A Whale of a Tale

A whale spout in Sitka, AK

Living together in the staff house with many of the deckhands and crew of Alaska Premier Charters, Inc. and the Wild Strawberry Lodge, I’ve heard many tales that can only be told through a fisherman. Some are wild, some extreme, some blatantly fake, but they all start with some tiny kernel of truth. Imagine my disbelief though, when I hear of one of our own catching a whale. Of course, it was instantly written off as a captain making fun of my naivety. Though with every other person involved who I talk to, I’ve come to realize it wasn’t so much of a joke.

Apparently, one of our deckhands caught a whale. From what I’ve heard, Jack was not doing so well on the water, which directly contradicts the smack-talk he was spouting all day. “Hey Jack, what kind of fisherman are you?” “I’m a big time fisherman. Big time.” Well as big time of a fisherman as he supposedly was, he wasn’t striking it rich yesterday. Everyone else had already packed it in for the return trip to the docks, and he reluctantly dropped his line the final time for a halibut. I believe all hope had been forfeited when the skipper saw Jack’s rod tip violently arc towards the surface of the water.

Jack Marx when he was a deckhandThinking he’d hooked a monster halibut, both the skipper and Jack crowded the rod as the line went zipping out. The line snaked under the boat’s hull and towards the anchor as the skipper shouted for Jack to take it from the rod holder and make his way around the boat to follow the monster halibut. Now I wouldn’t say Jack is a shrimpy guy by any means, he’s broad shouldered and could definitely beat me in an arm wrestling contest, but when he lifted up on that rod to remove it from the holder nothing happened. Nothing happened at all. He was straining and lifting, but that sucker was glued to the holder. All I can imagine is a sword in the stone moment where everyone onboard tries to manhandle that big fish, but no one succeeds.

It didn’t happen that way. Instead, the monster halibut swam under the boat and surfaced on the other side. But instead of it being flat and two toned, it was whale-shaped and dark. It spouted a gust into the air before sinking beneath the surface as the rest of the fishing party stood with mouths agape. A whale of a tale and an interesting catch in Sitka, Alaska.

~Tori N.

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