practice and prevents possible injuries on deck.  Fishing and hunting…. a great day!

And then, the best part – packing fresh, wild-caught, Alaskan halibut in the freezer and knowing there’s a large plate of grilled halibut somewhere in my future.

Watch for video later this week…..


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Showing 4 comments
  • Cyndy L Pyke

    Not sure if this is where I sign up for news letter. Following on F/B but you have e-mails also. Looking to be entered for monthly prize give away. 55 year old lifetime Fin fan, lifetime Zonk fan and can’t leave out Audry & Lace so thankful for her recovery. 🙂 Thanks

  • Mark Bastings

    Always enjoyed watching you guys fish for halibut. Would love fishing for one someday. Thanks for the memories!

  • Linda Rompot

    This brings back great memories of us Halibut fishing there and the beach launch, a sight to experience. Best of all the great eating, nothing better than Alaskan halibut, wish Goodrich had it on the menu. Hope to see you and Audrey there this next winter.

  • Chuck Harter

    I have been the biggest Miami Dolphins fan all my life born in Miami in 76 and growing up with the tales of Larry Csonka the legend being recounted to me my whole life! I recently moved up to Alaska with my wife and kids to work for the phone company in Glennallen I will be learning how to hunt and fish for alaskan game. It is nice to know my childhood legend loves my new adopted state it makes Alaska feel like home! You are an inspiration to me and my children 3rd gen ZONK Fans!

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