A Seattle man last month caught a whopper of a rockfish while angling in Alaska and didn't even know it at first.
Sport fisherman Henry Liebman, from Seattle, holds his record-breaking shortraker rockfish at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office Friday, June 21, 2013, in Sitka, Alaska. The fish measured 104 centimeters and weighed 39.08 pounds. (Photo: AP/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson)
“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,” Henry Liebman, who had been fishing with Angling Unlimited, told the Daily Sitka Sentinel of the catch.
The Sentinel reported that the 39.08-pound shortraker was caught on June 21, not only beating the previous record for the fish weight by a few ounces but perhaps also clocking in as the oldest.
Sport fisherman Henry Liebman, from Seattle, holds his record-breaking shortraker rockfish at the Alaska Department of Fish and Game office Friday, June 21, 2013, in Sitka, Alaska. The fish measured 104 centimeters and weighed 39.08 pounds. The age of the fish hasn't yet been determined, but that too might be a record, a fishery expert said. (Photo: AP/Daily Sitka Sentinel, James Poulson)
Troy Tidingco with Alaska's Department of Fish and Game estimated the fish to be at least 200 years old. That puts it a as a few decades older than the start of the Civil War and even pre-dating Alaska's official statehood by more than 140 years. The age of the fish is still being determined from samples sent to a lab in Juneau.
Here's more of Tidingco's speculation of the fish's age from the Sentinel:
"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."
In 2007, a 44-inch, 60-pound female shortraker rockfish was caught off the Pribilof Islands and was estimated to be between 90 to 115 years old. It is not clear why this latest catch is estimated to be at least two centuries old. It also isn't indicated by the Sentinel whether the fish was male or female.
Liebman told the Sentinel his plans were to have the fish mounted.
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This post has been updated to include the charter on which Liebman was fishing.
(H/T: Daily Mail)