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Record rockfish may also be the oldest

By Tom Hesse

Daily Sitka Sentinel

POSTED:


SITKA, Alaska >> A record-breaking rockfish was hauled in near Sitka last month.

Henry Liebman reeled in the 39.08-pound shortraker, breaking the old record of 38.69 pounds for a shortraker caught on sportfishing gear.

The age of the fish hasn't yet been determined, but that too might be a record, a fishery expert said.

Liebman, an insurance adjustor who works in Seattle, said he frequently visits Sitka to charter fish, so he knew that he had a large fish on when the shortraker struck.

"I knew it was abnormally big (but I) didn't know it was a record until on the way back we looked in the Alaska guide book that was on the boat," Liebman said.

A fishery biologist said this shortraker may have been patrolling Sitka's coast since the time of Alexander Baranov.

Troy Tydingco, Sitka area manager for the state Department of Fish and Game, certified Liebman's catch, and said this fish might be in the neighborhood of 200 years old.

"The rougheye is the oldest-aged fish at 205," Tydingco said. He said the longevity record for shortrakers, which are often confused with rougheyes, is 175 years. But that record fish, he said "was quite a bit smaller than the one Henry caught."

"That fish was 32 and a half inches long, where Henry's was almost 41 inches, so his could be substantially older."

Samples of the fish have been sent to a lab in Juneau where the actual age of Liebman's fish will be determined.

Rockfish live at depths that range between 84 feet all the way down to almost 4,000 feet. Liebman said he was fishing at a depth of around 900 feet, 10 miles out when his giant shortraker took his bait.

The fish went back to Washington with Liebman, who plans to have it mounted.

He also took home a big fish story that he said he's already been "getting a lot of mileage" out of.







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inverse wrote:
Such a majestic fish, why couldn't this fisherman takes pictures of the fish he caught on the boat and then release such a rare fish back into the water? Rhetorical question, the guy is so conceited that he had to kill the fish so that he can stuff it and have irrefutable proof on his boasts and brag to everyone on how he caught this special and rare fish. The meat of the fish probably tastes terrible and will thrown away.
on July 7,2013 | 10:20AM
kiragirl wrote:
Agree. If not for consumption, let it go.
on July 7,2013 | 10:56AM
hawaiifisherman wrote:
This fish would not have survived if it was released. A large fish like this from 900 feet is already too injured and would have died even if the fisherman didn't want to keep it.
on July 7,2013 | 10:32PM
fishnfool wrote:
True that. No way this fish could have survived return to the water. Caught at 900 feet depth and pulled up fairly quickly, the air bladders would have no doubt been distended from its mouth leaving no way to submerge.
on July 8,2013 | 04:48AM
bluespop wrote:
Again, agreed. 200 years ended by a jerk from Seattle.
on July 7,2013 | 12:20PM
mitt_grund wrote:
Yes. Sad. Get the proof and let him go. What a waste. 200 years. Never knew fish could live that long. Maybe the guy did it as an act of spite. The nerve of the fish to live so long.
on July 7,2013 | 12:27PM
eros_et_logia wrote:
Are you sure that landing that fish in the first place wasn't a death sentence? This is not some bass that takes 30 seconds to fight. I'm sure the rockfish would've died if it was released anyway. You can be against bottom fishing, but you shouldn't criticize this guy for keeping a fish that would've died anyway.
on July 7,2013 | 01:11PM
star08 wrote:
What a way to go! Imagine, youʻre 200 years old basking in your home. You make a mistake literally a bait-n-switch that gets you mounted on the wall of some human collector of tall tales. He says heʻs smarter than you but he wonʻt live to 200 years old.
on July 7,2013 | 06:04PM
808warriorfan wrote:
If I caught that I'd have it mounted as well.....
on July 7,2013 | 07:53PM
mikethenovice wrote:
Oldest fish? Was it collecting Social Security?
on July 7,2013 | 02:10PM
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