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View Full Version : "The case of the shrinking Halibut"



seaniken
06-04-2012, 02:36 PM
A friend of mine was recently fishing SF bay. He had a pretty good day boating 2 halibut to 18lbs and a nice striper. The day had almost ended when he boated another Halibut. This one looked a little short but after measuring the fish on the ice chest as well as the tape measure and verified by the 3 fisherman who were present, the consensus was that this fish was 22 1/8 - 22 1/4". Because it was so close, they measured it multiple times. The decision remained. They kept the fish and it was bled and immediately put on ice. A few hours later they returned to the dock where DFG was checking boats. DFG measured the fish at about 21 1/2" and cited my friend for catching an undersize fish. All 3 fisherman were in complete disbelief as they had verified this fish multiple times to be a "keeper" (Granted, barely a keeper. But a keeper none the less.)

The question would be... Obviously these fish tend to "shrink" when killed and put on ice. I've read online that this is not the first instance of this happening. Can anyone attest to this theory being true?

Lesson learned... Only keep 23"+ fish.

Seon
06-04-2012, 03:57 PM
... DFG measured the fish at about 21 1/2" and cited my friend for catching an undersize fish.

The question would be... Obviously these fish tend to "shrink" when killed and put on ice. I've read online that this is not the first instance of this happening. Can anyone attest to this theory being true?

Lesson learned... Only keep 23"+ fish.

A very expensive way of learning. Sorry to hear that.

I would equate it as to how they measured it. IMO 1/8" - 1/4" is too close a call to it being undersize so I'd release it. A good example is measuring crabs where in minimum is 5-3/4". My measuring gauge is 6-1/4" wide so if it's even a hair under, back in the drink it goes.

hotdog
06-04-2012, 05:13 PM
5/8" shorter is a lot and cannot be accounted for in a fish just drying out. Did your friends re-measure after being cited or did the DFG take the fish? Maybe the DFG folded the end of the tape... LOL

JB14
06-04-2012, 06:50 PM
what's the fine on something like that?

nayr
06-04-2012, 06:55 PM
hmm. did your buddies stretch the fish to measure it? i noticed on party boats when a fish was close they would collapse the tail to make the fish about three quarter inch longer to pass as a keeper. i doubt dfg would approve. maybe thats how your buddy measured it and dfg took a normal measurement...

Polebrother
06-04-2012, 07:34 PM
Don't know anything about the scientific properties of halibut shrinking after being bled and placed on ice but I've adopted the practice of using a measuring device similar to what I've seen game wardens use. Instead of a fabric or metal retractable tape measure, I use a metal measuring bar with the end folded upward at a 90 degree angle. In other words an "L" shape bar with ruler markings that lays flat on it's back, built so that a fish can be placed flat on top of the bar with its nose touching the upright fold at end of the bar. This ensures measurements begin at "zero" on the ruler. With nose touching the end of the bar, an accurate length of the fish can repeatedly be determined where the end of the tail lies flat on the measurement bar's ruler...again, similar to the way many DFG personnel measure fish. These measuring bar strip devices are available at several local tackle outlets.

seaniken
06-05-2012, 11:19 AM
I'm not to sure what the fine is. He's still waiting to hear that. We've heard anything from $135-$500. It is what it is. Lessoned learned I suppose. I like the idea of never keeping a halibut that's less that 23". Better safe then sorry!

GOLDBRIX
06-05-2012, 08:05 PM
Well when I saw a fish taken that was close... The deckhand would stomp on its head to get its full potential. Guarantee u would have gotten tht 5/8 "

supertodd
06-10-2012, 11:38 AM
I have seen people angle a tape measure with the natural curve of fish vs a straight measure. if the tape is bowed it will give you a little bit extra