Rod Rescued after Month Undersea Reels in Mammoth Halibut

Aug. 21 2004

KENAI -- Some anglers are lucky. Then there's the Carey family.

While fishing for halibut off Anchor Point this week, Ron Carey's sister, Bonnie White of Georgetown, Texas, hooked and landed a 300-pound halibut aboard Carey's 21-foot Silver Streak fishing boat. The catch brought to an end one of the most bizarre and lucky fishing stories to hit the Kenai Peninsula in a long time.

It started in June, when Carey, of Anchorage, was fishing with his wife, Nancy. A big halibut hit Nancy's line hard. Hard enough that it took all the tackle -- rod, reel, hook, line and sinker -- over the side of the boat.

Knowing that an expensive setup and a large fish were waiting at the bottom of the ocean, Carey marked the spot with his on-board global positioning system.

A month later, on July 14, Carey was fishing in the same spot when an 85-year-old fishing buddy named "Old Charlie" somehow managed to hook into the lost green halibut rod and bring it to the surface.

Carey sought repairs for the rod and reel that had spent a month on the ocean floor.

"I took it into the rod and reel man and he cleaned it up," Carey said.

With the pole returned to him, Carey returned to the waters of Cook Inlet earlier this week with Nancy, Bonnie White and her husband, Richard, aboard. White used the green pole.

Not long after the four started fishing, she got a tug at the end of her line -- a big one. A prolonged struggle with the enormous fish ensued.

"Everyone had a hand in landing it," Ron said.

Bonnie White pulled in the halibut, estimated at 330 pounds, based on its 84-inch length.

Carey said the man who worked on the reel after it was plucked from the water told him in July that it was a special piece of fishing gear.

"He said it was a blessed rod," Carey said.

The found rod and the big halibut were not the only bits of luck the Carey family has had this summer. Earlier, Carey's son caught an 86-pound king salmon while dipnetting in the mouth of the Kenai River.

"We've had a pretty good year," Carey said.

Distributed by The Associated Press.

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