A Quebec man was out for what he thought would be a typical day of ice fishing on the Saguanay region’s Baie des Ha! Ha! this weekend when he made an unbelievable catch.
An experienced ice angler, Charles Gagnon-Brassard knew he’d hit it big when he struggled to reel the fish in.
“We are used to catching fish that are a maximum 10 to 12 pounds,” Gagnon-Brassard told CBC News. “So once it passes 50, 60, 70 pounds, the force is unimaginable.”
But catching the fish may have taken as much patience as it did strength: Gagnon-Brassard had to reel his monstrous catch up to the hole five times before he was able to pull it through. Each time he brought it up, the giant grey fish resisted being caught and plunged back into the water. According to reports, he spent more than two hours struggling to reel it in.
When he finally managed to pull it through the hole, he found a 70-kilogram Atlantic halibut on the other end of his line. That’s about 150 pounds of fish.
After seeing his photo, it’s not hard to believe that Atlantic halibut is the largest flatfish in the world, especially when you consider that this fish was actually an average size for a female.
Unfortunately, Atlantic halibut are threatened in some areas, largely due to overfishing. While they aren’t considered at risk according to the Committee on the Status of Endangered Wildlife in Canada (COSEWIC), the American Fisheries Society has classified the species as “vulnerable,” and in 1996, it was listed as an endangered species on the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s Red List.
Despite his efforts, Gagnon-Brassard told CBC he had no intentions of keeping the fish, and after snapping a few good photos next to it, he released it back into the water.
“I couldn’t keep it,” Gagnon-Brassard said. “I found it beautiful.”