Eddie Arellano Jr. felt fishing euphoria during the first week of June.
After reeling for more than 30 minutes on the deck of his family’s new boat, the MISS EM, the reward of the fight surfaced.
The five guys on board couldn’t believe what they saw in the Kodiak water — not one, but two halibut.
“My dad was the first one to see because he has the harpoon ready,” Arellano Jr. said. “He said ‘there are two of those things.”’
The rare occurrence was captured on video, which Arellano Jr. posted to his Facebook page on June 22. The video has been viewed over 1,000 times.
“It was a lot of excitement, but at the same time it was a lot of surprise,” said Arellano Jr., a 2011 graduate of Kodiak High School. “We were just so excited. I hadn’t had a big fight like that in a long time — we are used to catching 40 pounders.”
When in elementary school, Arellano Jr. remembers pulling in two halibut on one line, but those were only a measly 15 to 20 pounds; the two he hauled in this past month combined to tip the scales at nearly 200 pounds.
He said the current was whipping, so when the fish latched on to the hook, they pulled the line for a solid four minutes.
“I was going at it — 30 minutes-plus — just slow and go, pulling the whole time,” Arellano Jr. said. “I’m thinking it is a 200 pounder, like just one huge hog.”
He planned to catch and release the halibut.
“We were just going to take a picture and send it back because those are the breeders,” Arellano Jr. said.
But as the halibut got closer to the boat, it became apparent that this was not an average catch.
The dad — Eddie Arellano Sr. — can be heard in the 4-minute video saying, “I don’t even know if we are going to bring them in.”
Moments later, he gaffed the smaller halibut — about 50 pounds. The bigger fish — about 120 pounds — was brought on deck seconds later.
Celebratory high fives ensued.
“It was a great day and was with a good group of guys,” Jr. said.
Arellano Jr. used a halibut spreader bar with double hooks. After taking the circle hooks out of the fish, one was bent and expanded, looking nothing like a circle.
“You just don’t see that,” he said. “They probably went separate ways at one time.”
The investment of a new boat — a 22-footer — has paid off as more than 20 halibuts have been brought on board this summer.
“This is the most halibut that I have seen us catch,” Arellano Jr. said.
After graduating high school, Arellano Jr. — a baseball and football standout for the Bears — has been a career student, attending University of Alaska Anchorage, a community college in California and San Diego State University.
He is a year away from graduating from San Diego State University with a degree in construction engineering. He plans to continue working for Friend Contractors, LLC, a company he has worked at for several summers.
A pitcher in high school, Arellano Jr. logged 59.1 innings in 20 appearances. His career included seven wins, 46 strikeouts and an ERA of 2.83. After spending a year at UAA, he tried out for a community college baseball team in San Diego.
“I didn’t make the team,” he said. “Those guys are good — but I tried, and I can’t say I didn’t try.”